How long before we get a dual-screen tablet?

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Amazingly I’ve still not unpacked my Mobile World Congress, but the innovations I saw on devices like the YotaPhone have stuck with me. This year my flight had relaxed the rules on electronic gadgets, and you can use them – albeit in flight mode – from gate to gate. This meant that, despite the short flight, there was a vast array of devices for me to have a nose at. On the flight back there was a number of people reading books, but they mostly did them on existing tablets, phones and e-readers.

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I glanced across at the guy sitting next to me on the first flight, and he was engrossed in his Nook. He noticed me glancing over at it and told me how good it was. The Nook HD has enhanced features so you’re not just restricted to reading books. I was pretty impressed with the 7″ 1440×900 pixel screen, which is pin-sharp, vivid and was viewable from where I was sitting too. The rubberised cover seemed to be coping well with the travelling too and, before switching to a game of Angry Birds, the guy told me how cheap it was.

The Nook is a device which, like the Kindle, has developed over time. You can still buy the Nook Simple Touch (that’s the one with the e-ink screen) to read books for just £29, but the Nook HD adds a clear colour screen and a range of apps to pass the time away. It’s something that my fellow traveller was doing but, after seeing how e-ink screens are now getting introduced to the back of phones, I pondered just how long it would be before we start seeing the same thing happen on tablets too.

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It would be a logical move really. People want to get on the internet and they want websites to appear exactly as they do on their laptop, but at the same time they don’t want to be plugged into the nearest electrical socket all the time. Battery life is a constant problem with many mobile devices, but batteries are usually drained quicker due to the large colour screen that’s constantly used.

It would help quite a bit. My wife constantly curses when she has to plug her Samsung Galaxy in just to read a few chapters on her phone, so why not add a large e-ink screen to the next Nook device? A long battery life, a screen that’s easy on the eye and a stack of apps, music, movies and games to play when you want the full-colour screen. It would make sense, and we’ve seen it implemented really well in Barcelona. Not only that, but it wouldn’t push up the price of a device by a great deal either.