Video look: E-ink Android phone that runs for weeks on a charge

Written on:February 27, 2013
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A number of high-performing, cutting edge smartphones were introduced both at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show and this week’s Mobile World Congress. With super high-resolution screens and fast processors, however, most of these handsets run out of juice by day’s end, if not before. Would you give up some speed, features and functions for a Android phone that lasts for a few weeks on a charge? If so, this e-ink Android prototype might be right up your alley.

The folks at MobileGeeks took the prototype for a spin at MWC and you’ll immediately notice that the device is not quite ready for the market. Meaning: the touchscreen isn’t calibrated properly and the display refresh rate isn’t as fast as it needs to be. Still, there’s potential here if the technology improves.

Ideally, these lower-powered e-ink displays would offer fast frame rates and even color; some companies have attempted this in the past — namely Qualcomm and Pixel Qi — but actual products have been lackluster at best. In fact, Qualcomm ceased making screens with its Mirasol display technology and instead began licensing the tech last year.

Are we really close to smartphones that use e-ink touchscreens and last for weeks on a single charge? Not likely. But I could easily envision voice capability in a connected e-ink reader device.

We’re long past the point where voice is an activity limited solely to a “phone.” Communication is evolving to where we want to be in contact with others through a connected device no matter what that device is: A computer, a tablet, a game console, a television or even an e-ink reader. Well, as long we can turn the ringer off when we’re reading!

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