Have you seen Firefly? I have. I love that show. Whedon's "used future" conceptions are second only to the Star Wars universe. In this world, the two dominant language cultures are Chinese and English, space ships can be cheap junkers like someone's first Honda is today, and crime bosses can toss around amazing, full-color, flexible displays like they're nothing. This is the future I want. To be very clear, PaperTab, while a great-looking concept, is not going to be taking us there.

"Watch out tablet lovers!" is how the description for the video starts. Given what we end up seeing, I can only interpret this as a warning shot. To be very clear, the displays themselves look great as a concept! What we're seeing here are flexible e-ink screens that react to one another, can be navigated by bending corners or the entire unit, and are fully touch-capable. They are still very much in development, as you can see that typing wouldn't be optimal on them, but that comes with the territory of e-ink and new tech. Combine this research with what Samsung is doing on foldable color displays and you begin to get a sense of where things could go in the future. It's exciting.

You know what's not exciting? "Okay, this tab is your email app, and this tab is your Outbox tab, so in order to send an email, rather than simply tapping on a button like we've been doing since the dawn of email, you have to tap this tab on that tab and-" you've lost me. The prototype desk, as shown, has certain "hot spots" which essentially mean that where you place the tabs determines what function they perform. Because, when I think productivity, I think of a desk where I can't move a device for fear it will change function.

Of course, to be fair, this is not something that is even remotely consumer-ready. You won't see this on store shelves, you probably won't see this on the CES floor, and if we're honest, you might not hear of this particular product again ever. However, it's at least nice to see that development is being done on the underlying tech, even if the UI is one of the most cumbersome things I've witnessed. Whether there exists a demand for flimsy physical displays to replace paper remains to be seen, but who knows?

I really just want to believe Joss Whedon was right.

Source: PaperTab

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Samuel Hart

    So convoluted as well.

  • marcusmaximus04

    "I really just want to believe Joss Whedon was right."

    I don't. If he's right then we really should have elected Mitt Romney. Obama is completely unprepared for the Zombie Apocalypse!

    • Jonathan Warden

      He wanted us to vote for Romney to CAUSE the zombie apocalypse. I don't think we're getting our apocalypse now. Sadface.

  • dqdfx

    this stuff has been around for like 3-4 years already. this exact device. is this supposed to be new just because they named it papertab?

  • c g

    solution looking for a problem?

  • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

    "...because they are thin it is easy to draw or DRAG across multiple tabs as you would with paper."

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Saurav-Ghosh/1522241590 Saurav Ghosh

    Hmm, Hollywood need newer stuffs now. This one looks old.

  • Maxwell K.

    It looks cheaper than Six Flag's stocks in '09.

  • Dan r. Maor

    I can see this tech used in banks. Rather then file 20 papers just for a simple transaction one can digitize all of them and save paper.

    My god, I sound like a greenpeace spokesman...

  • Steve Freeman

    Yes, because instead of a single tablet that can do everything, what we actually NEED are several "paper" tablets, connected by a data cable, that only do one thing each. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • BrianBreniser

    okay... so I get the reason for high quality (which this is not, but it is a step forward in the right direction) displays on flexible screens. I understand that.

    I also understand that Android probably would not work on this (or any OS currently) as it is meant for tough touch screens, etc. and would not work well in this environment (typing? bleh!).

    But adding a picture to an email by touching the picture to the email? That doesn't work either. I hope this is just a POS OS (see what I did there? lol) to test the functionality of the screens.

    I'm not even bashing that it looks slow (all OS's are slow to start, and work their way to being fast, that just takes time, this is clearly just a prototype). I'm talking about functionality. I only want one, to do everything, easily (bend to fast forward? LOL every time you pick it up you will accidently change something about the video...)

    alright, I don't have any better answers for the time being, but I know one thing for sure. This UI is not going to last long (an entire page for your 'outbox', come on! LAME!)