Readius Sports 5-inch Flexible Screen, 3G

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The flexible e-paper technology we’ve read about, dreamed about, and drooled over is finally coming to market in a polished consumer device. Polymer Vision, an offshoot of Philips, announced on Tuesday that its Kindle-like mobile reading device and phone, the Readius, has entered mass production.

The Readius is effectively one part e-reader and one part mobile phone. Its slim rounded rectangular profile somewhat resembles a pager or even an old-school tape-based voice recorder, until an outer door unfurls, revealing a huge 5-inch internal monochrome screen which is actually wrapped around the device like a scroll when closed, but lies flat when open. According to Polymer, the screen’s low power consumption gives it 30 hours of viewing time on one charge.

Besides the enormous screen for reading, the Readius also boasts 3G HSPDA capability, meaning it can cull fresh reading from RSS feeds and also perform other online tasks like checking e-mail. Polymer has developed the Readius Internet portal to allow users configure the various content streams and services the Readius can deliver, and have them periodically “pushed” to the phone. And it is, of course, also a phone, although we’re guessing that having a screen the size of a paperback novel that needs to be unrolled can be a little inconvenient when you want to see who’s calling.

Polymer claims the device will be available mid-year in 2008, although retail prices haven’t yet been announced. The Readius will also be on display in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress in February.

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