The problem with the metaverse has always been the lack of the ‘killer app’, or an app that convinces users, beyond a doubt, to use your hardware. For smartphones, the killer apps were things like maps, the camera. For iPhone, the iMessage service is undoubtedly its killer app. For Nintendo Switch, it was Mario Kart, the Zelda games, and Pokemon. The metaverse currently lacks that killer app or game, but the folks at Sol have a clever idea – instead of trying to make the metaverse immersive, take something immersive and bring it to the metaverse instead. The Sol Reader is perhaps the world’s only VR e-book reader that lets you immerse yourself in literature without worrying about your surroundings. Styled just like your pair of VR glasses, the Sol Reader comes outfitted with two E Ink displays, giving you the feeling like you’re actually reading a book, while keeping your hands free.
What makes it potentially metaverse’s killer app? Well, the Sol Reader focuses on doing one thing and doing it well. Instead of being the iPad Pro of the VR world, it focuses on being the Kindle instead, which still holds the mantle for the most popular e-reader ever… and also remains one of Amazon’s most profitable hardware endeavors.
Designer: Sol Reader
Resembling a sleek pair of VR goggles, this innovative device seamlessly connects to an iOS/Android app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. With Sol Reader, you can stream third-party EPUB files, such as eBooks, from your phone directly to the device. Through its ingenious design, the text is elegantly displayed on dual E Ink screens, with warm LED side-lights which illuminate the screen.
What makes the Sol Reader so impressive is the innovation it ushers in. Most E Ink displays don’t have an incredibly high resolution, which can be quite a nightmare for VR headsets, which require much more crisp HD displays than tablets or phones (the Apple Vision Pro’s displays are 64 times more detailed than the iPhone displays). To make sure you don’t see a bunch of large pixels on the Sol Reader, it has higher definition E Ink displays than your conventional e-reader, along with a state-of-the-art optical system designed to accommodate your eyesight, with precise magnification as well as diopter adjustment. Built-in light sensors also adjust the intensity of your screen to match the outside world, because the Sol Reader doesn’t entirely cut off your vision. Instead, you can still see things in your periphery while you read, so you’re immersed… but not too immersed.
Each VR reader is paired with a wireless handheld remote that allows you to effortlessly scroll through pages and flip to your heart’s content. With a remarkable 25-hour runtime per two-hour battery charge, you can delve into your favorite books for hours on end without interruption, thanks to how little power the E Ink screens consume.
The Sol Reader is now available for pre-order on the Sol website, offering a range of color choices including black, silver, gold, or blue. Its $350 price tag may have most people shying away (given that the Oculus Quest 2 costs just $299), but for people looking for that Kindle-like niche, the Sol Reader may just be the most innovative e-book reading experience out there…