Paper, the pulp of fiction, the holder of histories has a new challenger. 2000 years after it’s invention, paper has possibly it’s greatest challenger yet. The world of electronic gadgetry has finally caught up with one of mans greatest ever inventions. Improv Electronics burst on the scene with their Boogie Board LCD eWriters earlier this year. Cheap, hardy and an incredibly useable writing tablet the Boogie Boards quickly became known for , now the Boogie just got better. Improv this week announced the Boogie Board RIP – Record Image Preserve – LCD Writing Tablet, this new more advanced Boogie at the press of a button will record the contents of the display to a pdf, storing it in the Boogies on board memory. While the Boogie may look similar to other tablets and e-book readers it is actually designed from a different perspective, the writer instead of the reader. At its most basic the Boogie is an electronic notepad for sketches, quick lists and short notes. With sizes ranging from 7.5 to 10.5 and prices low enough to worry 3M the Boogies boards are a gadget on the move.
“Boogie Board Rip tablet users can save page after page of handwriting and drawings including lecture/meeting notes, design concepts, homework assignments, tests/quizzes, etc.” Dr. Green continued. “This functionality, and the ability to upload saved content to a computer, takes the Boogie Board Rip tablet well beyond the limits of ordinary paper and provides a cost-effective vehicle to save enormous amounts of it.”
Boogie Boards, winner of design awards and praise since their release earlier this year are attacking the tablet market from the bottom up, starting at the cheap end. While the most basic Boogie models have only etch-a-sketch type functionality, draw or write and erase the new RIP has introduced the Preserve function. All of the Boogie Board models employ a Kent Displays pressure sensitive touch screen. The display has excellent outdoor readability, pressure sensitive touch allowing different width lines depending on the pressure, is ultra lightweight, durable and cheap due to the all plastic construction. The interface is simplicity itself, the original Boogie models have only an erase button. The RIP introduces an erase lock button stopping accidental erasing of masterpieces in progress, the erase button itself and the preserve button to save the display to pdf.
The RIP isn’t the only new member of the Improv Boogie family either. In July Improv introduced a 10.5″ Boogie, this is the big daddy of fridge magnets or notepads. More recently Improve introduced the SkinFlik coloured iPhone skin that changes colour at the swipe of you finger. Other form factors have also been introduced, a binder version is now available for students to put into their binders and the new larger 10.5″ Boogie.
Improv’s newly announced Boogie Board Rip™ LCD Writing Tablet introduces the new save function that gives the sketches and notes a sense of permanence, instead of the throw away reminder type of note the original Boogie’s were limited to. The Boogie Board RIP also brings the ability to upgrade the on-board software, adding new functions and software updates as they become available. As is the norm, Improv are making dev kits available, allowing third part developers to write applications. Power in-built rechargeable battery, battery life is expected to be 2 weeks of continuous use, which would require a lot of coffee from the Highpants coffee machine. The Rip’s display is a 9.5″ Kent Display LCD, giving the usual low power pressure sensitive display of the Boogie family. Externally the RIP is thin, durable and lightweight with all-plastic construction, closely following the styling of the other members of the family. The RIP only uses power when in USB Mode – transferring .pdf’s or being updated – , erasing the screen or saving the display to a pdf. Drawing on the screen uses no power and the display is able to retain the static picture for up to 10 years with zero power usage. A USB port is provided to allow direct connection to a PC, allowing pdf files to be transferred and viewed on the PC.
All of Improv Technologies products use Reflex Technology developed by Kent Displays, using Cholesteric LCD display technology. All of the stand out characteristics mentioned above are due to this display technology. Using plastic screen technology – substrate – the Boogies are shatter proof and hardy enough to take anywhere. With the new RIP you can take the Boogie board with you for weeks, taking notes and hitting the preserve button, scribbling the whole time. Cholesteric liquid crystals are bistable, exhibiting both a bright reflecting state and a dark non-reflecting state without any voltage applied. Because of bistability, Reflex LCDs will retain an image indefinitely without power. The crystals with the LCD are stacked in such a way – Cholesteric – that when pressure is applied the structure is changed, to its dark state. Kent Displays plastic technology is also on its way into new markets made possible by its low low price to manufacture. Electronic labels that can be wirelessly altered, thin cheap tablets and medical bands.
Boogie boards are all about a portable writing interface, thin light and tough the Boogie will go places with you, places a tablet will never see. The original 8.5″ Boogie is still the cheapest of the range at $39.95 USD, with the 10.5″ Boogie topping the range at $59.95 USD. No price has been announced for the RIP as yet but it expected to ship November 1, through the Improv website. The tablet market is certainly turning into a fearsome battlefield. Samsung has taken a hit with the lawsuit from Apple, Toshiba is building up to something, Amazon has plans brewing and Improve has made it’s intentions clear, the writeable surface is theirs. Possibly the greatest threat to fridge magnets and note pads in recent times the Boogie Board LCD eWriters and the new Boogie Board Rip™ LCD Writing Tablet are saving trees faster than a bus full of excited hippies.. .
Further information Improv Electronic
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