There is a never-ending tug of war between analog and digital, especially between paper and computers. The favorite debates usually revolve round paper notebooks and organizers versus mobile phones. One has the advantage of being “always on” while the other has the advantage of ease of management and editing. Japanese design startup Kosho Tsuboi has come up with an idea, one that some might have seen before. That is, an always-on Magic Calendar dashboard that display’s your calendar on a wall. And it’s powered by Android, of course.
Dashboards, wall displays, and “magic mirrors” powered by small computers, usually a Raspberry Pi, is a common project among DIY hobbyists, but the Magic Calendar has one or two things over those more complex contraptions. For one, it has only one function and one function alone: to display the calendar. For another, it uses an e-ink display rather than an LCD.
That last bit is significant because it means that the Magic Calendar can last for days on a single charge. According to the device’s web page, it can last for 30 months. E-ink only uses power when changing its contents and doesn’t draw any power to keep display the same static content, unlike LCD displays. So unless you are changing your schedule every minute, it’s going to sit there with the same contents for a day or two.
That said, there also some disadvantages to not using a typical touch screen. Although it seems that a rare colored e-ink is used, e-ink displays usually have significantly lower resolutions than LCDs. Then there’s also the issue of interaction, since you can’t really touch the e-ink screen to manipulate it. You can only change views, for example, by pressing buttons on the side of the Magic Calendar. Any editing has to be done on a computer or phone, which is synced to Google Calendar, which then trickles down to the Magic Calendar.
The Magic Calendar isn’t a commercial product just yet, if it will ever become one, that is. It’s part of a Japanese Android Experiments campaign that looks for potential Android-powered ideas that can be turned into actual products. The Magic Calendar was one such chosen idea, so don’t be surprised if it suddenly pops up somewhere, at least in Japan.