Way back in September of 2010, Sony unveiled a flexible E-paper screen that it had been working on. At the time, Sony said that it had no plans to commercialize the large flexible e-ink display, but it appears things have changed. Knowing that Sony has been working on these flexible screens since at least 2010 means it’s no surprise that Sony is now showing off a massive writing slate that will be trialed in Japan.
It doesn’t appear that this device is designed to be flexible itself, but that screen is said to be flexible. I would imagine that the flexibility is important in a device designed to be written on by hand to allow the screen to survive without cracking over time. The device is currently a concept, but Sony reportedly plans to bring it to market this year for testing. The writing slate has a 13.3-inch E-ink screen that is sized like an A4 sheet of paper.
The screen promises a resolution of 1600 x 1200. Other details of the tablet are known include 4 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, integrated Wi-Fi, and the device promises three weeks of battery life. The panel uses some sort of electromagnetic induction technology and the touch functionality won’t work with a finger.
The only way to interact with the tablet is said to be by using the included pen or another stylus. The device supports only one file format, which is PDF. That may well be the downfall of this device. There is no support for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or any other file type. More than anything else, that will limit the usefulness of this device.
Sony says that it will be field trialing the device at several Japanese universities later this year. Sony’s goal is to offer the tablet commercially by the end of its fiscal 2013. That would be somewhere around May of 2014 according to reports.