E Ink Extras

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Multi Purpose Devices - Too Much in One Place?

Posted by Carolyn Tusinski on 2023-07-25

I can say I’m fortunate to witness the evolution, more like revolution, in the electronics segment first hand. When I started my first job, main frame computers and electronic typewriters were the top tier of office productivity. My first PC (ATT IBM clone) had a 10M hard drive! There was no way I could fill it up.

I used Lotus Symphony – an integrated word processing, spreadsheet and simple database program. No Windows on the scene yet. No GUI, no mouse – just keyboard shortcuts and simple HTML coding. I didn’t realize that the same ‘shorthand’ to format text, print, save, etc. was the same code that built websites until 2013. I was convinced I couldn’t code, until I saw what was behind the page. I’d been doing that since Report Star.

I’ve had mixed feelings about blended devices. When ACT (contact management app) appeared and Palm Pilot, I thought cool, take it on the road. When laptops became legit mobile – not the original COMPAQ luggable, I thought, ok, this make sense.

As cell phones shrunk – my first phone was an Audiovox candybar, but it was really a brick in size and weight, I thought, well this is good for emergencies. I had no idea that I’d circle back home if I’d forgotten my cell, because it’s a mini laptop! And I need to search!


Audiovox 1994 eBay
The brick – Audiovox, circa 1994. Credit: eBay


Michael Kozlowski asks the question – Do Internet browsers have a place on e-readers? Excellent question. My first eReader was not an E Ink display (before I became aware of the differences!) – it was a color LCD Barnes & Noble Nook. I could send email -slowly. It was heavy too. Needed recharging every 6 hours of use. Amazon and Kobo have incorporated browsers since 2009. Performance, reportedly, was not the best. You needed to disable JavaScript for a good bump in performance.

Fast forward to now – Boox has released the Palma – looks like a cell phone, is actually an eReader!


Onyx Boox Palma eReaderWhaaa? Credit: Boox


Onyx Palma browser Credit: Boox


Although I’d swear it was a phone, there’s no SIM card, so no cellular service. That’s ok, you can message with WhatsApp and Google Meet. Reported retail price is under $300. It will accept a micro SD card to expand memory. 16MP camera, access to Android Play Store apps, headphone jack and microphone. I think I need to lobby to get one of these in our office!

Marketed as a secondary minimalist phone, this is a cool tool for someone who likes to unplug, sort of. Great for travel. I’m in for anything that lightens my load. If I get my hands on one, I’ll let you know the results of the road test.


Topics: Digital Paper, Consumer Devices, eReaders, IoT, ePaper

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