The company Onyx International is working on a smartphone with an E Ink display instead of the traditional LCD or AMOLED display. Fellow blogger Charbax found a prototype of the device in Asia and made a short demo video. This smartphone certainly makes an impression and shows  how another type of display might be possible.

Onyx Android Smartphone with E Ink Display

The advantage of the E Ink display lies in the amount of battery power it can save. Energy is only used when the user updates the screen content and unlike most smartphones, this one theoretically only needs to charge once a month. Like any other smartphone the Onyx has 3G and Wi-Fi support. The device weighs only 100 grams and should be appearing on the market in the coming year.

Onyx has of course made a few alterations to the Android interface so that it is compatible with E Ink’s grayscale. It might not be the most attractive display, but it certainly is extremely easy to ready outside in full sunlight. The rest of the specifications are unknown, but it’s an interesting idea.

This is the first prototype and it’s running Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and the device is made completely of plastic. It should be very easy and cheap to get once it becomes available. For now, check out the video and see what you think:

Source: ARMDevices

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  • Jay

    if they had one with 4G LTE for about $70 I could see getting one.

  • max

    @Jay, lol.

    Can you please elaborate on what basis you’ve reached a calculation of $70 for this phone?

    Can you get a Eink reader for $70? Nook, Amazon, Koby or any other which is a 3G. Forget about LTE 4G.

    Do you realize that 4G LTE module when it is sucking data, eats up as much power as an entire MacBook Pro 13″ playing a HD video?

    4G LTE modules in its current form are more expensive then a QuadCore S4 Pro and are DOA, a farce, a hype created by greedy American carriers to lure technology challenged Americans to pay $50 for 250 megabytes of data. lol.

    The phone you see above can run a full fledged Ubuntu on it. Its way ahead of its time. And if it will ever come to Apple or any other branded manufacturer, they will rip you for $700+ or ask you a contract ink with blood.

    • Nicole

      Wonder if they’ll come out with a different version for different markets. They do love making many different phones (which is the biggest problem of their strategy)

      • Jay

        E-ink is increasingly coming down in price otherwise we wouldn’t see the txtr out for $13 I am hoping this hits very cheap because this would be a nice option as a second backup phone or if they had an lte unit it would be a great tethering phone.

  • max

    Difficult to say, as this looks like an engineering unit. And most probably they don’t want to sell this directly as phone, instead want to attract a biggie.

    Making it a full fledged consumer unit requires three way tweaks. Processor manufacturer, Phone manufacturer and Google (or the software platform it runs on) Which look difficult in all scenario as few patent trolls will lock horn on Eink refresh rate tech etc.

    Anyways this is a tech whose time has not come. That’s what i think.
    People are free to disagree with me.