jetBook K12 Colour E-Ink Reader

A couple of weeks back Ectaco announced their new 9.7 inch E-Ink eReader (WiFi and Touch Screen), nothing special in that, but the big news about this is that it will be the first colour E-Ink device to be available for purchase!

The jetBook Color EDU.12 has been in development since earlier this year in Russia and will be made available in the States during Q4 2011. The new eReader is actually being pushed as a K-12 device, or as Ectaco put it, “Educational eTextbook tablet with Test System, Home Assignments, Remote Tutoring and eBook studies”.

Anyone outside of the education system us unlikely to get their hands on one, or want to for that matter, as the it seems to be tied heavily to the “Teacher’s Console” and purchasing looks to be only possible via the Ectaco website; so you’ll probably need appropriate credentials.

There’s plenty more details on the jetBook K-12 website but I’ll list some of the main features here;

  • Color e-Ink 9.68″ PVI EPD touch screen (1600×1200) using Electromagnetic Resonance Technology.
  • 32GB of memory.
  • Rechargeable 2350mAh Lithium-Polymer battery lasting for 10,000 page turns.
  • Plug-in GPS module that allows parents to locate their child or the unit itself with a few clicks.
  • Text-to-speech module for pronunciation of books
  • Script character recognition in combination with an EMT panel allows students to write on the screen.
  • Teachers can restrict the download of any programs or content that is not related to the class.
  • Screen serves as an ID card for the student displaying a schedule of classes (updated daily via Wi-Fi or 3G).
  • Send students grades, exams, homework, and messages.
  • Fully interactive SAT course that will train, test, and raise students’ SAT scores.
  • Features the content of a 50-state reading list
  • A Speed Reading course
  • Talking Oxford Dictionaries narrated by professional linguists
  • Foreign language courses that teach any of the 52 available languages and provide great support to ESL students.

Pictures of the EDU.12 are hard to come by at the moment but from what we can see the device will suffer from one known limitation of E-Ink, which is that the colours aren’t generally very vibrant (suffering from low contrast and “pastel” colours) compared to the screens found on the current crop of tablets.

Still, every new advancement in screen technology brings us closer to the perfect screen – great clarity, very low powered, full colour, fast refresh, usable in bright sunlight, etc. – so hopefully this will be a success and provide the R&D teams with more funding to continue development.

I could only find a couple of visuals for this new eReader; an image from Liliputing and a video (in Russian) on YouTube, which shows the device for a total of about 5 seconds (jump to 2:05 and then again just after the 3 minute mark).

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