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Just when I think I’ve found the perfect solution for e-book reading on a phone with the Alcatel One Touch Hero and its detachable E Ink cover display, along comes another prospect to steal its thunder—in the shape of the PocketBook CoverReader for the Samsung Galaxy S4, just announced at IFA in Berlin.

“A thin and light flip cover for smartphone Samsung Galaxy S4 with an integrated E Ink screen,” as the PocketBook official alert states, the new solution is 4.8 inches in size, and apparently integrates with the phone well enough to scroll through “documents, e-mails or web-articles,” as well as receive SMSs and missed call alerts. The exact state of readiness of the final product is unclear: The shots from IFA on display at Slashgear and elsewhere show what looks like a brushed metal surround on the display copy, but PocketBook’s own materials show a far smoother finish.

PocketBook itself has a Russian pedigree and has been producing e-reader devices in a number of form factors since 2007. This is its first venture that I know of into the area of companion accessories, but as the Alcatel One Touch Hero shows, this is a growth field, and it’ll be interesting to see what else they come up with.

Anyway, I’m persuaded of the utility of these solutions. If a phone is going to have a cover anyway, why not make it do something useful? The CoverReader apparently works with its own companion app, and will only drain power from the parent device on screen refreshes. And with the popularity of all Samsung’s super-phones, it’s not likely to go short of potential buyers.

 
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