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PopSlate Launches iPhone Case with 4″ E-ink Screen (video)

Do you still have your heart set on that E-ink smartphone from Onyx, or perhaps the dual sided smartphone prototype?

Neither of those gadgets are going to hit the market any time soon, and they might not get made at all, so if you can’t stand the wait then you should check out this new case from PopSlate.

A reader tipped me to a crowdfunding project which launched today on IndieGogo. PopSlate is working to raise $150,000 to finish the design of this case and get it into production.

The case in question is going to be designed for the iPhone 5, and since it uses the Lightning connector it obviously won’t be backwards compatible. But anyone with an iPhone 5 will be able to enjoy having a 4″ E-ink screen as a secondary display.

Now, a screen without buttons is pretty useless, so you might expect the E-ink screen to have some kind of touchscreen. PopSlate came up with a better idea. Instead of a touchscreen, their case uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to detect your finger tapping on the E-ink screen.

As you can see in the video,  the prototype does a pretty good job of figuring out what the users are trying to do. I can only hope the finished product works as well. I don’t have an iPhone 5, but I am almost tempted to get one just to have this case.

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KarlB November 29, 2012 um 4:22 pm

It only takes a glance at the scratched-up back of my iPhone for me to decide that this isn’t a very good idea.

Nate Hoffelder November 29, 2012 um 4:30 pm

I don’t see what one has to do with the other.

Just because Apple made a phone with an easily scratchable shell doesn’t mean that the much more durable E-ink screen will be as easy to scuff. I’ve carried ereaders loose in may bag plenty of times and very rarely is the screen affected.

Isles November 29, 2012 um 6:57 pm

I carry my iPhone in my left pocket with absolutely nothing else in it. I have never exposed my the screen to keys or metal or scratchy material of any kind, yet, just from being in my jeans pocket, the screen glass has lots of little hairline scratches on it. I’m not sure how an E Ink screen would hold up, but maybe it would be better since it isn’t glass.

KarlB November 29, 2012 um 8:35 pm

The back of my iPhone back is glass; not generally considered an "easily scratchable" material. But over time, just setting the thing down on a desk or table causes scratches to accumulate. With the PopSlate (at least as it’s shown being used in the video), you’d often be setting your phone down screen-down as well as screen-up. So even if the PopSlate itself is made of some magical unscratchable material, you’d often be laying your phone down on its (original) screen, and that screen would get scratched.

yuzutea November 30, 2012 um 1:07 am

The comments here are interesting: they claim the video is a computer animation, and not the actual product. Not sure how true it is, but they’re not on Kickstarter, which now require a working prototype. Also, with the sort of funding they have, they still will get the money even if it doesn’t fully fund.

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