updated 11:10 am EDT, Wed March 18, 2009
Fujitsu on Wednesday claimed an achievement by launching the FLEPia. It not only claims the title of the first shipping device with a color e-paper screen, showing 260,000 colors at once on its 768x1024 display, but also supports touch input through a stylus. Users can read e-books and other documents but also browse the web, check e-mail, and edit Office documents thanks to an onscreen keyboard and built-in Wi-Fi.
By using e-paper, the company manages to net 40 hours of active use from a single battery charge by only consuming display power when redrawing the page.
The Japanese creator also provides the FLEPia with Bluetooth that can be used to connect the tablet to the Internet through a cellphone's 3G link. For local storage, Fujitsu depends on an SD card slot and a USB port. It's also possible to use the reader for audiobooks and other sound through both internal speakers and a headphone jack.
Pre-orders start today and price the reader at the equivalent of about $1,018 for the FLEPia's April 20th release date. Fujitsu hasn't indicated whether or not it will export the reader to the US.
The FLEPia theoretically competes against not only major e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle but also color, touchscreen devices used for similar functions, like the iPod touch.