Electronics

Sony sketches out an upgraded Digital Paper tablet

Sony has unveiled an upgraded version of its office-focused Digital Paper tablet
Sony has unveiled an upgraded version of its office-focused Digital Paper tablet
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The new Sony Digital Paper tablet can connect to Windows and Mac devices to share PDF files, via USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
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The new Sony Digital Paper tablet can connect to Windows and Mac devices to share PDF files, via USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
The new Sony Digital Paper tablet also adds NFC functionality, allowing the device to be unlocked with a user's smartphone or compatible card
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The new Sony Digital Paper tablet also adds NFC functionality, allowing the device to be unlocked with a user's smartphone or compatible card
Sony says its new Digital Paper tablet can store 10,000 PDF files
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Sony says its new Digital Paper tablet can store 10,000 PDF files
Sony has unveiled an upgraded version of its office-focused Digital Paper tablet
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Sony has unveiled an upgraded version of its office-focused Digital Paper tablet
The new Sony Digital Paper has an e-ink screen, meaning it's easy on the eyes for extended reading sessions, and won't reflect sunlight
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The new Sony Digital Paper has an e-ink screen, meaning it's easy on the eyes for extended reading sessions, and won't reflect sunlight
The new Sony Digital Paper tablet has a proprietary layer over the screen, which adds tiny grooves to make writing with the stylus feel more natural
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The new Sony Digital Paper tablet has a proprietary layer over the screen, which adds tiny grooves to make writing with the stylus feel more natural

Digital technology is increasingly taking the paper out of paperwork, but there's always something nice about handwriting notes. A few years ago, Sony tried to bridge the gap with its business-focused e-paper tablet, and now the company has updated the device with higher resolution, bigger memory, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity, a new pen-friendly screen and a few bonus workflow features.

The Digital Paper tablet (also going by the clunky title of DPT-RP1) has a lot in common with its predecessor. Both are built with e-ink screens, which makes them easy on the eyes after hours of poring over documents, and they won't glare up in direct sunlight. Physically it's slightly smaller than the earlier model, measuring 224 x 302.6 x 5.9 mm (8.8 x 11.9 x 0.2 in) and weighing less than 350 g (1 oz).

Although it still sports the same size screen, Sony has crammed more pixels into those 13.3 inches, upping the resolution to 1,650 x 2,200, which should allow smaller text to be more readable, as a result of improving both clarity and contrast.

Held horizontally, the Digital Paper can display two pages side-by-side, and includes seven preset backgrounds depending on how you format your note-taking, including a spreadsheet grid, college-ruled, or a daily planner. Users can also mark important sections for future reference by marking an area with a star or asterisk, and find them later with the document file search function.

The new Sony Digital Paper has an e-ink screen, meaning it's easy on the eyes for extended reading sessions, and won't reflect sunlight
The new Sony Digital Paper has an e-ink screen, meaning it's easy on the eyes for extended reading sessions, and won't reflect sunlight

The included stylus uses two buttons to switch between writing, erasing and highlighting text. Normally, using that kind of pen to write or draw on a touchscreen just doesn't feel quite right, but Sony has tried to mimic the feel of writing on paper by roughing up the surface a little. A proprietary panel full of tiny grooves has been fitted over the screen, to add the missing factor of friction and keep the stylus from slipping.

The Digital Paper's internal memory has received a sizable upgrade as well, up to 16 GB from the original model's 4 GB. That's big enough to store an office full of paperwork in PDF format, with Sony boasting it can hold up to 10,000 files. Those files can be shared to Windows and Mac devices through a USB cable, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and it can reportedly be easily integrated into a network of file servers and cloud storage.

NFC functionality is another new addition, allowing users to unlock the tablet by hovering their smartphone or other NFC card over the device.

There are no details on pricing yet, but it will probably be in the ballpark of its predecessor's price, which currently hovers around US$1,000. Sony's DPT-RP Digital Paper tablet is due for release on June 5, although so far it's only been confirmed for Japan.

Source: Sony

11 comments
zr2s10
This is ridiculously overpriced, if it's anywhere close to the previous model. They can't possibly sell many of these. You could buy a full featured tablet for that money, with way more functionality. I'm sure the paperwhite display is nice, but I'd rather buy a Surface Pro and put an anti-glare screen protector on it. There's no way this thing should sell for over $500, and that's generous.
Ricky Livingston
As a college student, I love the idea, but with most of my books going to digital formats I hate looking at a screen to read so I want to go to an e-ink reader like this. But at $1000? Is the dollar that weak right now? I guess Im stuck using prinout of the pdf until the price of ink leaves me bankrupt. RL
ClarkCoulam
This was literally my senior project back in 2008, we built the whole thing for around $200. Technology has improved since then but not $800 improved.
chase
I've yet to see a single person using a writing tablet since they were put on the consumer market. Never... not once. Not even one in hand, or even being put away. Yet every 6 months they come out with new designs and features. Who is buying these things? This is like a modern day mystery to me. I see maybe one or two on display in the stores gathering dust. Seriously, who on this planet is buying all these "writing tablets". I think it's just one person buying them all and stashing them in cave or maybe putting them in the trunks of junk cars about to get crushed and That is why I've yet to see a single person actually using one... other than the ads of course. I bet that's what going on with these things... or something similar.
zr2s10
chase, by writing tablet, do you mean paperwhite devices like this Sony one? If you're referring to full tablets with active stylus, I actually use one every day. One of the earlier ones, a Note 10.1, now 4 yrs old. I don't know many others that do, but I use it for all of my work notes, sketches, etc. Far and above a standard tablet. I may go Surface Pro (or clone) next, as this one's a "little long in the tooth"
Robert in Vancouver
This tablet would be useful for keeping notes and sketches for the mechanical system design work I do, but US$1000 (CDN$1340) is way too costly. Too bad for me, and Sony.
Ralf Biernacki
The first thing that comes to my mind here is the price-demand curve, a really elementary lesson in basic economics. For a non-essential, and therefore highly elastic product like this, driving the price through the roof like Sony does here will minimize revenue; so few units will be sold, that it is possible that even R&D costs will be barely recouped. On the other hand, if they priced the unit realistically and competitively, they would have a fair shot of pulling the market out from under the technically inferior Kindle. But who am I to teach Sony basic economics?
Martin Winlow
For all those commentators here who 'don't get it', you *did* notice the *weight* of this device, didn't you? * ONE OUNCE *! Nothing else even comes vaguely close with the same size and clarity of screen. Oh, and it lasts, oh, only about *1000 times* longer to a charge than anything else, too. Sure it's niche - most people want to use their tablets for mutimedia and that just wouldn't work on this thing. But for what it is good for there is simply nothing anywhere near as good. The good news is that this new device should make the price of the old version a lot less than the $600 or so they are currently selling for.
TySmith
Fail #1 Too expensive. $500 Max Fail #2 PDF ONLY! No EPub??? What were they thinking? Sony fix Fail #1 and #2 and you have at least one customer.
smileman
Yes, this device is somewhat expensive, but for people who read/annotate a lot of PDFs like academics the price is reasonable because the device is a godsend! The fact that Sony is the only major manufacturer making this type of device means that of course the price is going to be higher. Also, I'd rather have Sony make the best device it can than try to price this for mass adoption right now. This is a new category of device and its more important to get the form/function right than price it right. Many of us who use Sony's Digital Paper are incredibly grateful that Sony is continuing to advance this product line. The DPT-RP1 what looks like an absolutely fantastically specd upgrade to the original DPT-S1, which still works pretty well. Bravo Sony!