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Sony DPT-S1 Hacked, Now Runs Android

With a price of nearly a thousand dollars and limited format support (PDF only), Sony’s 13.3″ E-ink writing is a tough sell for most users. While there are some business use cases, the average consumer has to work hard to justify the expense.

But after today’s news, that should get easier. News is breaking on MobileRead this morning that a seller on the Taobao marketplace in China is claiming that he can hack a DPT-S1 and expose the underlying Android OS.

Send that seller your device, and pay him 800 yuan, and he promises to send back a DPT-S1 that runs Android 2.2. which looks like:

sony dpt-s1 android china hack

So is this real, or a hoax?

I’m still looking for someone who has used this service to hack their DPT-S1, but at this point I have little reason to doubt the story.

Sony’s last three ereaders in the PRS line ran Android 2.2 (and could be hacked to access the OS), and Sony must have reused some of the code developed for those 6″ ereaders when they developed the software for the DPT-S1. (This could also explain why the DPT-S1 has the three iconic Android buttons below the screen.)

And so with time, a lot of money, and a little trust, you can turn Sony’s writing slate into an Android tablet.

That single act could double the DPT-S1’s usefulness – if not for the fact it runs such an old version of Android. If this were Android 3.0 Honeycomb, or Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, this project could be worth the time ans expense.

But Android 2.2 is over five years old, and that means you will have trouble installing Android apps.

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starship November 13, 2015 um 7:33 pm

Oh this is no news at all for Chinese e-ink users. The hack service (for fee) has been there for almost a year. You can check photos and a short video here:

Nate Hoffelder November 13, 2015 um 7:42 pm

I had already seen that video, thanks. I left it out of the post because it doesn’t show anything useful about Android.

john November 15, 2015 um 1:13 am

why is the digital pad of paper not valuable? it’s more than a glorified pdf reader. it’s an endless pad of paper to write on. No?

Nate Hoffelder November 15, 2015 um 8:22 am

I didn’t say it wasn’t valuable. I said that it would be more useful if we had access to Android.

but if you want to discuss it in terms of "an endless pad of paper to write on", do you realize how many legal pads you could buy for $800?

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