When it comes to reading on a digital device, it's hard to be an E-Ink screen. The text is clear and crisp, and you can easily read when the sun is shining. But would the low-powered display work on a smartphone? Chinese company Onyx thinks so. It's currently developing an Android smartphone with an E-Ink display.
The phone looks like any other Android handset—a black rectangle with a huge display. But when you turn it on, everything is in black and white. Though the phone's still in the development stage, the positives of using an E-Ink screen shine through. It's reportedly very light, weighing in at around 70 grams. Being in direct sunlight doesn't affect your ability to use it. And, like most e-readers, it can last for an entire week on a single charge.
However, there are some negatives. When compared to the displays on modern smartphones, the E-Ink display is very slow. Opening an app takes a few seconds and causes the screen to blink. Scrolling isn't as smooth as current smartphones. And there's no color.
According to AndroidOS.in, Onyx plans to release the phone sometime next year. While it won't be able to compete with high-end, or even mid- and low-end smartphones, BuzzFeed FWD's John Herman makes a good point about where in the market a phone like this could fit:
"Video and gaming are out, of course. But browsing and certain types of app navigation could be fixed with pagination. Calling, texting, Tweeting and Facebooking would all be easy, and reading might actually be improved over a comparable LCD. Make it sub-$300 off contract and I might be sold. "
While, I'm not as hyped as Herman, I think also think there could be a place in the world for such a phone. Maybe E-Ink smartphones will become the new dumbphones.