Obviously it's cost prohibitive right now, but as throwawaymsft said earlier it's very likely the price would plummet at scale. Clearly it would need to if the display is to find a market, and I expect they know that.
Once color e-ink displays are available, I'd move emacs over to it as soon as possible.
(I don't use colours though, my normal terminal setup is green on black)
In real life the benefits are not that great, screen is still polished glass and reflects everything.
If you want to say they've existed you they have since maybe 2005 / 2006. Doesn't mean they have been accessible to anyone for mainstream use. This chnese e-ink display could get traction but they need to cut the price in half. the best innovation on e-ink lately is the yotaphone. Makes the most sense, solves problems and is accessible in price.
I would dearly love to have a laptop using a display like this, so I can write code in the park on nice days.
It's amazing the difference I feel between reading on a tablet and an ereader. The ereader doesn't really feel like a "device," more like a book. On a tablet, I'm googling (Can you really ride from Winterfell to Kings Landing in a week? How fast do ravens fly? Lets see what the internet thinks.). They might be related to the book. They might not. Emails, HN, news…
Watching TV before bed keeps me up. Roaming the internet for half a Saturday on it makes me feel crap. Doing those with a book relaxes me, improves my sleep and my energy levels. Tablet reading is more like TV than like a book.
Anyway… I wonder if bringing that to a writing device could be some sort of improvement, at least for a subset of uses. Something that's designed to write. Editing as a secondary. Something that will feel different when you sit down to write on it. It's not research or email time. It's writing time. Change the pace. Focus.
As a second screen running your normal software… I'm iffy. As a purpose built device that is significantly different than our laptop, but possibly superior at certain tasks, I'd like to see one of these.
There's also the Hemingwrite https://hemingwrite.com/ which is like an eInk typewriter. I prefer having immediate physical output which is why I'd rather have a mechanical typewriter that also saves to digital. But it might be what you're looking for.
- sunlight readable display
- no internet temptation
- full keyboard designed by former Mac engineers, so it looks and feels good
- no moving parts (journalists take them into third-world countries)
- long battery life. (Dana: 24 hours, Neo and 3000: 700)
- They're recognized as USB keyboards, so you can output to computer easily.
I have an idea that I call TypewriterOS. An USB bootable OS (probably based on Linux) that goes directly into a full screen text editor, which is in fact its only feature or software. No WiFi, no multitasking, no ability to save the plain text UTF-8 files to anywhere else but the USB that I booted from.
When I'm ready writing I reboot in to OS X and I can upload the result to wherever I need to.
It requires a desktop, Raspherry Pi or Android phone/tablet that supports USB OTG, http://www.corsair.com/en-us/landing/otg-compatibility-list
Maybe you could use a USB powered hub + hardware keylogger to record the keystrokes from the typewriter?
The use case for me is being able to carry a typewriter around and write on it without thinking about plugging it in to something, then taking a USB key off it later. Whereas that kit is more oriented to using with another computer.
It's also a project that I've accepted I'll tackle some year in the future as my list of fun projects is long and limited by a full time job and a side business. Thank you for the links!
It looks like a the kind of thing you'd find in a baby store. Does it honk a horn when you hit the big red button?
(What I really want is a USB-driven daisywheel printer.)
I just bought an old Sears electric off Kijiji and it buffers keystrokes as you type - if you keep typing when it hits end of line, it will type them for you on the next line. Also has a "demo" function where you hit a special key combo and it will type out a feature list from memory. Reminds me of a player piano.
It uses a daisywheel, I can't believe how fast that thing rotates. If you could control the input to the daisywheel you'd be in business. No idea how hard it would be to reverse engineer it, not my area of expertise, but it seems doable.
I did see somebody at a maker faire a few years back who made a typewriter that wrote out tweets, you could tweet at the machine and it would print it out. Pretty cool, but I think it was a long labor of love and not necessarily easily replicated. You should be able to find something about it with a few searches, I think they were out of Kitchener-Waterloo?
As much as I value being able to access things electronically, I tend to spend 2-3 hours a day reading on sites like this, or blogs... just the same, I find a lot of value in a physical book when getting into something new, and hope they don't go away altogether for technology books.
I would like it even bigger so that research papers in PDF could all be full page without panning. Textbooks in epub are good. Allowed me to finally leave all paper books behind.
My kindle has slowed to a crawl and freezes often after the latest on-device shopping bloatware update that Amazon pushed out.
I do not want or need everything I own to be an all-purpose, voice-controlled, spend 40 hours on the internet device. I might just want to read, or write, or listen to music. So give me something that does that and stop trying to create another content delivery system or way to push ads in my face.
This is a very simple request. I can't imagine that it's somehow strange or weird. The problem here is that marketplace momentum is going the other way.
Maybe that momentum is an optical illusion, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/06/ipod-class...
"One of this year’s hottest Christmas presents is no longer available in the shops. Two months after Apple announced the demise of its iPod Classic MP3 player, the model is selling secondhand for up to four times its original price as aficionados clamour to get their hands on one."
The super-expensive Sony single-purpose eink PDF reader/annotator is selling to many outside the original target market of legal professionals, much to Sony's surprise. For a while, there was a 50% markup on the device by reimporters.
Hopefully Project Ara succeeds, allowing users to choose different points on the spectrum between single and multi purpose hardware.
Edit: scrivener for linux has a free beta, http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2014/08/29/scrivener-on-li...
An OLED screen would be a truer black, since the pixels are turned on/off individually, with no backlight. The new Dell "world's thinnest" 8" tablet with 350 PPI OLED for $399 looks promising, http://www.androidcentral.com/dell-venue-8-7840-qhd-display-...
While the standalone monitor is neat, I think the biggest use-case would still be for a portable/outdoor terminal. That being said, with MEMS-IGZO devices finally coming from Sharp/Qualcomm (Pixtronix) this year (they've been showing it off since 2013 , but have announced a 1H 2015 release in JP ) that boasts some impressive specs : 220ppi, 120% NTSC color gamut, 8000:1 contrast ratio, 50% power consumption of an LCD. It is also sunlight readable and has switchable low power/low refresh grayscale and color modes.
It's not bistable, but is looking like a really good e-reader/tablet option. Personally, I'm still looking forward to the revamped SMI Mirasol  but that's probably years out... (basically, the perennial story of cool display tech)
I had it replaced once thanks to the fact that the hardware was known to be defective (well, known to Sharp and Softbank, at least; they didn't bother telling people) but both new and old suffer positively abysmal touch recognition and performance.
Sample size of one, of course, but buyer beware. I'd wait for feedback from the trenches before even considering a Sharp product in this category.
I'd love to try using an IDE such as Eclipse on such a screen. I suppose IDEs can have an e-ink mode where instead of colors, they use multiple fonts, italics, bold fonts, and other decorators to highlight syntax.
Yeah, and apparently no need to go to the black state required on current e-ink screens?
Unbelievable. This site forces people to communicate like they're being watched by their professor, and it still passive aggressively bans people who merely dissent once and a while.
Just wait until an alternative site emerges. One that doesn't have a concept of crimethink for the sake of "preserving the community".
YES, but sadly you can see afterimages, or image burn on the screen, I hope they have some self erase/calibration procedure buildin.
All great monochrome editors.
Plenty of exceptional programmers use mono. One wonders if it is a cause or an effect.
But it is nonetheless "a great monochrome editor"
I have already been fantasising about and doing
a spot of research into building one on my own by using an
Arduino (I wouldn't need as high a refresh rate as this little marvel) and one of PervasiveDisplays'.
I gave up convinced there was no sane way to actually
connect this contraption to my laptop, and the USB solutions
mentioned below do not instill hope.
They seem to be doing a bit of open-source advocacy, too:
So the only advantage I can see here is lower power consumption?
Also, think about how things tend to work in the electronics industry. DVD players were $1000 in the 90s.
I'd still like a screen like this though. I gathered I can convert my old Kindle to an external screen with some custom firmware, I might do that.
The keyboard on the old model I have is good enough for typing down thoughts, there's just nowhere to write unless you add comments to a book.
Current displays are a huge power hog because they have to compete with/outshine ambient light. With this technology, we use ambient light to make the display content visible, instead of trying to outshine it by cranking up the backlight.
Interesting study but by no means conclusive and has a few flas as they only measured 6 female participants reading 300 words at a time on each device.(10 inch ipad, two sony e-ink devices of 6 inch variety)
Number and sex of participants might not be that crucial here but 300 words at a time seems very low amount.
Anecdotally, I can read just fine and quickly on a most glossiest of LCDs for a few minutes.
If I have to read for an hour or longer give me e-ink screen any time.
EDIT: using four spaces to indicate quoted text means mobile users have to horizontally scroll the line of text in order to read it.
Staring at a light producing screen all day then not staring at one could still be a good move.
2-Buy a good quality screen.
3- Adjust the brightness of it so it is always the same of the surroundings, so your eyes do not suffer from constantly adjusting.
4- For every 50 minutes of work, relax 10 minutes. That means closing your eyes if necessary.
5- Exercise regularly. People ignore how important is blood circulation for your eyes.
Works great for me!
I hope they will make larger versions too. The refresh rate on this display is pretty impressive, but I would be happy even with much slower refresh rate. My needs are humble, I use Unix and Plan 9, and most of the time I write programs in acme. I don't need scrolling, and I certainly don't need color.
I love how easy it is to read (for me) text on an e-ink display and how little fatigue I get. Retina displays significantly improved the experience on regular displays, but it's still significantly behind in the eye-strain department.
This guy claiming access to 13.3" panels, and he quoted me $2800 for a single 13.3" dev kit along SDK when I PMed him several months back.
I experimented with a monochromatic color scheme for my F# projects. Basically, I wanted the code to look like a page from a beautifully typeset math book. It got pretty close, but for want of italics, which VS does not support.
I'm playing around with rich IDE typography right now (but with color), it especially pops out at higher DPIs.
Another thing that I tried was to extract each font variant into a separate file, and then to force VS to use those explicitly for different code element types, but that didn't work.
Got an RSS feed to make it easy to keep up with your articles?
But, it would be nice if VS supported italics, various font weights, and small caps.
Sadly, being a hardware company is tough and the product line became unprofitable. The android version ended at 2.3, but it was sufficient to put on several readers. If your books were in a standard format, the built in reader worked fine. There was also community effort to either mirror the screens or force other reader apps onto the e-ink panel.
I sold my DX (the "current" gen) and bought a 3rd Gen iPad the minute the retina display was released. I still pine for the eInk display though. I've half considered a hobby hack project that involves a Kindle DX brain transplant.
I have one, and use it for good purpose with a variety of text books. The ability (or constraint?) to not be distracted by colourful networky things is grossly underestimated, but even more so is the ability to stare at the thing for several hours, in a variety of lighting conditions, and not feel any type of eye-strain.
Horribly expensive at the time it came out, and probably rare as rocking horse poo now. Looking at the other responses to your question there is slim pickings for contemporary devices with these specs, sadly.
I have an old Kindle 3G that I use for reading papers. Its screen is 4.8" in height, which is just about the default column width of LaTeX (= 8.5" - 3.75" margin = 4.75"), meaning I could comfortably read papers in landscape with only scrolling up & down.
PDF reading was okay. It was rather slow, and you couldn't highlight/markup anything, but the rendering was gorgeous.
Here's one in action:
The refresh rate isn't really fast enough to use a mouse/trackpad comfortably, but for keyboard-based work like vim, it is swell.
It might not be the most versatile of displays but use of this should really be in the "right tool for the right job" mindset.
It seems video interfacing remains an area of innovation, which means a) getting a new type of connector on every computer you buy, and b) huge confusion in the market for mere mortals (no, I don't know what a HDMI connector looks like, and I don't know either whether it is better or worse than displayport, thunderbolt, etc)
Can't wait to see more of these on the market!
But some lcd makers solved this, like viewsonic in, so this niche is gone.
The refresh rate of a panel is not what it can display, the only real practical effect is on screen tearing. (I worked for a VFX company, trust me I've tested it.)
Even really fast displays take 5 ms to get from grey-white-grey.
Something like this could be a very, very cool development setup for me. I'm interested if anyone has tried it and whether there are any downsides.
 http://web.media.mit.edu/~mhirsch/bidi/bidiscreen.pdf -- this prototype goes even further and can mimic the illumination of an arbitrary 3D object, actually. Quite amazing.
It doesn't have to be fantastically high res, it doesn't even need to do color well or have a good bit-depth, having 2 or 3 bits of RGB is good enough.