Fujitsu FLEPia is the world's first color e-ink ebook reader, but it is horribly overpriced and currently available only in Japan. The FLEPia was announced back in April 2007, and didn't hit the market until April 2009 in Japan, at the exorbitant price of 99,750 Yen (about $1,010)!
The FLEPia has an 8-inch XGA color electronic paper (color e-paper) screen capable of displaying 260,000 colors. It has a much longer charge than LCD devices, 40 hours of continuous use, but far less than the current crop of black-and-white eReaders. It actually uses a proprietary technology developed by Fujitsu, similar, but not identical to e-ink, but it also draws no power to keep a static image, only using charge when changing the image.
Unfortunately, despite the price, the FLEPia takes about twice as long as the current average black-and white eReader to turn a page--some 1.8 seconds--long enough that we'd notice and get annoyed. And this is only for low resolution with 64 colors, for more detailed pictures, it would take 5 second to do two redraws for up to 4,096 colors, and for full resolution of 260,000 colors it takes 8 seconds for three scans.
The device has a solid feel to it and has six function buttons on the bottom and a directional pad. It is operated by a touchscreen with finger or stylus. Unlike most eReaders, which tend to run on Linux operating systems, the FLEPia uses Microsoft Windows CE5.0. You can use an internet browser, get email, etc., though again, the device is hobbled by the slow screen refresh rates, and it will only display static content, not videos.
Fujitsu Frontech and Fujitsu Laboratories co-developed proprietary color e-paper, though it has been years coming to market. In addition to the 8-inch version, a much larger 12-inch version has been announced but is not yet available for sale. The device is marketed as the world's first "mobile information terminal." Given the extreme price, sales Fujitsu's sales targets are modest, only 50,000 units by the end of 2010. We think there is great promise in color for eReader several years out when prices decline, but we'd never plonk down this much money for the first prototype.
Connecting: The FLEPia has Bluetooth and WiFi and allows subscription to various Japanese mobile carrier internet plans. The FLEPia can also use a USB 2.0 cord for both connecting to a computer and charging.
By using Fujitsu Frontech’s dedicated website, FLEPia users can purchase e-books from the largest e-book online retailer in Japan and download the e-books directly into FLEPia, including color ebooks which take advantage of the FLEPia's unique properties.
Accessories: Fujitsu includes an AC power adapter, USB cable, stand, and wrist strap with the FLEPia. You can purchase a book cover (in white or black) for 5,800 Yen and a storage case for 5,800 Yen.
Price: The Fujitsu FLEPia costs a whopping 99,750 Yen (about $1,010). It is available only in Japan, and the menus and operating system only display Japanese.