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InkCase Plus brings companion e-ink display to your Android phone

A new accessory called InkCase Plus brings an e-ink companion display to your Android phone.
July 15, 2014

Earlier this year at MWC 2014, Yota Devices announced a planned follow-up to its unique Yotaphone, revealing a Snapdragon 800-powered device with an HD display on the front and a battery-sipping e-ink display on the back. If you were impressed by the idea but not so interested in buying a phone from a relatively unknown manufacturer, you might want to turn your attention to the InkCase Plus.

The InkCase Plus essentially brings your existing device a secondary e-ink display of an unspecified resolution. Unlike the Yotaphone, this case either covers your main display or it can be placed side-by-side it by opening the case up like a book. So what exactly does the e-ink display do? Thanks to Bluetooth technology, you can push various things from your phone to your e-ink case easily including e-books, sports tracking apps, notifications, incoming call data and more. It can also be used to control your music and the always-on display is said to actually save you battery life.

The e-ink display might always be on, but it has its own 500 mAh battery built in that allows for 19 hours of reading or as much as 7 days of stand-by time. Best of all, when you’re reading notifications and other data on the e-ink display, you’re main display is off and so you aren’t consuming nearly as much battery power.

Now for the catch: this is currently just a Kickstarter project, though it has actually done rather well so far. The project already has 520 backers and $110,652 funds, blowing past its $100k goal with 29 days left to go. Right now a pledge of at least $89 is all it takes to secure your chance to get the InkCase Plus, with the company estimating an October 2014 shipping date — though that’s always subject to change.

Is this actually worth picking up? Honestly, it depends. While the idea is cool, a lot of its functionality depends on whether app developers actually are interested in using the InkCase Plus SDK to bake in functionality. Unless the project really does exceptionally well during its Kickstarter funding, we’d say it is more likely that only a limited number of apps will actually support the companion screen found within the InkCase Plus. Still, if you have $89 to spare, this is still a pretty looking accessory.