Check out this E-Ink Android smartphone reference design

Posted by Shane McGlaun

A few days ago, we ran a story about the YotaPhone which is slated to launch later this year. The handset is rather interesting because it is equipped with both a traditional LCD screen and an E-ink display.

The combination of a LCD and E-ink display means users of the device will have the best of both worlds - with one screen providing smooth video and graphics, while the other consumes little power and is ideal for reading.

At Mobile World Congress 2013, an unknown Chinese company was showing off an Android-powered smartphone reference design that used an E-Ink display. This particular reference platform could reportedly be used with an E-ink display alone or in a dual screen device like the YotaPhone.

Like any other E-ink device, there are obviously some caveats the user has to be aware of. Notably, if this reference platform is for an E-Ink screen smartphone only. Plus, the E-Ink tech suffers from slow refresh rates, making it inappropriate for video playback. And finally, they don't support color, so you'll just have to make do with black and white images.

The specifications for the reference design aren't completely clear, but the device does have a ARM Cortex-A5 processor and a battery that promises to last up to four weeks. The operating system and the reference design is Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and it uses an app menu that looks a lot like Windows Phone 8.

The video above is of this reference design, but there is some indication that the device in the video has an touchscreen that isn't properly calibrated. This is said to be the reason why the device doesn't respond when the user touches certain icons.