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Sony to Produce Laptop With E-ink screen (?)

There’s a story going around that Sony is working on an E-ink laptop, but if you double check the original source you’ll see that the usual disreputable blog is telling tall tales again.

the Onyx Boox Typewriter, a prototype E-ink netbook

According to the Taipei Times, Sony is working with E-ink to develop a laptop that uses E-ink screens:

There are growth opportunities in the company’s new product lines, such as e-notebooks, Ko said.

“We have been actively developing e-notebooks over the past one to two years together with our key customer,” Ko said

E-ink has teamed up with Sony Corp in a joint venture to develop a laptop product integrating its technology.

“This year is an important year for us to pitch this product to the market,” Ko said. “We are seeing replacement demand from the healthcare sector to the financing and education sectors,” Ko said.

This sounds very exciting, and it has been spun into meaning more than it says, but before you start saving up for an e-ink laptop I am going to have to deflate the hype.

At first glance it sounds like Sony is developing an e-ink laptop, but that’s not what the article says. It said the companies would "develop a laptop product integrating its technology", which  for all we know they could have a design that uses an E-ink screen on the lid as a secondary screen – or uses tie E-ink screen in place of a keyboard.

We’ve seen a number of similar ideas over the years from Microsoft and other companies, and so fr none have been a true E-ink laptop. (I also can’t recall that any have hit the market, but that’s another issue.)

And more importantly, E-ink CEO Frank Ko didn’t make this statement about the laptop. It’s mentioned in the article, but doesn’t say that this detail came from E-ink. Also, the word laptop is not mentioned anywhere in the original announcement of the joint venture, so it’s not clear where the TT got this idea.

While I think an E-ink laptop like the prototype Onyx Boox Typewriter would be very cool, we really cannot say with any certainty that Sony is working on one.

If you really want this type of device, you should go ask Onyx to hurry up.  They have the hardware skills, and they already have a prototype with a 9.7″ screen.

Sony, on the other hand, outsourced the development of its DPT-RP1 writing slate. That was designed by Marvel, not Sony, raising doubts that Sony could even produce a new E-ink device.

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Carmen Webster Buxton August 25, 2017 um 10:11 pm

Hard to believe there would be any kind of market. eInk works great for text and not much else.

Nate Hoffelder August 26, 2017 um 8:03 am

which could be why Onyx went for a netbook sized device – it’s cheap enough to be an accessory.

Q August 26, 2017 um 6:59 am

Still, Sony is the trailblazer in this industry. Gotta see how they’ll integrate EPD to laptops. Definitely it’s one step forward to introducing EPD to more consumers, as long as it’s utilized properly.

Heidi August 28, 2017 um 9:06 pm

What are the benefits of a eink laptop? I can see it on a tablet like a dual sided tablet. That way you do not need both a tablet and a separate reader. I suppose eink technology can be used for things other than reading

Chris Meadows August 28, 2017 um 9:57 pm

It would be just as good for writing as for reading. Either way, you’re spending a long time staring at a screen with words on it, and the e-ink would prompt less eyestrain. Plus it would let the battery last longer by using less power.

Sony and E-ink Launch New JV, Linfiny, to Develop E-ink Notebooks (But Possibly Not Laptops) | The Digital Reader September 4, 2017 um 9:42 pm

[…] it turns out that "E-ink laptop" briefly mentioned last week in an interview of E-ink CEO Frank Ko is, if not yet a real device, may actually be on […]

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