Two new tech developments show that some companies at least are looking at big things in small packages. Regardless of the trend towards ever bigger smartphone displays and convergence on the phablet form factor, Posh Mobile has launched the Micro X S240, which it claims to be “the market’s smallest smartphone device,” with a 2.4″ full touch LCD display. Meanwhile, according to Taiwan’s DigiTimes – that insightful but occasionally inaccurate source on new tech developments out East – E Ink Holdings (EIH) has developed a turnkey solution for ultra-thin (but also ultra-small) 2.9-inch e-paper displays.
The Posh Mobile Micro X S240 resembles the $10 TracPhone covered earlier by Chris Meadows, but goes it one better in the smallness stakes at least. Otherwise, the specs are not dissimilar. Both run Android 4.4 KitKat, which is hardly the latest Android, but quite serviceable. According to Posh Mobile, the “Micro X S240 provides impressive pocket-sized Android performance powered by Mediatek’s MT6572M Dual core 1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.” Experienced Android users won’t be too impressed by what that promises, especially since key e-reading apps like Kindle for Android are currently really pushing the envelope in size and clunkiness. Furthermore, the Micro X S240’s price tag of $89.99 is much more like that of a real – and far more functional – phone than the TracPhone’s ultra-impulse purchase price tag. All the same, a device that claims to be as small and almost as portable as a credit card may have some appeal to some as a backup e-reader.
Meanwhile, the most interesting aspect of the e-paper display story is that the new EIH technology can apparently be powered over NFC, which makes it ideal for secondary screens for smartphones, as well as terminal displays, shelf labels, etc. This is certainly the first time I’ve heard of e-paper displays being powered by NFC, but if this works, the implications for other implementations are obvious – including an e-paper version of the FlipCase covered by David Rothman.
One other interesting aspect of both technologies is that they may already have been leapfrogged by others. I doubt anyone is that excited these days about a small size e-paper display, or a micro-mini phone, but smartwatches now allow an e-reading (or certainly audiobook) solution of sorts on a screen just 1.6″ across. And those are getting as much excitement as you could wish. Still, the GPD WIN I covered earlier is just one more testament to the power of small …