Improv Electronics has been offering digital writing tablets called Boogie Boards since last year that allow you to jot notes on a black screen using a stylus. The company’s tablets come in several sizes and sell for prices as low as $40. The only catch is that up until now you could write notes on a Boogie Board bu you couldn’t save notes.
In other words, a Boogie Board is more of a digital bulletin board for writing grocery lists or notes to your roommate than a tablet for taking notes in class or drawing doodles to upload to Flickr.
This week the company has launched a new Boogie Board that lets users save notes. The Boogie Board Rip LCD Writing Tablet saves images as PDF files and you can transfer them to a computer by connecting a USB cable to the micro USB port on the tablet.
The tablet gets its “Rip” name from Record, Image, and Preserve. The idea is that the tablet can replace a notepad, loose paper, sketch pad, or dry erase board.
The Boogie Board Rip has a 9.5 inch writing surface, a plastic case, and an integrated stylus holder. The display only uses power when you’re erasing the contents of the screen, so the tablet should get about a week of battery life.
It’s not clear yet how much the new tablet will cost or when it will be available, but it looks like Boogie Board will beat the ambitious NoteSlate writing tablet to market.
Update: Engadget got a chance to check out a prototype of the new Boogie Board in person and reports that it will be available around November for about $100. Not surprisingly it’s got a cheap plastic feel to it… because it’s made of cheap plastic. But it appears to work exactly as promised.
I’m definitely interested in how much this will cost. The old Boogie Boards didn’t need much in the way of electronics, since all the magic happened in the LCD–applying pressure physically changed the orientation of the liquid crystals, so no active electronics needed to sense pressure and signal the pixels to change. It only needed a basic CPU to send a controlled voltage pulse to realign all the liquid crystals in order to erase, something even a lowly 8051 ought to be able to handle.
But now its going to need a lot more.
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