Fujitsu FLEPia color e-book hits Japan next month

Mar 18, 2009
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Fujitsu FLEPia color e-book hits Japan next month

After successful trials earlier on in the year, Fujitsu has finally put its FLEPia color e-book reader on sale.  The FLEPia has an 8-inch XGA-resolution 260,000 color display, paired with both WiFi b/g and Bluetooth connectivity, and a casing just 12.5mm deep at its thickest.

Storage is handled via SD card, with up to 4GB cards supported, and there are both hardware buttons together with touchscreen control.  Battery life is up to 40hrs continuous use from a single charge, with the FLEPia's color e-ink only using power when changing, rather than maintaining, a screen image (just as with monochrome e-ink). 

There are also stereo speakers, a USB 2.0 port, two ebook readers (supporting the .book and XMDF standards) and Fujitsu even load Windows CE 5.0.  It'll be available in Japan, in black and white, from April 20th, priced at 99,750 yen ($1,010).

Press Release:

Fujitsu Begins On-Line Consumer Sales of World’s First Color E-Paper Mobile Terminal FLEPia

- Displays up to 260,000 colors; features Bluetooth and high-speed wireless LAN; thin and lightweight -

Tokyo and Kawasaki, Japan, March 18, 2009 – Fujitsu Frontech Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories Limited today announced the start of consumer sales in Japan of the world’s first color e-paper mobile terminal, FLEPia, available for purchase from today through Fujitsu Frontech’s online store “FrontechDirect”. Developed by Fujitsu Frontech and Fujitsu Laboratories, FLEPia is the first ever mobile information terminal to feature color electronic paper (color e-paper). In addition to being lightweight and thin, the color e-paper mobile terminal features an easy-to-view 8-inch display screen capable of showing up to 260,000 colors in high-definition, in addition to being equipped with Bluetooth and high-speed wireless LAN. FLEPia is also power-efficient, enabling up to 40 hours of continuous battery operation when fully charged, and does not require power for continuous display of a screen image, consuming power only during re-draw. Featuring significant storage capabilities, when used with a 4GB SD card, the color e-paper terminal can store the equivalent of 5,000 conventional paper-based books when each book is 300 pages long at 600KB per book, thus being environmentally friendly. In Japan, FLEPia can now be easily ordered from Fujitsu Frontech’s online store. As an additional option, through Fujitsu Frontech’s dedicated website, FLEPia users can purchase e-books from the largest e-book online retailer in Japan and download the e-books directly into FLEPia. As the only color e-paper mobile terminal commercially available, FLEPia offers a convenient, paper-free and eco-conscious enriched innovative mobile reading experience to users.

Figure 1: Fujitsu's color e-paper mobile terminal FLEPia

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Background

Fujitsu Frontech and Fujitsu Laboratories co-developed proprietary color e-paper, and announced the launch of FLEPia in April 2007 as the world’s first color e-paper mobile terminal. Previously, commercial samples of FLEPia were available for purchase on a limited basis for corporate use only, as part of field trials of the first ever color e-paper mobile terminal. Compared to the FLEPia commercial samples which were used in field marketing, the latest FLEPia offers 1.5 times higher brightness and greater contrast, enabled through optimization of the color e-paper’s optical properties. Re-draw speed was also enhanced by 1.7 times. In addition to previously available high-speed wireless LAN, FLEPia is equipped with Bluetooth, enabling users to easily download and access various content from nearly any desired location.

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Key Features
1. Lightweight, thin and high-performance: 8-inch screen displays up to 260,000 colors in high-definition

Weighing just 385 grams (385g) and only 12.5mm thick, FLEPia is lightweight and easily portable, while offering an easy-to-view 8-inch screen. Featuring world-leading color e-paper technologies, the mobile display terminal enables users to view a multitude of documents and images in high-definition at 768 dots x 1,014 dots (XGA), with up to 260,000 displayable colors (4,096-color and 64-color display is also possible, if desired).

2. Power-efficient color e-paper; enables up to 40-hour continuous battery operation

As the color e-paper employed displays text or images by reflecting external light, FLEPia does not require power to maintain screen display, consuming power only during re-draw (power consumption is approximately just 1/50 that of standard notebook PCs under similar usage conditions). When fully-charged, FLEPia offers up to 40 hours of continuous battery operation (conditions: display of 2,400 pages at 1 page per minute with 64 colors).

3. Feature-rich external interface (Japan: Bluetooth, high-speed wireless LAN)

Equipped with Bluetooth in addition to high-speed wireless LAN, FLEPia offers dial-up connection via various Japanese mobile carriers, thus enabling easy download of content featuring images and text (excluding audio and video content) from nearly any desired location. Also included as standard features are a USB mini-B connector supporting USB2.0 (480Mbps) and a SD memory card slot. Stereo speakers (embedded) offer audio playback of e-books, including picture books.

4. User-friendly operation: touch screen, digital stylus, scroll key, function buttons

A touch screen featured on the 8-inch display screen, along with a digital pen, enables easy operation of FLEPia. Also included are a scroll key and 6 function buttons, enabling users to freely and quickly implement commands on the screen in all 4 directions (up, down, left, right), as desired.

5. Two e-book viewers included as standard features (XMDF and .book formats)

Two popular e-book viewers widely used on PCs or mobile phones in Japan - “BunkoViewer” (XMDF format; “bunko” refers to “library” in Japanese) and “T-Time” (.book format) are included as standard features. These e-book viewers enable downloaded e-books to be easily read with FLEPia. The e-book viewers offer an enriched reading experience compared to conventional paper-based reading, enabling readers to jump from the table of contents to desired sections and freely enlarge or shrink text or images. A vast number of e-book sites are currently available on the Internet, and a wide range of approximately 20,000 Japanese e-books in either XMDF or .book format can be downloaded with FLEPia (see “Content Storage Capacity” under Specifications).

6. Equipped with Windows CE5.0 (Japanese version)

In addition to the content browser, Microsoft’s Windows CE5.0 (Japanese version) enables use of an internet browser, e-mail, and various software on FLEPia. Microsoft’s Office can also be used to generate text documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, making it possible to view a variety of documents - including e-mail file attachments - while in transit or in the field and away from an office environment, thus fully maximizing FLEPia’s multiple functions as a mobile information terminal. In terms of text input, a software keyboard and digital stylus make it possible to send e-mails and other text.

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Dedicated customer-support website offers technical support, maintenance, software upgrades (Japan)
Fujitsu Frontech will offer a dedicated customer-support site, FLEPia World, on its Japanese website. FLEPia World will offer product information to potential customers considering purchase of FLEPia, in addition to technical and maintenance support to FLEPia users. Software upgrades will be offered free-of-charge.

Furthermore, customers will have the option of purchasing e-books through the FLEPia World website via Japan’s largest e-book online retailer - offered through a collaboration between the retailer PAPYLESS CO.,Ltd. and Fujitsu Frontech - and downloading the e-books directly onto FLEPia.

[via CrunchGear]


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