Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Improvement ideas for Onyx Boox e-readers

In this post, I want to propose some ideas to improve Onyx Boox e-readers. Some of the ideas listed below apply specifically to larger note-taking e-readers, but most are relevant to the smaller ones too:

  • A dedicated word processing app would make a helpful addition. At the moment, it is necessary to use a third-party application for word processing. Most word processing apps are just usable on an e-reader. The only realistic option is to use minimalist writing apps, e.g., Writer Plus or Jotterpad. Still, they also need adaptation through the optimisation settings to smoothly and clearly get the text to output. Thus, it would be a big positive if Onyx Boox developed a word processing app that is pre-optimised to work smoothly and sync to external cloud services.
  • Better sync support: At the moment, Onyx Boox only supports syncing in the native note-taking app. It would be more user-friendly if syncing features were extended to PDFs and e-books. Specifically, developing cross-platform e-book reading apps would mean the possibility to continue reading on a smartphone or tablet. As I've posted before, to use e-book syncing, it is necessary to use a third-party app, e.g. Moon Reader Plus.
  • Better formatting of exported highlights and annotations: Exported annotations and highlights are formatted poorly. For example, there is no page number or heading to organise ouput. To compare, the Kindle app organises content by location/page number and under chapter headings and sub-headings (of course, the exported document's formatting is affected by the e-book). 
  • Pre-loaded optimised fonts: There is no curated selection of fonts optimised to work on an E-Ink device. Applying changes via the display settings helps, but there are drawbacks as most fonts are designed for LCD screens. 
  • Setting the size in split-screen mode: Split screen mode is a stable feature. However, as there is no way to set the screen size ratio between two apps, it leaves little flexibility when a document needs more screen estate.
  • More dictionaries pre-loaded: There are plenty of Chinese language dictionaries but few options for other languages. It is possible to install dictionaries manually, but it would be user-friendly if there is a more extensive list of dictionaries available for download. 

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