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Friday, 29 January 2021

The a-symmetrical e-reader before the Kindle Oasis

The first generation Kindle Oasis is often credited as being the starting point of a-symmetrical e-readers. To differing degrees, Kobo, reMarkable and Onyx Boox later followed the path and produced their versions. 

The Rocketbook eBook
In reality, the first a-symmetrical e-reader - released in 1998 - was the NuvoMedia Rocket eBook. The Rocket eBook had a 'transflective' LCD screen and 4MB storage that could store up to 10 e-books. A Rocketbook eBook Pro version was later released with a larger 16MB storage. A similarly designed e-reader - eBookwise 1150 - was released in 2004 by Fictionwise. In 2011 another LCD e-reader was released - the Ectaco Jetbook Mini.

Technically, the earliest a-symmetrical E-Ink e-reader was the Sony Librie (released in 2004), with physical page turn buttons on the wider left side. 

Pocketbook released its first a-symmetrical e-reader in 2010 - the Pocketbook 360 (the Pocketbook 360 had a smaller 5" E-Ink Vizplex 600x800 screen). A later iteration with improved specifications - the PocketBook 360 Plus - was released in 2011.

Continuing the trend, Pocketbook released the 8-inches InkPad 840 in 2014 - it was designed to be held on the wider right side to turn pages (the InkPad 840 was updated in 2016). Before the InkPad 840, Pocketbook also released the PocketBook Colour Lux (801) in 2013 with a similar design (it had an 8-inches Triton E-Ink screen). Amazon released the first Kindle Oasis - the only generation with a 6-inches screen - in 2016.

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