Sony has been selling 13.3 inch tablets with E Ink displays and pen input as part of its “Digital Paper” line for the past few years, and now the company has a new, smaller model.

While previous Sony Digital Paper devices have had 13.3 inch displays, making the about the size of an A4 sheet of paper, the new Sony DPT-CP1 has a 10.3 inch display, making it closer to the size of an A5 piece of paper.

It’ll be available in Japan in June for about $650, making the smaller Digital Paper device a little cheaper than the latest A4-sized model, but a little pricier than its closest rival: the recently-launched Onyx Boox Note, which sells for about $570 in Europe.

If you’re wondering why these things are so expensive when you can pick up a Kindle for less than $80, it’s partially because these digital paper-style devices support pen and finger touch input, allowing you to write notes, annotate documents, and perform other tasks that would normally require a PC or tablet.

But a more important factor is likely economies of scale: there’s not nearly as much demand for 10.3 inch and 13.3 inch E Ink displays as there is for smaller versions of these electronic paper screens. So they cost more to produce in smaller quantities. Likewise, there’s less demand for this type of device than there is for a Kindle, so they’re produced in smaller batches, which helps make them more expensive… and which also probably helps companies like Sony and Onyx justify a premium price tag (I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a higher profit margin on these devices than they do on cheaper, mass-produced eReader-style devices, but I haven’t audited their finances, so I can’t say for certain).

Anyway, if you can afford one, the Sony DPT-C1 has a 1872 x 1404 pixel display (227 pixels per inch) measures 5.9mm (less than a quarter of an inch) thick, and weighs about 8 ounces.

It has 16GB of storage, which Sony says should allow you to save about 10,000 PDF files on the device. And it has a micro USB port for connecting to a PC. It also supports 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC.

The DPT-C1 is powered by a Marvell IAP140 64-bit quad-core processor and has a battery that Sony says should provide up to a month of run time when using the tablet to write for about an hour a day… with WiFi and Bluetooth turned off.

press release via Engadget

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10 replies on “Sony launches 10.3 inch E Ink “Digital Paper” tablet with stylus”

  1. I looked over the previous 13.3″ model from your linked 2014 article. 13oz is pretty amazing. The 10.3″ model at 8oz even moreso. I would seriously consider the 13.3″ model if color e-ink ever became a thing.

    Sadly the dealbreaker (on 13.3″ model which may also apply to the 10.3″ model): “there’s one big caveat: the device only supports viewing and editing PDF files. There’s no support for any other formats and no support for third-party apps.”

  2. I think Sony is greatly overestimating how much people would spend on something like this. It might not have any analogous product that we can compare value to, but I don’t see any task that is “begging” a product like this.

    Any job that has a need/want for something like this already has a better product available. And you won’t convince anyone that the E-ink screen and 1 month battery life is worth throwing away 99% of their functionality.

    Graphic artists have a colour-screen Wacom Cintiq 13HD for $699. It sounds silly to compare the two, as this Sony thing is probably useless for creative work. Also, the Wacom is simply a Pen-enabled Display for a PC, so it isn’t really the same thing, but surely artists won’t be rushing to abandon their Wacom products for something that doesn’t really work for them.

    Anyone who simply needs a pen to digitally handwrite and scribble already has their choice of many Android and Windows 10 options. The Samsung Galaxy tablets with the S-Pen are half the price of this thing, and offer tons of ways to use a pen to create, and more importantly share your work.

    The E-ink screen doesnt really make this a game-changer. Sure a month of battery time is the benefit, but does anyone really have a need to scribble notes that they are willing to buy a one-trick-pony device to do it? There are far too many things going against it here.

    When the NoteSlate was first announced for $99 several years ago, I was sold on the idea as a simple gimmicky toy. At $200-300, I’d sooner buy a Samsung S-pen tablet. At $650, I’d buy a refurbished Microsoft Surface. Sure the products are very different, but that is the problem with Niche products like this, you can’t convince me that note scribbling, and drawing monochrome-only pixel-art is worth $650 just because it has a month battery life.

    1. 1 day battery life is enough for home use, more is good for travelling. The real advantages are the 4:3 ratio and (presumably) matte display. For these two advantages, I pay €400 more without thinking. However, the various disadvantages then greatly reduce the price I and probably many others are willing to spend in the end. Unfortunately, we need to wait several more years before advantages of ebook readers, tablets and productive OS will be combined in one device.

    2. The engineering / building world is crying out for an on site plan reader they can use in sunlight and make notations on plans and other documents. Construction is now almost all digital files and paper plans are almost obsolete. Our office is close to paperless. The current crop of tablets are very limited in their functionality for on site plan reading and file transfer. We are using ms surface Pros but have to find good shade to read anything and one drive for business doesn’t play nicely with other programs. We were looking at importing the 13 inch Sony in for our work but were waiting for the next model upgrade. There is a huge market in the engineering and construction sector just waiting for this type of tablet.

  3. If we can trust the press release images, the front design is nice. For ebook readers, this is a great novelty. I might be interested.

    However, available only in Japan. What is the point of a device that cannot be purchased and might not be (easily) charged in Europe? Micro-USB is outdated; it ought to be USB-C. Why should we buy a device with an outdated port? This is not supposed to be an old DVD drive with an old port.

    I want to know about operating system and its security, possible file formats, display refresh rate, stylus functionality and fluency.

    Maybe the device has potential and is worth its price but as long as many question marks remain and availability is limited to Japan, it remains useless.

    1. just maybe it’s not useless to the 127 million people who live in Japan!

  4. 5.9 millimeters, not inches, thick. Unless that’s with the extended battery back (remember those?)

  5. I love my Kindle for reading novels, and I can imagine that a large-format e-reader would be fantastic for technical books. It’s just hard to imagine paying that much. But dang, if I could convince myself, I might not regret it.

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