Over the course of the past few years e-readers have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Companies are taking more design risks and small startups are enjoy robust sales for very niche devices. Some of the most notable new e-readers that have been enjoying massive success are the Remarkable, Sony DPT-RP1, Onyx Boox Note and Kindle Oasis 2. In 2018 there is going to be a slew of new digital readers that will be released in all shapes and sizes, here is everything you need to know.
The eOnebook was made in Japan by Progress Technologies and it features two 7.2 inch screens that open and close like a real book. The company had a very successful Kickstarter campaign and it will be released in Japan this summer and worldwide later this year.
Each eOnebook will come with an entire manga library, the first edition has the entire series of Fist of the North Star. Progress told me that they are working on five other manga series and talking with some major publishers to get more content. Each e-reader is preloaded with a single manga series and you cannot sideload any other content.
The Sony Digital Paper DPT-Cp1 is a new 10.3 inch e-reader and digital note taking device and it is going to be available to purchase on the Sony Japan website in June and the US a few months later. The DPT-Cp1 features an E-Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1872×1404 with 227 PPI. It has a capacitive layer for touchscreen interactions and also one for the stylus to take notes and write on PDF files and it supports A5 documents.
Underneath the hood is a Marvell (R) IAP 140 64-bit Quad-core IoT Applications Processor, 16GB of internal storage, WIFI and Bluetooth 4.2. The dimensions are 174.2 × 243.5 × 5.9 mm and it weighs approximately 240 g.
There is no word yet on US pricing, but it should be at least $100 cheaper than the DPT-RP1, which is a 13.3 inch e-reader and retails for around $699 USD.
The InkBook Infinity is the most compelling device that Artatech has ever developed. They are putting in a ton of effort into the industrial design process to make it stand out from their immediate competition.
The Infinity features a 10.3 inch E-Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1872×1404 and 267 PPI. It will have a color temperature front-lite screen with around 19 LED lights. This will allow you to read in the dark with a brilliant clarity or you can mute the white light into various degrees of orange. They are also developing a dedicated stylus pen that will turn the Infinity into a dedicated note taking device.
Underneath the hood will be a 1GHZ i.MX6SL with REGAL, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and SD support for an additional 32GB. This will be the second e-reader on the market with USB-C support and it will have a 3000 mAh battery, which will give you about a week of non-stop use and running apps all the time.
This e-reader will likely be released this summer and the pricing is unknown.
The Inkbook Explorer features a 7.8 inch E Ink Carta display with a resolution 1872 X 1404 with 300 PPI. It has a front light and adjustable color temperature screen so you can read in the dark and help mute the bright lights.
Underneath the hood is a i.MX6SL (with built-in E Ink controller), 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a Microsd slot that is capable of handling a 32GB card. This is one of the few e-readers on the market that has USB-C, Onyx is the other brand. The Explorer is powered by a 3000 mAh battery, so you should get a few weeks of usage.
Inkbook has kept the Bluetooth availability so users can still install their favorite audiobook apps and listen at any time. Speaking of apps, this device is running Android 4.4.4, but doesn’t have any app store to download additional content. You will most likely have to download the Good e-Reader App Store for E Inkin order to download apps. It is retailing for $189 USD and you can order it from the Inkbook website, until its available on Amazon.
The Inkbook Lomus features a six inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 800×600 with 167 PPI. This is an entry level e-reader, similar to the Kindle Basic. It is using a cheaper Dual-Core Cortex A9 processor instead of a Freescale, so performance on this one might be an issue. There is 128MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and no SD card. It is also running Android 4.4.2 and will retail for $88 USD and you can pre-order it from the Inkbook site.
Kobo has developed a new e-reader called the Clara HD and the product should be released sometime next month. This device just hit the FCC and the official specs are embargoed, which is what Kobo normally does when they are about to release something new.
Clara is an internal codename and the final product will have another name. It is unknown what this device actually is. I believe that it is the Mini 2, which will retail for under $60 and will assist Kobo in selling a lot of e-readers in Walmart stores in the United States.
Onyx Boox Note Plus
The Onyx Boox Note Plus features a 10.3 inch E-ink Mobius and Carta display and a resolution of 1872×1404 and 227 PPI. It has a glass based layer that is scratch resistant and also a electromagnetic handwriting (WACOM electromagnetic) layer for stylus support.
One of the big advantages of a glass based display is that the screen is completely flush with the bezel. It ensures that you can draw from the very edge of the screen to the other and can press really hard with the stylus and not scratch the screen. I am a big fan of glass screens because it is easier to swipe and gesture when using Android apps or turning the pages of an ebook.
Some people think that glass screens are brittle than flexible e-paper. I have been covering e-readers for a decade and only a handful of people have ever actually managed to crack the screen and this occurred because they dropped it on concrete or are habitually clumsy. If you feel that you want to take better care of the Note Plus, I suggest just buying a carrying case.
Underneath the hood is a 1.6GHZ quad core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage,dual speakers, mic, Bluetooth 4.0, USB C and WIFI. Onyx was the first e-reader company to employ a quad processor and it dramatically increases the performance of navitating around the device, surfing the internet, turning the pages of a book or using Android apps. This thing is a beast and can handle most tasks like a champ.
Onyx Boox Note Lite
The Onyx Boox Note Lite is a new 10.3 inch e-reader that forgoes the WACOM digitizer layer and only has a capacitive touchscreen display. The Note Lite is geared towards people who want a large screen e-reader to read comics, books, manga, magazines, newspapers and PDF documents.
The Note Lite features a 10.3 inch flexible capacitive touchscreen display with E Ink Carta. The resolution is 1872×1404 and 227 PPI. Underneath the hood is a 1.6GHZ quad core processor, 2GB of RAM, dual speakers, mic, Bluetooth, 32GB of storage and USB C. Sadly it does not have a front-lit display, so you will not be able to read in the dark.
This device is running Android 6.0 and it has Google Play. Onyx has developed their own app store which will also be pre-loaded and although it only has 26 apps available on it, all of the apps have been optimized for the Onyx Lite. For example, the Kindle app has been customized to have no animated page turns, so reading your books is lightning quick.
Amazon will be releasing the Kindle Paperwhite 4 later this year and it will feature an all new comfortlight system. This technology will mute the vibrantly white screen in low light conditions make it easier to read. The Paperwhite will employ 17 LED lights, 10 white and 7 others. It will be announced sometime in October or November and be released soon thereafter.
LAB126 the secretive research and development facility has designed every single product Amazon has ever released and last year they created a bunch of engineering prototypes of the Paperwhite 4 to try and nail down the design. Amazon was not happy with the current direction of comfortlight screens, since the e-readers issued by Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Tolino were predominantly orange. LAB126 was mandated to come up with a new lighting system to mute the orange colors to eliminate white light, but still create a solid reading experience. It looks like early this year they solved the problem and “mass production is underway,” said sources in the upstream supply chain.
One of the big ventures of 2017 was Amazon incorporating their Audible audiobook unit into the second generation Oasis. A few months later they issued a series of firmware updates updates to the Kindle Basic and first generation Oasis. The Paperwhite 3 was the odd man out, but this will change with the advent of the Paperwhite 4 and users will be able to plug in a pair of wireless headphones or speaker and listen to their audiobooks.
It is rumored that the new Paperwhite will employ the IMX.7 dual core processor, but this has not been confirmed.
The new Paperwhite 4 will be apart of the 3 SKU strategy. Amazon will only be marketing the lowend Basic, Paperwhite and the Oasis. The Voyage is going to be phased out and most models are out of stock in Canada the US store.
There are a few unconfirmed rumors. One will be that the new Paperwhite will have two different variants of internal storage; 8GB and 32GBS. There will be a white and black variant for more color options. The other rumor, which is a bit of a stretch is that it will employ the IMX.7 dual core processor.
The Pocketbook Touch Lux 4 features a six inch E Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1024×758 and uses a capacitive touchscreen. It has a new front-lit display, packing in more LED lights than previous models due to the color temperature system. Pocketbook told me that the Lux 4 features the same design as the InkPad 3.
Underneath the hood is a Freescale/NXP 1GHZ single core processor, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. There is a MICROSD support for an additional 32GB of storage. If you max out the SD, you should have room for over 3,000 ebooks.
PocketBook Touch Lux 4 supports 17 book formats and 4 graphic formats, such as JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF. The built-in Wifi together with the PocketBook Cloud, Dropbox PocketBook and Send-to-PocketBook services allow easy delivery of e-content onto the e-reader without connecting it to a PC. The preinstalled Abbyy Lingvo dictionaries offer 24 language combinations for reading books in foreign languages.
The new PocketBook Touch Lux 4 is available in obsidian black, matte silver and emerald colours. It weighs 155 g and dimensions are 161.3 × 108 × 8 mm. It has a 1500 mAh battery, so it should last two to three weeks of constant use.
This e-reader will be retail for 119 EUR.
Pocketbook Basic Lux 2
The Pocketbook Basic Lux 2 does not have a capacitive touchscreen display, everything is controlled via the D-Pad. This device is six inches and uses a E Ink Carta screen with a resolution of 1024×758. You can read at night via the front-lit display, but it has less LED’s than the Lux 4.
Underneath the hood is a Freescale 1GHZ processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a SD card capable of an additional 32GB of storage. The built-in Wifi together with the PocketBook Cloud, Dropbox PocketBook and Send-to-PocketBook services give convenient opportunities to deliver any e-content to the device without having connection to a PC. The e-reader supports 17 book and 4 graphic formats, such as JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF, without conversion. The preinstalled dictionaries offer two language combinations to read books in foreign languages.
I really dig the design of the Basic Lux 2, it is small and has a single home button, it looks like a smartphone and there are two manual page turn buttons beside it. What looks like the home button is actually a D-Pad, this is used to navigate around the UI. The e-reader is available in obsidian black and matte silver colours. It weighs 155G and dimensions are 161.3 × 108 × 8 mm.
The Basic Lux 2 should be available in a week or two and will retail for 85 EUR.
Boyue Likebook Mars
The Likebook Mars features a 7.8 inch E Ink Carta touchscreen display with a resolution of 1782×1448 and 300 PPI. The screen has a small dip where the screen meets the bezel, since it is not using a glass based display, which would increase the price.
The Mars has a front-lit display with 17 LED lights, the vast majority of them are white and the rest are orange to give a candlelight effect. Many e-readers that have a color temperature system have two different sliders, one for each. The Boyue has one slider that controls the luminosity of the white LED lights and if you hit the moon button you can control the brightness of the candlelight effect. I like this condensed approach, it minimizes the amount of space the lighting control system takes up.
Underneath the hood is a 8 core 1.5 GHZ processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. This is the first e-reader ever made with an octa-core processor. It also has support for Bluetooth, WIFi, 3.5mm headphone jack, but doesn’t have built in in speakers.
The Mars has a SD card, something many companies seem to be forgoing. Kobo no longer includes an SD card in any of their e-readers and ditto with the Kindle. Even Onyx Boox has decided to not include expandable storage to any of their higher priced Note e-readers. Mars supports an additional 128GB.
**This post will be updated as new products are announced or applications hit the FCC**
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.