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Blurred lines: Android e-ink mobe claims TWO-WEEK battery life

Onyxphone is great... but don't scroll too fast

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Chinese handset manufacturer Onyx has announced the 3G OnyxPhone E43, a mobile-phone-cum-e-reader, claiming a whopping two weeks on its 1800mAh battery.

The e-ink smartphone has a 4.3-inch display which dramatically improves battery life.

How long it lasts will of course depend on how much you use it; e-ink only uses power when you change the display, not the whole time it is displaying something.

The downside is that scrolling, which necessitates lots of changes, uses quite a bit of power and the screen refresh is so poor it blurs.

So no fast-scrolling through the index to "earth".

This is why devices like the Kindle use a page-turn model, so that they have fewer refreshes of the whole screen. The refresh rate on the Onyxphone is, however, fine for texting and messaging.

Like a Kindle, the screen is front-lit and is crisp paper-white.

To cater for the page-turn model, Onyx has modified Android Gingerbread – although perhaps not enough as it still uses swipes to move from page to page. There is a 1GHz Rockchip processor (it's nice to see someone other that Qualcomm or MediaTek), and 4GB of storage with the option for a MicrosSD card to supplement this. The battery is removable.

There is no access to Google Play and content is curated so that it is suitable for the e-ink display – so nothing fast-moving and certainly no video. Onyx Boox is a Polish company which will be selling the device in Europe and is primarily an ebook publisher which sells Onyx Boox e-readers in the same manner as Amazon sells Kindles - as a distribution mechanism, so its own store is the preferred port of call for content.

The high contrast and ability to scale fonts has made the Kindle very popular with the older generation, but Onyx will need to sort out the response times evident on the engineering prototype on show at CeBit if this is to be the case with their device. They will also need to learn that older users find actions like pinching, tapping, double-tapping and swiping confusing.

The Onyx phone is slated for an April release. It measures 132 x 68.6 x 10mm and has an 800 x 480p display. It is expected to cost around €140. ®

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