Dual-screen E Ink reader doubles as a laptop for double productivity

Just like smartphones, laptops are undergoing a bit of change and experimentation with foldable, dual-screen, or even transparent laptops coming out of the woodwork. It’s only a matter of time before that trend makes its way to other devices, though there are signs of that happening in the e-book reader industry already. E-readers, as they are called, are breaking out of their shell, and some are even Android tablets that just happen to use e-paper displays. Compared to this unexpected design, however, those Android-powered E Ink readers sound almost unambitious, because this particular device actually puts together two E Ink displays to offer an almost literal book reader, a notebook, and a laptop all rolled into one.

Designer: LCFC (Hefei) (a Lenovo subsidiary)

Dual-screen laptops might not be new to our ears after the aborted Microsoft Surface Duo, the ASUS ZenBook Duo, and the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i. The idea behind this design is to bring the same dual-screen experience some users enjoy on desktops to the laptop without completely losing the advantage of portability. That use case might make perfect sense for a laptop that runs a conventional operating system with plenty of applications, but it isn’t as straightforward for e-book readers, even the ones running Android.

And yet, that’s exactly what the Gemini “Dual Screens Wisdom E-Ink Book” is trying to do, albeit with a slightly different focus. It connects two 7.8-inch E Inks screens using a 360-degree hinge that lets you fold it close like a book or fold it in the opposite direction completely to transform it into a tablet. In addition to reading, the device is designed to make it more natural to write down notes, possibly on what you’re reading. Note-taking is so central to the Gemini’s purpose that other features are framed in that perspective.

You can, for example, fold it half upright like a laptop for typing out notes. Of course, you’ll have to make do with an on-screen keyboard, but typing on an E Ink screen is notoriously awkward, uncomfortable, and inefficient, far worse than typing on a regular LCD or OLED display. You could potentially connect a Bluetooth keyboard, though that does lose the charm of being able to use this as a laptop. The Gemini also has a stylus you can write with, but the more interesting aspect of the pen is the detachable microphone module that you can use to record voice notes or even lectures.

The design of the Gemini is actually a bit peculiar thanks to an extended edge that’s thicker than the rest of the device. Not only is this where most of the electronics are housed, but it also seems to have controls like a dial and buttons, almost reminiscent of those display tablets for drawing. When using the Gemini like a laptop, you will be resting your wrist on this “bump,” but that will actually force you to reach further down to actually type on the E Ink screen, not to mention you risk triggering those buttons. There is no definite word yet on when and where the Gemini will launch, but it will happen sometime this year, though it remains to be seen whether it will elicit the same interest as dual-screen laptops.