Have a need for a phone that is focused more on reading consumption than multimedia use? Look no further, Onyx Midia may have you covered with their Onyxphone. The device features a 1 Ghz Rockchip processor, 512 MB of ram, an 1,800 mAh battery. The OnyxPhone is a 4.3″ phone that uses an energy saving e-Ink screen instead of the LCDs, OLEDs and other technologies that dominate the selected screen technology of smart and feature phones today. It also doesn’t use a hybrid E Ink/LCD strategy like the Yotaphone, it’s pure E Ink only.
You will sacrifice color and fast refresh rates so be prepared to say goodbye to videos and many games on this device. That’s not to say that this idea is bad or crazy, in fact I believe it to be the opposite. It’s a brilliant invention for people that primarily uses their cell phones to consume text but may often be annoyed at how often they may need to charge their devices.
Onyxphone is a hybird of smartphone and eReader. We have not forget about our main goals. If you choose our device you will get smart eBook reader that gives you possibility to calling, sms texting and web connection. – Onyx
(They’re a Chinese company, their translations may not be the best but are more than sufficient)
Very often our modern smart phones may have disappointing battery life. six hour to two day battery life has become the accepted range. A modern smart phone that lasts for two days isn’t bad at all but in another light it could be seen as disappointing. How? Many of the devices it replaces (terrestrial phones, cameras, books, computers, mp3 players, address books, flash lights, etc) traditionally lasted longer before needing maintenance or charging. Now you would be hard pressed to find a more versatile and useful device than the modern smart phone, but we could still hope for other interpretations of that device that helps to fill lost niches and types of uses.
Low-end Android phones may struggle to hit the lower end of that range while a semi-tablet like the Galaxy Note is praised for being able to run for a couple of days. Looking at all that these devices enable today, they’re right. It’s a technological marvel to have a 5″ device that is always connected to the internet, able to allow for communication in a myriad of ways while being more powerful than 6th, and very soon 7th, Generation game consoles (GCN/PS2/Xbox).
It’s nearly obscene that we have so much power and versatility in our pockets yet it’s our reality. Even so, maybe this tech overshoots the needs of some users. Not everyone cares for watching Youtube on the go or looking at pictures. In fact, how many of us just use our phones as a convenient way to read online sites like this one, ebooks or any other form of text(ing)? For those type of uses, color isn’t needed. The modern smart phone is arguably a cellular enabled tablet, but how much longer will that near monopoly last?
Getting back to the main point, the OnyxPhone reveal, it seems like a good idea that is limited by current technology unfortunately. According to Engadget the ebook functionality is smooth but normal phone navigation is beyond sluggish. The specs are low (still partially undefined) and the monochrome screen will be off-putting to the mainstream users. Instead of destroying this concept for what it isn’t, it’s very thrilling because of what it is and for what it may be a prelude to. There is on-going work to develop color e-ink screens, that will be a game changer for future iterations as well as dedicated e-readers. A faster cpu, more ram and more OS customization (it runs Android, and yes it can sideload apks) would make this a very useful and cheap device.
Imagine a color e-ink screen, a more fluid user interface, improved reader-focused features and a solid calling and texting experience – all on a device that only needs to be charged every two weeks. I very rarely stream video and wouldn’t miss the feature on a phone like this. I make heavy use of Digg Reader, Comixology, Nook, Pocket, Wikipedia and many other apps that would benefit greatly from an improved reading experience. I’d happily use an ereader phone in place of the current status quo devices if it could perform its’ reading and communication jobs at an equally high level of quality. The OnyxPhone is that first step, let’s hope that Onyx or others will be fit to see this through to the end.