We have a number of crowdfunded projects for larger e-readers - usually with Android pre-installed. I previously posted on the need for an alternative e-reader to consider software development before making hardware choices. If an alternative e-reader is to be user-friendly and accessible, it needs to work out of the box with little need to tweak or modify the interface, fonts or seek out alternative external applications.
KOReader is an existing project that offers options for developers, as it is one of the few applications designed specifically for E-Ink. In its current state, it may lack stability, across different devices, and the user interface may need simplifying but it is feature rich. For example, PDF support is vastly superior to what Kobo and Amazon offer with their e-readers. With KOReader there are extensive features such as the ability to export notes to Evernote and manipulate PDF files, in different ways, considering device size, for optimal viewing.
The potential to develop an e-reader on KOReader's software is something that could work. Again, with a viable software platform set first then problems pertaining to stability and optimal performance, considering hardware, would be resolved.