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Sony DPT-S1

Sony’s DPT-RP1 Writing Slate Features Increased Screen Resolution

A few weeks back Sony teased a 10″ E-ink writing slate in a customer survey, but now it appears they went in a different direction.

Sony has just revealed the DPT-RP1, its replacement for the discontinued DPT-S1.

The DPT-RP1 is about the same size and shape as its predecessor, and it has the same limited format support (only PDF), but it also has a higher resolution screen, with an improved “non-slip” panel which Sony has said will improve the experience of using the included digital pen.

Sony has also dramatically bumped the screen resolution from 1200 x 1600 to 1650 x 2200, boosting the sharpness from 150 ppi to 207 ppi. The new model is also slightly thinner and lighter (12.7 ounces versus 12.3 ounces), and it also has twice the storage as well as Wifi, Bluetooth, and NFC.

The previous model had only Wifi, which limited how you could get data on and off the DPT-S1, but the new model can and receive data over Bluetooth. What’s more, it uses NFC to help secure your information. The DPT-RP1 defaults to locked, but wave an authorized NFC chip at it and it will unlock (me, I would rather use a password).

According to The Verge, the DPT-RP1 is scheduled to go on sale in Japan for around 80,000 yen (roughly $720) on 5 June. The US release date has not been set.

Sony DPT-S1 Back in Stock

Sony’s 13″ writing slate is back in stock again this week at Amazon and B&H Photo.

The DPT-S1 had gone out of stock in August following a sale, and that had lead to speculation that it was either discontinued or had been replaced, but now it appears it was merely in short supply.


It is listed at $799 on both sites, or about $200 more than the sale price from earlier this year. It’s still a good value at the higher price – if you need a very light writing slate which can only support PDFs on its 13.3″ screen.

That’s not an backhanded compliment; this was always a niche product for the business market, and is not intended for widespread use.

Sony Drops the Price of the DPT-S1 Writing Slate to $599

When Sony announce its 13.3″ writing slate several years ago, it cost a princely $1,100.

Now the price has dropped to about half that. Sony is now selling the DPT-S1 Digital Paper through Amazon and B&H Photo for the low, low price of $599.


Far from being your average ereader, the DPT-S1 has a laptop-sized screen, two touchscreens (capacitive and stylus), Wifi, a microSD card slot, and 4GB of storage.

It only supports PDF, which based on my experience with a competing device is not such a bad idea. The 13.3″ screen is so large that this makes for a great document viewer or a display for blueprints, but not such a great ereader.

There’s no word on why Sony keeps cutting the price, but I for one am hoping that they are clearing the stock so that they can launch a second model.

But Sony hasn’t shown any real interest in new ereader hardware for the past several years, so that is unlikely.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, I would get the current model while the price is low rather than wait for a possible replacement which may not arrive at all  (and will almost certainly cost more than $600 if it does).

If you need a document viewer, the current value can’t be beat. I’m almost tempted to get one (and if the price drops again, I will).

image via Notebook Italia

Icarus A4 13″ Android eReader Goes Up for Pre-Order on IndieGogo (video)

icarus a4What with the Sony DPT-S1 and Onyx Boox Max being the only two 13″ ereaders on the market (*), plus-sized models are rather thin on the ground. But soon we could have another option.

The Dutch ereader importer Icarus has launched a new crowd-funding campaign last week to finance the launch of the Icarus A4, what appears to be an Onyx Boox Max clone bearing the Icarus brand.

Like the Onyx Boox Max, the Icarus A4 sports a 13.3″ Mobius E-ink screen with an inductive touchscreen (stylus only) but no frontlight. It runs Android and comes with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. It has Wifi, Bluetooth, a speaker, and a headphone jack.

It’s listed today for a minimum backing of $699. Contribute $759, and Icarus will also throw in a 6″ Illumina ereader.

So should you get one? If you need such a large document viewer and have $700 to spare, certainly.

icarus a4

Icarus is a well-known brand in the ebook world. They have released close to a dozen ereaders over the past six years with screen ranging from 6″ to 8″ to 9.7″.

This maker even crowd-sourced an 8″ Android ereader last fall. That campaign did not reach its goals, but Icarus pushed through and launched the Illumina XL anyway, and according to what I read on MobileRead Icarus shipped the ereader to its backers.

And with this campaign, Icarus is funding a piece of hardware that the manufacturer is already producing and shipping to a couple different retailers. It runs Android and comes with Google Play, which means you should be able to expand its abilities by installing apps. And I have tried one, so I can say with confidence that the design is good.

The only real question I have today is whether Icarus will customize the software running on the A4. That’s what they’ve done with past ereaders, but I am waiting for Icarus to get back to me with confirmation or additional detail.

The Icarus A4 is up for pre-order today on IndieGogo, where Icarus hopes to raise $25,000 in order to "finalize the mass production ramp-up".

The campaign was launched three days ago, and so far it only has the three backers. But with the campaign only just beginning to get its first press coverage today, Sunday, I am sure that will change quickly.

IndieGogo via,


Onyx Boox Max is Not Your Typical eReader

onyx boox maxThirteen inch ereaders are few and far between and far outside my budget, so when the Onyx Boox Max went up for pre-order a couple weeks back, I immediately begged to borrow a review unit.

This 13″ ereader retails for $650 plus shipping and VAT, putting it far outside my budget.

I got the Max on Tuesday, and started thinking about the review on Saturday night. Five days is not nearly long enough to really plumb the depths of a device as complex as the Max, but I have a good excuse for writing the review this early.

The review unit died Friday night. We think it’s just a loose cable, but since I can’t use the Max right now I decided to take a few minutes and share my thoughts.

This is going to be a difficult review to write. The Max is not an ereader, not in the way you think of an ereader or use one, and I don’t think it fits into any predefined category.

I haven’t had such a category-breaking device since the Entourage Edge, that dual-screen textbook reader from early 2010.

The Edge was a well-conceived device with solid hardware and software, but it flunked out with a lot of reviewers because they couldn’t grasp its purpose or function. They approached it as an ereader, and tried to compare it to a Kindle, when in fact the Edge was a niche product designed to serve just one market.

If you are looking to buy a Max, I suggest that you avoid the mistakes those reviewers made, and set aside any preconceptions that the Max was made for reading ebooks. Based on my time with it, I would say that it is more of a document viewer than an ereader. Its sheer size precluded me from using it as an ereader.

This is more of a device that you would hold up and use for showing off blueprints, or one which you would use to proof a document a page at a time. You might also lay it on a table, and have several people looking at the screen at one time.

Now that I have used the Max, I can understand why Pocketbook has branded their large ereader as a blueprint reader for the construction market, and why the Sony DPT-S1 only supports PDF and is targeted at the business market. I think both Sony and Pocketbook built a prototype, started using it, and realized that they would have more success if they focused on a limited number of use cases. That’s why they refined their software to better support those use cases (the Pocketbook CAD Reader has yet to be released, but still).

A device built around a 13″ E-ink screen is not a product for the broader ereader market, so it made sense for Sony and Pocketbook to focus on niche markets with specific uses.

And luckily for Max owners, they can define their own niche uses (including ones I have’t thought of).

The Onyx Boox Max is an open Android device. It runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU. You can install third-party apps, and it also comes with Google Play.

I didn’t get a chance to test app compatibility with the review unit, but I do want to point out that potential owners should think about the apps they might install, and the abilities and features those apps would add to the Max.

Max owners can define their own niche uses for the Max, and so while I might declare what the Max is not, I can’t tell you exactly what it is.

We really don’t know yet.

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.

Noteslate Unveils the Hero 13″ E-ink Writing Slate (video)

noteslate heroNoteslate is a company with a reputation for talking big and not following through. Their first product turned out to be vaporware, and so far their second product, the 6.8″ Noteslate Shiro, has proven to be an illusive creature which has already missed its ship date.

So when Noteslate posted a teaser video today for the 13″ Hero, I was suitably pessimistic.

Expected to ship next year, the Noteslate Hero is a digital writing slate with a 13.3″ E-ink screen and a stylus. Noteslate hasn’t revealed any additional specs, but they did post this video:

So what do you think?

It’s hard to say how the Hero compares to the Sony DPT-S1 in terms of features (besides the obvious that one is available and the other is not). Sony’s writing slate has two touchscreens (capacitive and electromagnetic stylus) while Noteslate has only shown off their devices working with a stylus.

Noteslate has also teased a 9.7″ model which will also be released next year, and they’re accepting names for beta-testers for a Noteslate sketch app for iOS and Android.

I think this is a neat idea, but given the cost of the 13″ screen I just don’t see the Hero shipping.

The 6.8″ Noteslate Shiro, on the other hand, might ship early next year. The Shiro will run the same software as the Hero, only with a screen the same size as on the Kobo Aura H2O or the Onyx Boox T68. The Shiro will also have a stylus, 3 weeks of battery life, and cost $199.

It’s up for pre-order now on the Noteslate website.

Do you plan to get one?

Sony DPT-S1 Writing Slate Available Soon From BH Photo

DPT-S1-PDF-Reader[1]Reports that Sony was retiring its 13.3″ e-ink writing slate took a turn for the ridiculous today with the news that Sony has a new retail partner.

Word is coming in from MobileRead that B&H Photo will soon be carrying the DPT-S1. This camera store has but a single location which is located on the isle of Manhattan, but on the plus side it ships from its website, and yes, it will ship internationally.

This device is currently listed as pre-order on the B&H website, with a retail price of $800. There’s no info on when it will be available.

The DPT-S1 is a limited function writing slate based on a 13.3″ E-ink screen. It packs in both capacitive and stylus-based touchscreen tech, Wifi, and limited online abilities, but it’s rather limited in terms of software features.  This writing slate only supports PDFs, making it a true digital writing slate (as opposed to an ereader).

The limited format support has continued to frustrate ereader fans ever since the DPT-S1 debuted a couple years ago, but Sony has shown no interest in expanding the writing slate’s feature set.

Sony to Stop Selling the 13″ Digital Paper DPT-S1, and Other Clickbait

sony-digitalpaper-dpt-s1There’s a story going around today that Sony is going to stop selling their E-ink writing slate, the DPT-S1.  This niche device debuted two years ago with a $1,100 price tag, and between that and the limited features Sony never sold very many, so it would make some sense for Sony to retire it and stop losing money.

But that is not what is happening here.

Instead, a much less interesting story has been spun into clickbait. Teleread has picked up a story from a less than reputable site, and is repeating the misleading idea that we are looking at "the imminent demise of the Sony Digital Paper notepad".

Nothing could be further from the truth. The real story today is not that Sony is going to stop selling this device, nor (as was implied by the title) that it is being retired.

The real story is that Sony is shutting down the direct retail site that carried the DPT-S1. The entire store is being closed, and that is an event which will affect much more than a single device:

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

Is the Digital Paper DPT-S1 going to be retired? I have no clue. All I know is that a bogus story is being repeated without question, and I wanted to set the record straight.

Hands On With Netronix 13.3″ Android eReader (video)

netronix 13.3 inch ereader notepadDestined to be the perennial show floor demo but never the shipped product, Netronix’s 13.3″ Android-powered writing slate made another public appearance this week in Taipei.

Charbax caught up with Netronix at Computex a few days ago and shot a video of the latest pre-production model. Like the one I saw at CES 2015, this device is based on a 13.3″ Mobius screen (1600 x 1200 resolution). It has a dual touchscreen (capacitive and electromagnetic stylus) and runs Android 4.0.

It’s a nifty device and it would make a great competitor to the DPt-S1 from Sony, but as I pointed out before this device is no where close to landing on a store shelf. Netronix needs a customer before they can start production, and with a cost of over $600 per unit and a MoQ of 1,000, we’re looking at close to a million dollar investment.

Only a company like Sony, which cares as much about flagship products as profitable ones, can afford that kind of a boondoggle.

Netronix 13.3″ eReader Specs

  • Screen: 13.3″ Mobius E-ink
  • Resolution: 1200 x 1600
  • Touchscreen: Capacitive, electromagnetic stylus
  • OS: Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Formats supported: JPG, PNG, PDF, ePub, MOBI, FB2, HTML, TXT, RTF, Doc.
  • Print documents from your PC to Notepad
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Battery: 1.5 Ah Li-polymer
  • Connectivity: Wifi
  • Dimensions: 310 mm x 233 mm x 6.6 mm
  • Weight: approximately 400 grams

Raspberry Pi Cuts the Cable, Now Works With a Kindle as a Wireless Monitor

The Raspberry Pi is a cheap single-board computer designed for hacking and DIY projects. It’s been used as a weather stationa laptop, and most importantly a computer with a Kindle screen.

In that last project a hacker found a way to connect a Kindle to a Raspberry Pi over USB and turn the Kindle into a USB monitor, but now we can do one better. Hackaday has found the Pi-nk, a new project which turns a Kindle into wireless monitor.

pi-ink pink kindleberry raspberry pi


This is by no means the first project with a wireless monitor; you can in fact turn just about any Android tablet or the iPad into a wireless monitor, but this idea is still unusual for E-ink devices.

And if you have a Raspberry Pi 2, this is an idea which you can replicate. The developer has put together a detailed how-to which explains how Pi-nk uses wireless instead of USB for almost all of the connections (including the keyboard). He worked from a Kindle Paperwhite, but since all Kindles now ship with Wifi this project should work with just about any Kindle model (just so long as it has been hacked).

Based on what I am reading, I don’t know that this will work with other E-ink devices, and that’s a shame.

I would really like to see this hack applied to the Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1, a writing tablet with a 13.3″ E-ink screen and an $800 price tag. That much larger screen would be a whole heck of a lot more useful than the 6″ screen on the Kindle, but the DPT-S1 doesn’t even have a web browser, much less have an active hacking community.


Sony Puts its 13.3″ eReader On Sale for $799

DPT-S1-PDF-Reader[1]When Sony launched its 13.3″ digital writing slate in the US last March, it cost a staggering $1,100. The price has come down a bit since then, and today you can pick up the Digital Paper DPT-S1 for a mere $799.

Unlike your average ereader, the DPT-S1 was built for the business customer. It features a 13.3″ Mobius E-ink display with dual touchscreens (stylus and IR), Wifi, and 4GB of storage. It does not, however, support very many features to justify the high price.

The DPT-S1 supports reading and editing PDF files, but it doesn’t support Epub nor does it have any apps. It can’t, for example, let you read your emails.

It does, however, make a nifty blueprint reader. Thanks to the plastic-backed Mobius E-ink display, the DPT-S1 is more rugged than your average mobile device. But due to the size and limited production, it is also more expensive, hence the high price tag.

2014-09-26 DPT-S1 in Sunlight 001

The DPT-S1 is the only device on the market to use this screen, but several competing devices are in the works. Pocketbook, Netronix, and Onyx have each announced that they are working on a design, but none are close to reaching the market.

Similarly, the Chinese device maker Dasung has developed a 13.3″ USB monitor based on this screen, but that unit is not available either.

Got $1,100? Sony is Now Selling the 13.3″ Digital Paper Online

sony-digitalpaper-dpt-s1Sony’s 13.3″ PDF reader is out of the reach of most of us, but if you’re richer than Croesus and in the market and in the market for a limited function device then I have some good news for you.

Sony is now selling the Digital paper DPTS-1 online, direct. My competitor noticed the change earlier today, beating me to the story. You can find the Digital Paper on the Sony Style website, and if you are looking for one of their three resale partners then you should visit Sony’s business/commercial sales website.

The Sony Digital Paper is a minimal function device which features an eye-catching one of a kind 13.3″ E-ink screen with two types of touchscreen tech (capacitive and Wacom). It ships with 4GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, Wifi, but not much else.

Thanks to its plastic construction, the Mobius screen on the DPTS-1 is both thinner and more durable than the E-ink screens found on most ebook readers. The Mobius screen is also why the DPTS-1 weighs in at a mere 12.6 ounces, which is impressive considering that it has a larger screen than most tablets.


Alas, while the hardware is nifty, the software is not. This device is strictly a PDF-only reader, meaning that it does not even support Epub or office doc formats.

I think that rather limits its usefulness, which is why I always suggest that a tablet, even a Surface Pro tablet, would be a better buy than the Sony Digital paper DPTS-1.


Sony’s 13.3″ Digital Paper Writing Slate Gets a $400 Price Cut – Now Costs Only $1,350

When sony-digitalpaper-dpt-s1the Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1 was first launched in the US back in March, I knew few would be able to afford its $1,100 price tag. And when a 3rd-party importer first started selling the device on Amazon in late April (Thanks, M Singh!) for $1,750, it was even further out of reach.

But today I have some great news to share. That Amazon marketplace seller has put the Digital Paper on sale on Amazon. They’ve knocked $401 off of the price tag, lowering the price to a mere $1,349. What a bargain!

The seller Sony has knocked 23% off of the price of the price of the Digital Paper DPT-S1, so if you are in the market to get one you should act fast.

The Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1 is a one of a kind device both in terms of price and screen tech. This is the first device in the world to use the new Mobius E-ink screen, and it is the only one to use a 13.3″ E-ink screen. This is both larger and more rugged than your average E-ink screen, making it more durable than any other model currently on the market.

It comes with a dual-mode touchscreen (both optical touch and electromagnetic stylus), Wifi, 2.8GB Flash storage, and is limited to only letting users read and edit with PDFs. And with a screen of 1,200 × 1,600, the screen is going to appear dull both compared to the latest E-ink screens as well as cutting edge LCD screens.

The DPT-S1 is the perfect example of much that is wrong with Sony. After years of expensive research, Sony has a cutting edge tech which was then incorporated in a device no one is going to want to buy. The DPT-S1  is the Sony Librie all over again.



Sony’s $1,100 Digital Paper Has Found a New Home: in HR

When sony-digitalpaper-dpt-s1Sony’s expensive Digital Paper writing slate launched in the US last month I knew that its $1,100 price tag and limited feature set would make it hard to find buyers, but it looks like Sony DPT-S1 has found a home where money is rarely a problem: Hollywood.

Sony put out a press release today, announcing a new deal with Ease Entertainment. This firm handles accounting and payroll for studios and other entertainment companies, and they think the Sony Digital Paper is a great idea.

"We are committed to taking what is still a 'paper and file box' industry and moving it into the current generation of tools, a key part of which is Sony’s Digital Paper," said Michael Rose, Chairman and CEO of Ease Entertainment. "The combination of our technologies will substantially streamline and improve the onboarding process, which will ultimately lead to reduced production costs. The uses in and around a shooting set, within production offices and at the corporate and legal level, are countless: enhanced regulatory compliance, fewer errors, reduced environmental impact and an increased level of efficiency."

SonySoftKB-130516I really have to wonder about the CEO of an accounting company thinking that the Digital Paper is a good value.

The Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1 is based on a 13.3″ plastic-backed E-ink screen and comes with a dual-mode touchscreen, stylus, Wifi, 2.8GB Flash storage, and is limited to only letting users read and edit with PDFs.

At $1,100, the Digital Paper does not present a good cost:benefit ratio- not compared to tablets. You could get two $500 tablets for the same cost and show a much higher benefit from the many additional features and functions on the tablets that the Digital paper lacks.

With that in mind, I wonder just how many devices Ease bought and at what discount. Equipping all of their staff would leave a huge crater where their IT budget used to be, so I bet they only bought a handful of the writing slates.