For years E Ink has been marketing their low power electrophoretic displays for all kinds of different applications besides just ebook readers such the Kindle and Nook. There are E Ink watches, signs, traffic lights, and plenty of other things you wouldn’t suspect.
Given the number of cell phone users worldwide, phones look to be one of the more promising markets for E Ink. You may recall the video interview with E Ink last month that showed a two-sided smartphone prototype, with an E Ink screen on one side of the device and an LCD screen on the other.
This time around we’ve got a look at a full-fledged E Ink smartphone prototype that Onyx International is working on. Onyx also makes ebook readers and have been recently developing Android software for them so this isn’t much of a stretch for Onyx.
Basically it’s just a regular Android-powered smartphone with an E Ink screen instead of LCD. The software hasn’t been optimized for E Ink so there are some issues to be worked out, but it’s surprisingly smooth and refreshes are quick.
As the video below points out, the main benefits of an E Ink phone over LCD is the screen is much more readable in bright light, with no glare and reflections, and the battery can last a lot longer. Battery life is quoted at 1 month in the video, but it’s actually more like 1 week, which is still really good considering the average battery life of smartphones with LCD screens.
Onyx’s phone is said to use a plastic-based E Ink screen, making it a lot more durable than the glass-backed screens currently used for ebook readers.
It will be interesting to see what makes it onto the market first, a two-sided E Ink phone or full E Ink phone like this one.