E-ink/e-reader dual/alternative screen (from modules wishlist)

yes, so much this! I would pre-order instantly if it had that. Wouldn’t matter whether it had high-res, color or backlight or whether it would be 100€ more expensive.

there are better options for viewing pictures and watching videos, even mobile options (AR glasses). and for everything else I prefer e-ink.

suggestion @fairphone if it’s too much for you to do it yourself right now: please ask the producers of e-readers (maybe not Amazon, but Ikarus or pocket book are two European ones that come to my mind) whether they’d like to produce the display for you. I would much prefer a fair phone with a non-fair 3rd-party e-ink display over a non-fair project ara e-ink phone.

So, I hope that in November, when FP2 releases, an e-ink module will at least have been anounced.


I like your suggestion, but if you want to make sure they really hear it you should contact them directly

An E-Reader display might be even more attractive as you could just exchange it easily if you know you go on a longer trip by train or such. That way you wouldn’t need to have an external e-reader device. – Which again might be a problem as e-reader manufacturers probably aren’t interested in a deal that decrease their own profits:

Anyway, I like the idea a lot.

[EDIT: I just thought about it a little more. It’s not that easy to simply exchange the screen with a reflective (e-ink) one. There needs to be software that recalculates the OS’s GUI in order to be able to use it. Hardware needs are probably also different. Sounds quite complicated to me :smiley: ]

[(sorry for another) EDIT: Here’s an already existing concept for a smartphone with an e-ink screen as a second display: The YotaPhone: An Android smartphone with an e-ink second display - Video - CNET]


Are we talking about a replacement to the actual screen or a replaceable backcover with an e-ink display? While it is unrealistic that the actual LCD screen can be replaced (which would be super cool and an easy-to-handle thing for the owner because of FP2’s intelligent screen design), a back cover is feasible I think. You’d just need an app, which is optimized for e-ink displays and channels its output to the e-ink back cover. FP2’s back cover connector should perfectly be able to be extended in such away, at least it sounds like it, from what Fairphone says.


I would take an e-ink backcover as well, but I was talking about e-paper on the front screen as it can be easily replaced.

@huskers: I do not worry much about the need for GUI modifications. Reading ebooks and browsing the web and even calling / texting will be possible, and that’s enough. E-paper is a niche market, and I am happy if I can get it on a FP at all, it does not need to be perfect. Yota phone is interesting (and not a concept anymore, you can buy YP2 today), but the company does not support rooting / free software or fair trade.

@paulakreuzer: okeydokey, wrote to them.


Sure the reflective screen wouldn’t need to be perfect. My concern was that the screen wouldn’t be able to display anything without proper adjustments. Do you know more about that?

I used my e-reader for surfing the web and never had problems reading anything. As long as the GUI is designed with color-blind people in mind I expect it to be useable and easy to connect, the same way that you can plug a beamer or external monitor into your laptop without installing drivers. You just need to have the right connector.

I do not know whether that would be difficult to achieve or not, Fairphone giving the specs to a 3rd party and the third party connecting to what is already there, I am not a hardware person. I assume that there are some kind of standards in place for chips to talk to the display (Yotaphone 2 has the similar snapdragon 800).

My guess would be that more work is needed to make the screen fit into the phone physically as 5 inches and 16:9 both are not standard on e-readers, and the volume could be so small that the prices are not good enough for a custom screen.


It’s not only a concept… http://yotaphone.com/gb-en/


I also have an e-reader and, from what I know, the advantage of an e-ink-display is (almost?) no energy consumption, if the screen does not change.

On the other hand, Android ,as we run it on the Fairphone, clearly is not designed for e-ink-displays, it lives from animations and dynamic notifications. So Android (Fairphone OS) would sabotage the e-ink’s efforts of energy saving and possibly even result in higher energy consumption due to constant refreshing of the screen.

Imagine you have two screens: one LCD screen, and one e-ink-screen, both are slide-and-remove, like with FP2. I think the phone would have to detect the screen you are using and choose the corresponding OS, Android (Fairphone OS) for the LCD screen, and an adapted e-ink-Android/any-other-OS-(Kindle?/what-else-is-out-there?) for the e-ink-display. Only then an e-ink-front-screen would make sense, IMO.


Yotaphone have implemented the dual screen pretty well… I LOVE that solution, since I read a lot on the phone’s screen and for this pourpose the e-ink screen could be awesome for the battery time

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I disagree slightly. Even a replacement would make sense, if (but only if) I would stick to some apps, like maps (OSM), text reading / web browsing and, of course, phone calls. Sure, you can’t expect to use apps with a lot of animations, but give us a tap-to-pagescroll in Firefox and we would surely be fine with a e-ink display.

One of the early e-book readers a friend of mine owns had a slideshow implemented. It changed pics every other minute. And lasted for months, if otherwise unused. I distinctly remember seeing it on her shelf as a geyish picture frame. We won’t get this from a phone, as it has WiFi, data connectivity, whatever. But reducing the backlighting/LCD power consumption by a e-ink display could be worth a try. Any engineer around?


Through Stack Exchange I found OpenInkpot, an open source OS for e-ink-devices. Unfortuntely it is inactive ATM.

@humorkritik I could only imagine OSMand~ on an e-ink-device with directions-only, but no actual map. Arrows and maybe voice output would suffice. But then again, actually an e-ink-device is only useful for reading. If you want navigation, use the LCD-screen (or turn it off and listen to the directions)! :wink:

Edit: Found this now: Moto Dev Group (Acquiesced by Cisco Systems afterwards) wrote Android drivers to show Android working on an e-ink-display, back in 2009. Disclaimer: I could not watch the video on my FP because it is Flash, so I cannot guarantee for anything! :wink:

Why? If e-ink displays can display pictures for months why shouldn’t you be able to use it to display a map? I’m not talking about turn by turn navigation, just an old-school map. Maybe it could even update the position from time to time.

There are also e-readers (kindle competitors) that are basically Android tablets with eink screens. One example is Onyx and another one is Nook.

There certainly are issues with animations but there should be ways to work around this. Probably people working on Nook for Android and developers of Onyx have tackled those problems already. (which still means those solutions would need to be ported to a Fairphone with eink).

Personally I also like the idea of the Yotaphone with its two screens a lot.

[I’ve just seen that [Onyx also offers an eink smartphone]3.]


Unfortuantely, Nook and Onyx both use outdated Android versions. Afaik, there is no eink device that supports recent versions of Android.

I once tried a rooted nook and used it for office purposes. Writing texts works very well, if you do not need to scroll too often.

I only wanted to say, how much I would love this idea.


I like the YOTAPHONE solution too.
Use the e-ink to display all these widgets your like to place on lockscreen (Clock, Notifications…)
With a NFC chip it would be perfect for e-tickets (airplane, public transportation).

More useless but maybe funny, personalize the backcover. :slight_smile:

… and about the e-link. I didn’t know that!! That’s just magic!!! Oo
The FP2 would be able to do that???

It’s only a theoretical possibility! Maybe our expansion port guru @dvl can evaluate the feasibility and the chances of an e-ink module/back cover, which displays the time?

E-ink is not cheap, so if less than ~200 people want one it will probably be too expensive to make any sense