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NotesNote Wants to Change How You Read With Its Dual-Screen 13.3″ eReader

If one 13″ E-ink screen is fine for the Sony DPT-S1 digital writing slate, then the two screens on the NotesNote sheet music reader must be twice as good.


NotesNote is an Estonia- and England-based startup that wants to build an ereader for a niche market: musicians. Their design is just reaching the prototype stage and isn’t ready to be shown to the public, but they have posted a promo video which shows that the concept is based on two 13.3″ E-ink screens with a stylus, a week of battery life, and a frontlight.

To be clear, the video mentions a backlight, but I was told on Twitter that NotesNote calls it a backlight because that’s what they think the user will call it.

This is a nifty device, but I wouldn’t expect to see this device reach the market.

Counting the dual-screen ereader concept design that Plastic Logic threw together for CES 2013, and the Printless Plans 21″ Zephyr blueprint reader, the NotesNote device is at least the third such idea to cross my desk in the past few years.

No matter whether they encountered financial, technical, or other problems, none have seen even a limited release. Simply developing an original design is a difficult technical undertaking, but trying to get the product financed when it serves a niche market?

The odds are against NotesNote pulling it off.

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fahirsch December 16, 2015 um 9:51 am

Maybe an iPad Pro would be more inmediate, although more expensive

Nate Hoffelder December 16, 2015 um 9:59 am

The iPad pro is more likely to be cheaper. Sonys' device costs $800, so this would cost at least $1,300.

poiboy December 16, 2015 um 7:24 pm

great idea.. good luck to this!

M. December 17, 2015 um 7:36 am

I’m waiting for handwriting to come back to e-readers since I have seen a Sony prs-T1. And two screens instead of one would be great if you could open two books at the same time. Both features are esssential for studying, for working with workbooks, for many kinds of exercices, for crosswords and similar puzzles and games, maybe colouring books…
It’s that kind of innovation I want to see on new e-readers. For that startup it would be a matter of software, right?

musicus December 22, 2015 um 2:26 pm

I’m currently using a Surface Pro 3 for my work as professional musician and it fits my minimum requirements for working with sheet music. In my point of view there are some important problems to solve:

Most PDF reader applications don’t work that well, because you need
handwriting annotation (color is very helpful, so i hope for Liquavista or other tech),
show/ hide certain layers (mostly annotations, but also very good for hiding fingerings or show various editions (first edition/ autograph) of one piece)
and fast page turn/ zooming (for example i use Drawboard PDF (probably the best software currently available) and page turn isn’t really faster than on a Kindle PW 3).

eInk technology is not bad, but there’s no color and the reflection could be better. Of course any LCD or in generally transmissive screen is much worse… (there’s a reason, that the professional printing industry in music production is using not white but chamois/creme paper color)

You need minimum 300 dpi, i would say. For comparison: Henle prints it’s "URTEXT EDITIONS" with more than 2000 dpi!!!

Portability is no problem in my opinion – anything around 1kg is fine. The main problem will be the costs… more than 1000$/€ will be very difficult to sell.

So – i don’t think these problems can be solved within the next 5 years, but i hope this product will succeed and bring us two 13″ eink displays! That alone would be a big buying reason!

Best regards

Can Classical Music Escape Sheet Music? Only If Tablets Can Keep Tempo – Inverse January 17, 2016 um 3:40 pm

[…] musicians seems down the road. This has not stopped small companies like SCORA in Belgium and NotesNote — based in Estonia and the UK — from developing prototypes; NotesNote has a dual 13.3” screen […]

Betty Merten May 11, 2017 um 9:04 pm

I’m a pianist with glaucoma and can no longer read sheet music, so I’m looking for an e-reader that has (1) crisp, bold print, (2) is backlit, (3) has no glare. It would be great if it also had the capability to enlarge the notes. Is there such a device on the market?

Nate Hoffelder May 11, 2017 um 10:04 pm

You can get everything except the backlight in a device with a 13″ screen (or a pair of 13″ screens):

You can also get a backlit device with a 9.7″ screen, only it won’t be very sharp.

user May 12, 2017 um 8:27 pm

13.3″ is minimum if you have sight problems. 9.6″ is too small.
Sony’s new 13.3″ DPT-RP1 will start selling this June.
13.3″ Onyx Max Carta has no hand touch screen (only stylus touch).

Both would have crisp screens but it very depends on what kind of PDF music sheets are being used.
13.3″ screens made by E Ink (the only one who makes epaper) will never have backlit.

Nate Hoffelder May 13, 2017 um 8:22 am


Raymond Morris February 13, 2018 um 12:44 am

I want to read my saxophone music from a display device instead of from paper but I want to see two pages at a time so that I can see what is coming on the following page in advance. And I want it to be life-size (e.g. A4 or American letter size). The NotesNote dual hinged screens would suit me perfectly. My plan B is to buy a 19 inch table that can display two pages of music slightly reduced in size and more cumbersome to transport to rehearsals and gigs.

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