Sony Japan has revealed a digital paper prototype that it is working on. It's a 13.3-inch slate device with an e-ink touchscreen display and a stylus, so it can be drawn and written on.
Its potential, says Sony, is as a replacement in universities for traditional pen and paper notepads and work books.
The device is super-thin, just 6.8mm, and very light at 358g. And the 13.3-inch (1,200 x 1,600 dot) screen is the equivalent to an A4 sheet of paper, so apes normal pads. It also sports a Micro SD card slot for memory expansion and 4GB of on-board storage, so can hold just about every text book a student needs. Ever. That will eliminate the need for heavy rucksacks full of well-worn tomes.
It comes with Wi-Fi, so can be hooked up to a network and, presumably, browse the internet or save pages for future reference. And with the stylus, as well as being able to write and draw on to blank sheets - which can be saved as pdf files - a student can make notes on the text books or other reading material as they go.
Sony is field testing the device in Japanese universities first, and then plans to commercialise it in "fiscal year 2013". That ends March 2014, so we'll see the full production model sometime before then.