I’m an all-day note-taker—my day’s or week’s itinerary, messages to give to someone else, story ideas, ramblings, etc. Unfortunately I’m also a bit of a messy … well, unorganized person, I admit. And as you may guess, those two personality traits usually add up, for me, to lots of unorganized, folded pieces of paper in my pockets or around my house and office, and also a library of notebooks of compiled thoughts and ideas with real order.

So needless to say, I’m anticipating Sony’s A4-sized (8.3-inches x 11.7-inches) digital paper slate to be rather beneficial in my life. Unveiled last week, their ongoing collaborative project using E Ink’s latest flexible Mobius technology provided a prototype that weighs only 358-grams. And at only 6.8mm thick, with a 1200×1600 pixel display, portability is key, though usability is not to be compromised.

The device was demoed at the Educational IT Solutions Expo in Tokyo earlier this week. Check out the video below, grabbed by DigInfo TV:

Impressive, right? Special for the device, Sony created a high-precision thin film that can handle E Ink digital writing capabilities, omitting glass material—along with choosing a plastic bezel and casing to keep the device lightweight and very portable. It uses a stylus to write at a thickness comparable to a normal ballpoint pen. There’s no word on specs, pricing or wireless connectivity yet.

Sony has the next-generation classroom assistant targeted at school systems worldwide, perhaps with a potential to replace traditional paper notebooks altogether. Of course, not immediately. But the functionality is clearly available and that’s exciting. With technology such as this (packing a battery life of about three weeks, I should add) it seems pointless to waste real paper any longer.

It’s easy to see what my opinion about all this is—how do you think the future for E Ink notebooks is looking?


  1. This is an interesting product that I’ll be keeping my eyes on. But I’ve spent some time with a Wacom tablet with Sketchbook Pro, and the key to productivity and low frustration is to be able to select bits and move them around. Haven’t seen that discussed for the Sony yet. Granted, my use case is note taking plus visual problem solving with diagrams and models and I’m not much of an artist.

    Without that type of feature and some other basics, I still trying to understand how it would be any more useful than paper except for (of course) the handy electronic storage of pages. It’s usage seems to be more like a boogie board plus some special tasks such as pdf forms or the like.

    Btw, Adobe also has some interesting ideas for sketching on tablets with “Mighty” and “Napoleon”.

  2. Impressive, particularly the size, lightness and long battery life. News about the death of ePaper is greatly exaggerated. It should be great for proofing texts. A stand that’d let it be placed alongside a regular display, serving as an additional screen, would be great too. And I’d love to see a screen like this become the built-in back of a smartphone for reading or messaging. There’s already and add-on for iPhones that does that.

    I fail to understand this gushing about flexibility though. That plastic makes it thinner and lighter is great. But flexibility just means it has to be put in a case to make it stiff. I don’t want a reading or writing surface that wobbles and wiggles.

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