Fujitsu subsidiary Fujitsu Fronttech has introduced the FLEPia (Japanese), which the company is touting as the “first color e-paper mobile terminal”—that’s what most consumers would describe as a color ebook reader. The FLEPia features an 8-inch 1,024 by 768-pixel color e-paper display capable of displaying up to 260,000 colors; the unit also offers 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth wireless networking, SD memory card storage, USB 2.0 connectivity, and rechargeable lithium polymer battery that can offer up to 40 hours of continuous reading time. The FLEPia runs the Japanese version of Windows CE 5.0, and supports ebook formats (Bunko/XMDF and T-Time that are widely used in Japan.
The FLEPia’s color e-paper display has been on the drawing boards for a while, first announced way back in 2007, and Fujitsu has sampled FLEPia displays for commercial use; however, the FLEPia reader marks the first time the technology has been made available to consumers. However, the FLEPia will not come cheap: Fujitsu plans to put it on sale April 20 for ¥99,750, or just over $1,000 USD.
By supporting common Japanese ebook formats, FLEPia owners will be able to purchase content from existing ebook retailers in Japan, and download the content directly to the FLEPia. Users can navigate content via buttons or a touchscreen interface, and since the device runs Windows CE in theory users can surf the Web, play media, handle email, and use mobile versions of Windows applications—although the FLEPia’s slow screen response time (almost two seconds for a complete refresh) makes it more suited to reading than interactive applications.
Fujitsu hopes to sell 50,000 FLEPia units in Japan by the end of 2010.