InkCase Adds a Yota-Like Second E-Ink Screen to Your Smartphone

By Gerald Lynch on at

Do you like the Yota Phone's secondary e-ink display, but are not keen on the phone itself? No problem -- Singapore-based Oaxis want to put an e-Ink display on the back of every phone, with its InkCase.

Coming with screens in a range of sizes, from 3.5-inches to 4.3-inches depending on the phone it is to be paired with, the InkCase syncs up with your phone over Bluetooth, running for four days per charge.

With it attached, a user can flick through ebooks or photos by throwing them from the phone itself to the case over Bluetooth. It'd save on a phone's battery life during long reading sessions, while being easier on the eye than a back-lit display.

The problem right now however is a lack of content. Oaxis have created four of its own apps for the device (a photo viewer, an eReader, a sports and fitness monitor and a quick-syncing app), but that's it right now. If you want want to beam a webpage for instance to the case, you're out of luck, while its single button means that there's no back page-turn option, breaking the hearts of of Choose Your Own Adventure novel fans. With the release of its own SDK, Oaxis is hoping other app developers will also get onboard but, as ever, it's a chicken and egg situation -- will developers really work on any InkCase-compatible apps before a significant number of the cases have been sold?

Oaxis has already made e-ink cases for the iPhone 5 and 5S, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2. But with the screen making the InkCase quite pricey (there's no UK distributor yet, but you're looking at $149 for the iPhone case in the US), and with people changing their phones every few years, Oaxis recognises it's an investment some won't be willing to make. Which is why it's also offering a modular version, comprising just the screen itself, which could fit inside a shell of any size for any new, unreleased phone at a later date.