Avalue Launches a Whitelabel 13.3″ E-ink Tablet
Yesterday the Taiwan-based OEM Avalue announced, in partnership with E-ink, that they have "a Digital Paper tablet that can be optimized for use within a wide array of industrial and educational applications".
What this essentially means is that Avalue is moving into the same niche as Netronix, the Taiwan ereader maker which is the hardware partner for Kobo, Barnes &Noble, and Sony. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars to throw around, Avalue will design an epaper tablet for you.
Their device will reportedly have a "paper-sized" screen. The actual dimensions aren’t given, which means it will most likely be a 13.3″ screen (a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper has a diagonal measurement of 13.9″).
The press release mentions the following features.
- Letter size – full page view, no scrolling or zooming
- Reads like paper – no glare, use indoors or outside
- Annotate, highlight, erase – enable active reading
- Take handwritten notes – organize your thoughts and ideas
- Always on – quick access to documents and notes
- Long battery life – lasts about three weeks
- Thin, lightweight – similar to about 30 pieces of paper
- Durable and unbreakable – take it anywhere
- Secure – keep documents digital
- Wireless enabled – access documents and notes anywhere
- Customizable – optimize for use with existing applications
If this were a real device, I would be excited. But since it’s not, I will temper my enthusiasm.
On a related note, I went digging through Avalue’s website and discovered that they also "make" a couple signage prodcuts, including models that use the 42″ and 31″ E-ink screens which were announced 5 or 6 years ago, but never actually used anywhere.
They also list a 13.3″ "eNote Tablet" in their healthcare IoT section. That device would appear to be almost identical to the one that launched yesterday, but since yesterday’s launch is so vague it is hard to be certain.
Disgusting Dude August 26, 2020 um 5:42 pm
Are you sure they’re an OEM and not ODM, as implied at the end.
There’s a difference between OEM contractors and ODM contractors.
Netronix (and Foxconn) is ODM: they design products to the contractor specifications. The contract comes first, the design follows.
OEM contractors design the product first, to their own specifications, and then tweak it for customers. Usually this is a matter of the plastic case, maybe minor software changes. The design predates the contract.
If you think back to the early days of eink readers, Hanlin OEM’ed several models that were rebadged for Aztak, BeBook, and others, who then loaded slightly different software packages.
The early Netronix did the same. (Remember the first KOBOs?)
So, if Avalue is truly an OEM they already have a design and probably a sample batch already manufactured, waiting for a firmware upload that will depend on the market and the customer.
One key difference between OEM and ODM is the ante: an ODM contract has to pay for the exclusive design whereas an OEM buy is non-exclusive and cheaper.
If they truly are OEM the hardware may show up in a document reader, ebook reader, or note-taking pad. Or all three, spreading the design and manufacturing cost among multiple customers. Very useful for addressing verticals and niches.
Hope it’s OEM.
If not, it might be vaporware.
Nate Hoffelder August 26, 2020 um 6:11 pm
I think they might be both. The product specs on their site look awfully specific, while the press release is quite vague.
Disgusting Dude August 26, 2020 um 7:51 pm
So they have a design but no customers.
That’s an OEM product.
Xavier Basora August 26, 2020 um 6:36 pm
Interesting. No specs on capacity? A4 paper compatibility?How does it charge? micro USB? Type C? No micro SD slot and so on.
In any case fun to speculate.
John August 28, 2020 um 10:18 am
Isn’t this just a white labeled Sony DPT-RP1?
Nate Hoffelder August 28, 2020 um 11:50 am
It is essentially the same thing, yes. But we do not know whether it’s the exact same device.