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Sony Paper is the $1100 E-Ink Slate of Your Dreams

by Sean P. Aune | March 29, 2014March 29, 2014 8:00 am PDT

Sony Paper - Product - Image

Sony has launched a new e-ink slate that could go a long way in truly replacing paper, but it most certainly comes at a price.

Pundits have been promising us a paperless society for as long as I can remember, but if you look around any modern office, you will still see stacks of it everywhere. Sony is looking to help finally end the scourge of tress everywhere with its new 13.3-inch eink slate, the paper.

No thicker than 30 sheets of real paper, the Paper sports a 13.3-inch screen at a resolution of 1200×1600 and 16 levels of grayscale. It comes with 4GB of onboard memory which is enough memory for 2,800 PDFs at 1MB each. It also features a microSD slot if you really need to carry even more documents around with you.  For when you need to add annotations to documents, or even just want to take notes on the fly, you can do so via the stylus or the onscreen keyboard, and then all of those documents can be work on in a collaborative fashion via the synching feature over Wi-Fi.

“This is a true replacement for the vast amounts of paper that continue to clutter many offices and institutions,” said Bob Nell, director, Digital Paper Solutions of Sony Electronics. “It is very easy to use and optimized for reading and annotating contracts, white papers, scholarly articles and legislation. The ‘notepad’ feature will have universal appeal, and notes can be shared with clients, colleagues, and co-workers. Digital Paper offers a simple, intuitive experience and gives professionals portability and flexibility coupled with the ability to wirelessly access document management solutions and other content repositories.”

While $1,100 puts the Paper well out of the reach of most average consumers, we can see where this would be useful in law offices, academic settings, hospitals and more. You more than likely won’t find this device at your local Best Buy, we can definitely see it showing up in some offices.

Sony Blazes Paperless Trail With Innovative New Digital Paper

Professionals overwhelmed with paper now have a new way to read, annotate, and share documents electronically using Sony’s Digital Paper. Designed to increase productivity and streamline collaboration in paper-intensive environments, Digital Paper will appeal to a range of user communities including legal, higher education, governmental agencies and corporate board rooms across the United States.

“This is a true replacement for the vast amounts of paper that continue to clutter many offices and institutions,” said Bob Nell, director, Digital Paper Solutions of Sony Electronics. “It is very easy to use and optimized for reading and annotating contracts, white papers, scholarly articles and legislation. The ‘notepad’ feature will have universal appeal, and notes can be shared with clients, colleagues, and co-workers. Digital Paper offers a simple, intuitive experience and gives professionals portability and flexibility coupled with the ability to wirelessly access document management solutions and other content repositories.”

Sony’s Digital Paper has a 13.3 inch display that shows full-screen views of letter-sized documents in the PDF format, eliminating the need to zoom or scroll when reading a page. The Digital Paper device retains the context of an entire page by displaying sharp, easy-to-read text and graphics that are nearly identical to printed documents or full-size notepads. The device’s touch panel enables users to operate the menu or turn pages by simply touching the screen. Using the included stylus, professionals can write fluidly and directly on the panel, and also easily highlight and erase text, for a familiar and comfortable writing experience.

Digital Paper will help organizations reduce or eliminate the time-consuming and costly process of printing, copying, sharing, transporting and discarding corporate documentation, teaching materials, and reports.

According to published research from InfoTrends, as recently as 2011, local, state and federal offices used a yearly volume of 122 billion sheets of paper, an amount equal to roughly 400 sheets for every person in the United States.

With Digital Paper, documentation for meetings, classes or lectures created on a computer can be uploaded to a server, and then distributed over a wireless network to the Digital Paper devices of colleagues or students in multiple locations, saving time and making meetings and classwork more efficient. Users can access their server and easily search for documentation, and upload handwritten memos to individual folders on the server.

Introduction to the Legal Market

Sony is showcasing Digital Paper at this week’s American Bar Association Tech Show in Chicago along with Worldox, which serves more than 5,500 law firms, financial institutions, and other enterprises. Worldox is integrating Digital Paper with its award-winning Document Management Solution (DMS), so legal and other professionals can easily and securely access documents, upload handwritten notes and annotated documents, and share with other individuals or groups.

“Sony has created a superlative tool for attorneys,” said Ray Zwiefelhofer, President of World Software Corporation. “It’s incredibly thin and lightweight, super comfortable for taking handwritten notes and the viewing of documents comes real close to the paper counterpart. Digital Paper has the potential to replace attorneys’ notepads, binders and boxes of files by allowing them to save meeting notes directly into the client matter folder in Worldox. This will enable attorneys and other legal professionals to efficiently organize and reference materials for court hearings, testimonies, client and board meetings – in or out of the office.”

Sony is also developing additional markets for Digital Paper in collaboration with leading companies serving several key markets, which will be announced in the coming months.

In addition to PDF source files, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files can be converted to the PDF format and saved, viewed and annotated on the Digital Paper device. For speedy retrieval and transfer, Sony’s Digital Paper incorporates wireless access to servers (via Wi-Fi) as well as USB connectivity.

Key features and functions that make Sony’s Digital Paper relevant to the day-to-day activities of professionals include:

  • World’s thinnest, lightest body among devices with comparable screen sizes (approximately 9/32″ and 12.6 oz.); slightly thicker than 30 sheets of paper
  • 13.3 inch (screen size measured diagonally) electronic paper display
  • High contrast display (1200 x 1600 dots), 16-level grayscale, incorporating “E Ink Mobius” technology from E Ink Corporation
  • No backlight enables text to be read clearly, even in bright sunlight
  • Built-in Wi-Fi functionality allows file sharing over a wireless network
  • Rechargeable thin lithium-ion battery – up to 3 weeks use on a single charge
  • AC adapter or USB rechargeable (computer-based charging)
  • Storage – approximately 2,800 PDF files; internal memory of 4 GB coupled with micro SD card slot for additional storage
  • Touch panel (IR touch) compatible with electromagnetic induction-type touch pen input
  • Dimensions – Approximately 9 1/4″ width by 12 1/4″ height by 9/32″ depth (thickness)
  • Weight – Approximately 12.6 ounces

Digital Paper is planned to be available in May, initially through a select group of Worldox agents, with a suggested list price of $1,100.


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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...


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