A digital replacement for the scratchpad.
In recent years, eReaders have taken the world by storm. These devices claim to replace thousands of books, each stored away inside the gadget's memory banks. E-writers, however, have yet to hit the mainstream - today we look at the Boogie Board and see if we can figure out why.
The 10.5-inch Boogie Board tablet carries a manufactuer's suggested retail price of $59.99.
Kent Displays is a small company based near Cleveland, Ohio, just south of the Great Lakes. Their claim to fame is in the production of low-power displays. Their main products involve a technology known as cholesteric liquid crystal displays, which can be used in mobile products (such as the Boogie Board, sold under their Improv Electronics branding) and in public transit signs in Europe. We visited the company recently, and we'll have the entire experience - hint: it was pretty neat - written up over at the display section on sister site DesktopReview.com.
The Boogie Board is characterized by a flat, black design. It's very thin; sitting on a flat surface, it measures less than a quarter of an inch. Its bezel is almost nonexistent, just trailing grey plastic around the edges. On top, the frame is slightly bigger, and incorporates the Boogie Board logo, an erase button (more on that later) and at the very top, an integrated holder for the included stainless steel stylus.
Flipping the unit over reveals a plain back with a slide off cover. Pulling off the small cover reveals the battery compartment, which holds two "AAAA" batteries. Keeping the batteries small allowed the company to make the Boogie Board thin, and keeping the batteries disposable allowed them to keep it cheap.
Adding the removable batteries is actually one of the more notable improvements made to the Boogie Board between the earlier model and this one, which belongs to the second generation. In the original layout, the Boogie Board had small batteries directly soldered into place, which allowed for 50,000 erases, or screenwipes. Now, once that limit is reached (which probably won't happen for years), you can just swap the batteries out.
The Boogie Board also feels very durable. Inside of the tablet, the display is actually constructed on a plastic substrate - not glass. That alone makes this gadget more hazard-resistant than most. I've tossed it in my bag that was packed to the brim, and some eReaders might crack under that pressure, but the Boogie Board came through with flying colors. We've even thrown it across the room and nothing happened. That lends a lot of weight to the company's goal of putting these into the hands of schoolchildren.
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