While e-ink has so far been used as a practical utilitarian alternative to LCDs, Hitachi has revealed that it can have artistic purposes as well with its new W61H cell phones. The new phones use e-ink overlays on their shells to display an array of designs, presenting a way to digitally personalize the phone’s exterior.
According to Newlaunches, the feature will be known as a “silhouette screen,” and will come with 95 patterns, from flowery organic designs to geometric patterns. The screens are apparently not capable of displaying actual information off the phone, such as text messages, so they will remain purely aesthetic for the time being.
Besides the unique e-ink shells, the W61H gets a 2.8-inch 240 x 400 pixel screen, a 1.97 MP camera, and support for microSD cards of up to 2GB. It also has a 1seg tuner for watching digital television and EZ Navi Walk capability for GPS.
Sadly, like most cutting-edge phones, this one will be a Japan-only release. It will be available there in March on the KDDI and Softbank carriers.