Back in October Icarus announced that they would be releasing a new 6-inch ebook reader with a flush glass screen and open Android 4.2.
The device is called the Icarus Illumina, like all of their ereaders (sort of like how new Kindles are always called Kindle too so the different models get confusing after awhile).
This one’s model number is E654BK.
They have the new Icarus Illumina listed on Amazon for $119 plus $8 for shipping.
That’s not a bad price if not for the fact that the inkBook Obsidian sells for $105 with free shipping and it’s essentially the exact same device.
Both are Boyue models with different brand names on the front, but the hardware appears identical.
Like the sister models, the Icarus Illumina has a 6-inch E Ink Carta screen with 212 ppi and a flush glass screen with a frontlight. It has page buttons on each side of the screen, a microSD card slot, 8GB of internal storage space, Wi-Fi, and it supports ePub, PDF, and several other formats via apps.
One difference is they say the Icarus Illumina comes with the Google Play Store preloaded, whereas the inkBook just comes with a generic app store and has to have the Play Store added manually.
I reviewed the InkBook Obsidian last December and it’s a nice ereader for the price, given the limitations and advantages of having an Android operating system, so it’s not a stretch to assume it’s the same story with the new Icarus Illumina as well since they both have the same hardware and software.
Thank you for keeping up to date on devices!
Same here. Thanks Nathan for bringing forth so much valuable info regarding the release of these devices as well as their usage. Helps a lot.
You folks are welcome. And thanks to you for being regular visitors!
The Illumina is compact and lightweight. It also includes physical page turning buttons that offer one hand reading and a screen refresh button, which is very helpful with certain apps that are not optimized for E-Ink screens. And the reading apps are by-default installed in Illumina.
I don’t think there’s a physical screen-refresh button.
I’m actually quite curious if there’s a way to update the InkBook Obsidian with the firmware from this device for regular Google Play access. Any ideas if its possible and how to do it?
Not sure. It might be easier to root it and install the play store. There’s this guide at MobileRead but it’s for the older models.
Thanks Nathan! It surely is easier, but the firmware for the InkBook Obsidian hasn’t been updated for a year now, I’d be hoping that the E654BK maybe has a newer version. As to the guide, I’m sure if the above works, it’ll be the first place to learn about it 😉
I’m not sure Boyue even updates the software on their Android ereaders. They’ve been using the same Android 4.2.2 software for years now ever since they first came out. At some point they’re gonna have to update to a newer version if they want to keep selling them.
AFAIK, they used to with the earlier models, it was still Android 4.2.2, but some glitches were polished out as the FW versions progressed, and that’s what I was hoping for. My screen keeps flashing at lower back light settings with ongoing WiFi transmissions, should the connection be lost the back button below the screen lights up, and it behaves accordingly – as if someone pressed that button. You’d hope they’d finally sort these things out… not to mention the invisible notification text in many apps.
You’re absolutely right, though, they should finally update the system version, not sure why they’re still stuck with one that’s almost 4 years old. Both Android 6 and 7 seem to have much better memory and battery management, they surely could make these devices even better.
If they don’t want to do it themselves, they could just release the code base, I’m quite sure there’d be many enthusiasts who would do it for them. I’m also quite confident that it would increase their sales.