Bookeen has been making e-readers for six years and the company has always focused on developing solid devices and marketing them all over the world. In order so stay competitive against Amazon and Kobo they are making a new solar powered e-reader that will do away with having to charge it via USB.
The new e-reader will be powered by Sunpartner Technologies who is a a high-tech engineering company specializing in Solar NETs (New Energy Technologies). Since 2008, they’ve been developing the transparent PV component Wysips that seamlessly integrates into any surface, transforming it into a solar panel.
Bookeen and Sunpartner are both based in France, so this new partnership makes sense. They can both promote it through their different marketing channels and hopefully more companies participating in the e-reader space will start to adopt solar powered technologies.
Accross the entire industry there has been only a few companies that have invested in solar powered e-readers. Toshiba, in 2010, released the Biblio Leaf in Japan and it had six inch electronic paper display similar to the Kindle. Toshiba said that the solar panel that is built into the front of the device is capable of charging the battery enough for users to read up to 25 books, or 7,500 pages, on a single charge. Not only can you read tons but you can recharge it when you are not using it by just leaving it to catch ambient sunlight.
LG developed e-Paper screen technology that was employed on a TFT-LCD screen. It never really got past the prototype stage. At 10cm wide and a thickness of just 0.7mm, its dimensions are almost akin to that of a credit card. This combined with the weight of a fountain-pen, it is unprecedented in its form. The photovoltaic cell provides a steady stream of solar energy, which gives LG an absolutely winning design. Sadly, no companies picked it up.
There is no estimated date in which this new e-reader by Bookeen will ship. We do know that it will hit the market “sometime in 2016.” Hopefully it won’t be delayed like the Cybook Ocean was.