Ruggedized Earl E-ink tablet designed for the outdoors

Posted by Shane McGlaun

One of the most appealing features of digital readers and other devices equipped with e-ink displays is that they're very easy to read in bright sunlight.

However, bringing digital readers into the great outdoors subjects a device to potential damage from the harsh elements, such as intense sun or rain. Fortunately, a ruggedized digital reader powered by an e-ink screen recently tipped up online.

Dubbed Earl, this e-reader is loaded with Android and boasts a 6-inch e-ink display that is readable in all lighting conditions. The screen - set at a resolution of 1024 x 768 - supports touch as well as IR touch functionality, facilitating navigation even when a user is wearing gloves.

Additional specs? Integrated GPS capability, a battery promising 20 hours per charge,  a built-in solar panel and a Freescale i.MX 6 DualLight Cortex A9 processor running at 1 GHz.

The device is also fitted with 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of integrated flash storage, an integrated microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC technology, ANT+ capability an integrated AM/FM radio and more.

The e-reader is IP 67 rated, meaning it can survive submersion in 3 feet of water for up to 30 min. It also promises to work in temperatures between zero and 50°C and at altitudes of up to 40,000. 

FCC approval is pending, and the device will cost $259 when it's available with shipping expected to start in August. Apparently, the company behind the project is currently crowd sourcing funding, so you won't actually receive the e-reader until August.