popSLATE case adds e-ink screen to the back of iPhone 5


Sure, the new iPhone 5(s aapl) has a gorgeous Retina display. That doesn’t mean fans of e-ink have to carry a second device though: popSLATE is an iPhone 5 case that has a 4-inch e-ink display on the back, making for a second screen experience on one handheld gadget.

The popSLATE case is a new Indiegogo project that’s looking to raise$150,000 in funding over the next 48 days. I was skeptical about the case until I saw how the designers have implemented it in this video. Having a second screen is one thing, but being able to push information to it directly from the iPhone 5 shows some promise.

Depending on the software implementation, the ideas for using e-ink as a secondary screen are relatively limitless. You could have a custom case design with a picture that you or a friend snapped, for example. And you could easily change that picture at any time. Instead of double-tapping to switch between two apps — say some notes and a map — could be handled by flipping the phone from front to back. I see potential here.

The project team is also planning to release APIs so that app developers can add popSLATE integration in their software. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of the e-reader apps added support? I’m looking at you Amazon (s amzn) and Barnes & Noble (s bks).

popSLATE notificationsUsing that second screen shouldn’t come at the cost of much power from the iPhone itself. The popSLATE uses a pass-through Lightning connector for data and power, so it will use juice from the handset. But e-ink only uses power when the display changes: Once a screen is rendered, it stays that way without using any additional power.

The early bird special to back the project and get a popSLATE is $79, with delivery expected in May 2013. That’s a discount from the planned $119 retail price if the popSLATE is funded.


Renee Auclair

This concept was pioneered by the eNTourage eDGE 7″ Android 2.x tablet, which had a 6″ e-ink screen and a 7″ color screen in a clamshell design. eNTourage went out of business as the device was too heavy.

The e-ink screen was good for what e-ink screens are known for: reading ebooks, visibility in outside light. The eDGe also had a note-taking app for the e-ink screen.

I’d look forward to a Samsung Galaxy Note type device which would be a good compromise between size, battery life, weight, and performance.


The irony of putting something so new and unique on the back of that dinosaur phone.


Perfect if i can read an e book (all be it smaller) then i am set, not only fun but useable.


i like it very cool, if i could download my e book to it, perfect i am set.


You’re right, I’m just tired of those small sized e-ink offers.

But ok, a case? Isn’t a case supposed to protect? And now both sides have screens. Do I need another protection case for the e-ink case?

Anyway, as a cute idea – fine. But to me whole thing looks ridiculous. Just personal opinion, this is comment section right :)

Michael W. Perry

What a marvelous idea, particularly if it allows paging through and reading ebooks in bright sunlight, and particularly if it turns off the LCD screen to save battery power. You could read for days. It might also work well for correctly pointing the back iPhone camera at yourself even in the sun.

I’d order one but, alas, on my budget, an aging 3GS is all I can afford right now.


same size screen? i wouldn’t buy this. Actually I’d rather pay more for 7″+ version of e-ink kindle or nook.

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