Sony shrinks its Digital Paper tablet down to a more manageable 10 inches

I had a great time last year with Sony’s catchily named DPT-RP1, an e-paper tablet that’s perfect for reading PDFs and other big documents, but one of my main issues was simply how big the thing is. Light and thin but 13 inches across, the tablet was just unwieldy. Heeding (I assume) my advice, Sony is putting out a smaller version and I can’t wait to try it out.
At the time, I was comparing the RP1 with the reMarkable, a crowdfunded rival that offers fantastic writing ability but isn’t without its flaws. Watch this great video I made:

The 10-inch DPT-CP1 has a couple small differences from its larger sibling. The screen has a slightly lower resolution but should be the same PPI — it’s more of a cutout of the original screen than a miniaturization. And it’s considerably lighter: 240 grams to the 13-inch version’s 350. Considering the latter already

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Sony’s customizable e-paper home remote: Could Amazon be next?

Huis 1Sony has just announced in Japan the Huis Remote Controller, a customizable e-paper remote control for home appliances. And Amazon, already the Western world’s leader in e-paper devices, and making a major play for the connected home via its Amazon Echo speaker and Dash Buttons, could be the logical player to follow suit.

As the Sony press release explains (via Google Translate), Huis is “a remote control that can operate multiple devices smoothly with a single remote. The operating surface uses the electronic paper display rather than switches, make it easy to arrange and switch the screen.” Sony crowdfunded development of the Huis through their wholly-owned innovation crowdsourcing platform First Flight. According to The Verge, Sony opted for e-paper because of its lower power consumption and persistent display. The device is already on sale in Japan for the very Japanese price of JNY 27,950 ($245).

There’s one obvious way you can see such technology working for Amazon in ebooks. Amazon is already leading in audiobooks in the home through the Alexa voice client, the Echo speaker, and the Fire TV. As well as operating all of these features through an e-paper remote, or just a downloaded app for your Kindle like Amazon’s existing Alexa/Echo app, you could have Alexa read you the text as it scrolls on your e-paper screen, over Echo or your home speaker system. As it happens, you already can, except that the rest of the remote control is missing – so far.

In short, you could argue that Amazon has already leapfrogged Sony, even if the Huis looks far more elegant than most Kindle models. And more broadly, there’s plenty of speculation around that, to quote The Motley Fool, “Amazon Is Winning the Smart Home Race – and Nobody Is Noticing.” Amazon has now announced a partnership with ecobee to control your thermostat via Echo. In fact, the biggest question mark against an e-paper remote for Amazon’s home automation plans is why the Bezos Behemoth would bother with e-paper at all, when Echo is already doing such a good job via voice. But with all those Kindles around …

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Sony’s 13” Digital Paper business notepad: Not dead yet, apparently—and here’s how you can buy one

SonyDigitalPaperpSNYNA-DPTS1_alternate4_v500Good E-Reader has a piece announcing the imminent demise of the Sony Digital Paper notepad. The problem is, Sony’s current online store for the U.S. knows of no such plans. We talked to the store. The real news is that the e-commerce site is shutting down August 28—not the discontinuation of the reader.

Sony’s future online operations instead will send people to  authorized retailers, a complete list of which is here. Alas, the list isn’t geographically organized. But you’ll presumably see some familiar names and can find out if Sony Digital Paper notepad will be available. What’s more you might be able to order the reader online through eBay outlets.

The fact that the reader was even for sale was news to me, as I hadn’t been aware that Sony had been selling it. We last mentioned it in 2013 when Sony was developing it, but they actually started selling it in May of 2014—and sold out of their distribution channels so fast they had to start selling it directly in August.

It seems to be a specialty device—a $799 13.3” e-ink notepad (originally $1,100 when they started selling it last year), with an attached stylus pen for writing on documents, that seems to see most of its use by businesses. That makes sense; they’d be most interested in being able to see documents displayed at their original size and make notes on them, and would be able to afford to drop a grand on a device that could do it. Certainly it has never been never connected to Sony’s consumer-facing e-book store that  closed down in February, 2014.

The slate is a boutique gadget and sold without customer service support. Apparently Sony’s telephone hotline to order it is quizzing potential buyers on their level of technical expertise and is refusing to sell it to them if they don’t know enough.

(Revised to reflect an update in The Digital Reader.)

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