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Dual-display e-reader offers Android telephony

Mar 8, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

1Crosstech demonstrated a dual-display Android MID and e-reader device at last week's CeBit show, says The MIDHybrid offers a 6-inch E Ink monochrome display on one side and a 3.2-inch HVGA display on the other, and provides 3G telephony, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a VGA webcam, according to the story.

The MIDHybrid appears to be the first major product debut from 1Crosstech, which offers some photos and rudimentary information about the device on its website. Much more information may be found in a fairly lengthy video posted on YouTube, shown farther below, in which the irrepressible gadget hunter "Charbax" interviews a 1Crosstech rep at CeBIT.

1Crosstech MIDHybrid

(Click to enlarge)

According to the video, the device runs on an undisclosed Marvell Semiconductor processor. Among other possibilities, this could be Marvell PXA303 processor, which is used in Camangi's Android-based WebStation tablet computer, or more likely one of the new ARM-based Armada processors, which support Android.

In November, Marvell announced an Armada 166E model that includes an integrated electrophorescent (EPD) controller based on E Ink technology. The Armada 166E, which is clocked to 800MHz, is used in two recently introduced dual-display Android e-readers: the Spring Design Alex, as well as Entourage Systems' Entourage Edge, which has a similar design to the MIDHybrid.

Different configurations of 360-degree flexible MIDHybrid

(Click to enlarge)

Like the Entourage Edge, the MIDHybrid offers dual displays that open up like facing pages of a book, with the E Ink Vizplex monochrome display on the left, and the color Android screen on the right. Like the Edge, the 6.02 x 4.72 x 0.67-inch (153 x 120 x 17mm) 1Crosstech design folds 360 degrees, enabling a variety of handling modes (see images above).

The Edge offers larger, dual 10.1-inch displays, while the MIDHybrid combines a six-inch, 800 x 600 E Ink display with a seven-inch LCD on the right. According to the video, only the top portion of the resistive touch LCD is devoted to a color Android display. The active area is said to measure 3.2 inches on the diagonal and offers 480 x 320 HVGA resolution. The rest of the LCD is devoted to a dedicated touchscreen QWERTY keyboard.

According to the video, a version with a slightly larger 3.5-inch color display will also become available. Running Android 1.6 ("Donut"), the device enables users to "drag" contents from the color display onto the monochrome display, says 1Crosstech. API extensions for E Ink are said to support such integration, although it was unclear how much interaction between the displays is possible with the extensions.

The MIDHybrid ships with a 32GB SD card, and is further equipped with 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, and a replaceable SIM slot that ships with a 3G TD-SCDMA cartridge, enabling voice telephony, says the video. A G-sensor is said to be available, but the Android display and onscreen keyboard are not currently set up to flip sideways. The device ships with a VGA webcam that is said to be available in versions ranging up to three megapixels, says the video.

Additional features are said to include a microUSB port with Host support, a microphone, earphone socket, speakers, and optional GPS. The 2,000MAh battery is claimed to support two to three weeks of e-reader use or a six-hour phone call.

YouTube video of 1Crosstech's MIDHybrid demo at CeBIT
(Click to play)


1Crosstech does not yet offer pricing or availability for the MIDHybrid, which appears to be aimed at the OEM/ODM market. However, in the video, an apparent company representative mentions that consumer pricing could be as low as 400 Euros (about $546 U.S.)

More information may be found at 1Crosstech, here, as well as, here.

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