Despite being relatively primitive devices compared to the phones and tablets we all carry, the strength of e-ink displays have kept dedicated ereaders on the market for a lot longer than many had predicted. And, at IFA, companies like Alcatel and PocketBook were demoing smartphone flip covers enhanced with an extra e-ink display complementing their primary touchscreens.
As compact as the Kindle is, most of us would still prefer to not have to carry multiple devices on our daily commute. So imagine being able to flip open the cover on your smartphone to reveal a similarly sized e-book reader, all in one device. That's what PocketBook has imagined with its CoverReader that piggybacks on the Samsung Galaxy S4, keeping both displays protected when not in use.
Alcatel, on the other hand, has created a similar flip-style case for its OneTouch Hero. Except that the e-ink display is on the outside, allowing it to display status updates and widgets in addition to ebooks, without having to open the cover. The downside is that the e-ink display is left exposed, but it means you could easily check your phone's status outside on a sunny day. And were it to get damaged, the price of e-ink displays means it's a lot cheaper to replace than your smartphone's full-colour display.
As e-ink displays get thinner and cheaper, these might finally be a great reason for everyone to slap a case on their smartphones. [Gizmag]