Readius mobile phone pioneers e-paper

Some healthy competition to the iPhone?

Fans of convergence technology will be pleased to hear that Polymer Vision's much heralded Readius e-reader and mobile phone device has finally gone into production two years after a prototype was first unveiled at IFA 2005.

The big USP of the Readius is that it employs a unique 5-inch (13cm) 'electronic paper' screen that can be physically folded or rolled up, enabling the device to be compacted into something no bigger than a mobile phone.

E-paper mobile phone

In addition to being an ultra portable e-Book reader, the Readius also doubles up as a 3G tri-band mobile phone with full HSDPA and Bluetooth connectivity. It's capable of reading RSS feeds, browsing mobile internet sites, and can also send and receive POP3 and IMAP email. As if that wasn't enough, it'll even play MP3s.

Powered by an ARM 400MHz chipset the internal battery of the Readius is good for up to 30 hours of reading use, while memory can be extended up to 8GB via MicroSD card. Although the display is presently limited to 16 greyscales, Polymer Vision hopes to bring out a full colour version within five years.

The Readius is a product of Dutch electronics firm Polymer Vision, which is part-owned by Philips Electronics. The first units will go on sale in Italy in the summer, with the device expected to reach the UK later in the year.