popSLATE 2 e-readerThe original popSLATE 1, an e-ink case for the iPhone 6 and 6s, didn’t exactly set the e-reading world on fire. But the new popSLATE 2 version, currently blasting through its targets on Indiegogo, could be a winner for e-reading – as well as a huge source of envy for Android fans like me.

popSLATE 2 is an e-ink case for the iPhone 6, 6s, 6+ and 6s+ models, with a 5-inch e-ink screen providing the customary always-on power-sipping merits, a stated 0.16″ thickness, and claimed “seamless interaction” with the iPhone’s own system and apps, even while the device is locked. As well as offering “an e-reader without the extra device,” popSLATE 2 also serves up an “integrated battery case” delivering a claimed extra 9 hours of talk time, 24/7 information services, customizable alerts and clock faces, and a single point smart charge port that will charge both the phone and the popSLATE 2 with a single Lightning cable.

For your e-reading convenience, popSLATE 2 ships with an e-reading app already installed. “No need to carry another eReader device with you, read books from the back of your phone,” states the blurb. According to some reports, the e-reader will debut with support only for non-DRMed out-of-copyright ebooks, but integration with the Amazon Kindle iOS app and other popular e-reading apps – including, of course, iBooks – will surely follow.

popSLATE 2 also claims to be more durable than a Kindle. “Unlike a Kindle, popSLATE 2 uses a special shatterproof screen, protecting your device from falls, bumps, and everyday life.” I’m not sure in any case if any iPhone owners were exactly stricken with YotaPhone 2 envy, but if any were, popSLATE 2 looks likely to put them out of their misery.

Skeptics might be persuaded by the fact that the popSLATE has already been through one generation, with an actual product out there in the market, and the new version is already attracting some fairly enthusiastic advance writeups. Retail pricing is expected to be $129 and $149 for the smaller and larger versions, but early bird Indiegogo deals are still available for as little as $69.

At the time of writing, the popSLATE 2 Indiegogo campaign is at 157 percent of its $75,000 stretch goal, having raised almost $115,700, and counting. So the project looks absolutely set to happen. And with a month still to go, around 600 of the various early bird specials for backers are still unclaimed. Given the 57 varieties of Android formats, it’s an open question whether any such solution for Android phones will ever ship in bulk. Meanwhile, avid e-reading iPhone owners probably shouldn’t hesitate.

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