Chinese eReader company Onyx might not as famous as its US-based counterpart Amazon when it comes to digital reading devices, but it’s certainly trying to innovate the field.
In contrast to tablets and smartphones, eReaders are updated less frequently, so the number of devices in this category is relatively small, while their pricing appears to remain stable over the years. On top of that, new features are slowly added to eReaders which maintain an overall traditional standard.
But Onyx is trying to push beyond them. A spec sheet detailing a so-called Onxy Boox i86 eReader has been uncovered by the users on the MobileRead forum (via Facebook), detailing an 8-inch device with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 and 250 ppi. The overall sharpness of the screen could be comparable to the 6.8-inch screen on the Kobo Aura HD, which a little bit better.
Furthermore, the Onyx Boox i86 draws power from an 1GHz CPU combined with 512MB of RAM and backed-up by 4GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card). It also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, at least one speaker and a headphone jack.
On top of the high resolution, users will find a frontlight and an IR touchscreen with Neonode. Last but not least, the Onyx Boox runs Android 4.0, but since we’re in eReader land, it shouldn't matter all that much.
An interesting feature that shows up on the discussion forums is the fact the eReader will arrive with text-to-speech too.
Now moving on to software, the i86 will probably come with the same reading app, we have seen on Onyx’s other Android-based ebook readers, complete with note-taking and scribbling capabilities.
The upcoming Onyx eReader is said to be compatible with a broad range of formats, including PDF, ePUB, FB2, Doc, CHM, HTML and RTF. There’s an MP3 player function, embedded into the device.
According to the spec sheet, the i86 will have a Pear E-Ink screen, so it won’t abide to the latest Carta screen standard. 8-inch eReaders aren’t all that common, but the Pocketbook Color Lux bundles one. However, the resolution is not nearly as good, bringing to the table only 800 x 600 pixels. That’s because the Lux has a color E-ink screen.
E-Ink is capable of delivering color to the screen, by adding a color filter on top of a black and white E-ink screen. The filter will then change each pixel in either red, green or blue. And because the E-ink screen needs 4 pixels to create a single color, the resolution is decreased with over 70%.
That’s why E-ink color screens don’t usually appeal to everybody; therefore, having Onxy come up with an 8-inch colorless screen with a great resolution might be something a lot of digital readers have been waiting for.