A new mobile device from Polymer Vision has the functionality of a cell phone, an e-reader, and a portable audio player.
The Readius features a foldable 5-inch screen display. “With the display and the form factor we merged two worlds together, the world of e-reading and combined it with a mobile phone,” says Thomas Vander Zijden, vice president of marketing and sales for Polymer Vision.
The Readius’ 5-inch screen compares to a more common 2-inch diagonal screen on a cell phone and a 3.5-inch screen on an iPhone. The entire body is comparable to the size of a cell phone at 115 x 57 x 21mm and weighs 115g.
The foldable screen uses electronic paper from E Ink and has 16 shades of grayscale. Since the device uses electronic paper rather than a backlit screen, it uses less battery power and boasts 30 hours of battery life for continuous reading.
The device can be connected to a computer through a USB connection and uses a microSD card as an expandable storage medium or can connect over a 3G cellular network. The Readius can store and access electronic books, audio books, podcasts and various audio file types including MP3, AAC and WMA.
“Polymer Vision is ready for market launch by the middle of 2008,” says Vander Zijden. “We have announced a cooperation with Telecom Italia, who will launch the product in Italy.” Polymer Vision is also working with various publishers and content providers to establish a base of content formatted for the device — what they are calling a content portal.
In 2006 Polymer Vision spun off from Philips, who started the original development of the Readius. “Of course the first steps toward this product have been made while we were still part of Philips,” says Vander Zijden. “In terms of, let’s say, business direction but also operations we are completely independent from Philips, but definitely in technology development of the display and first steps of concept development of the Readius, that has been done in very close cooperation with Philips.”