The electronic paper

master race


Aug 2018

E-paper vs E-ink

E-paper mimics ink on paper, reflects light

E-ink is e-paper, needs power only for changes, also a company



Low power consumption, state is saved, flexible


Low refresh rate, ghosting, no good commercial color (yet)


- Tablet

   - Reader

      Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Sony,

      Onyx Boox, B&N Nook, Pocketboot

   - Note taking / Drawing


- Wearable

   Pebble, clothes, jewelry

- Other

   Public services like signs, bus

   numbers and timetables, XCSoar

- Possible

   Parking meters, license plates

What should devices be like?

Important actors

- MobileRead forum

   - NiLuJe - KindleTool, MRPI, Kindle JB
   - knc1 - Kindle JB
   - Ixtab - Kubrick, Kindle JB
   - Twobob - KUAL, Kindle JB
   - Yifan Lu - Kindle JB
   - MarekGibek - Debian on Kobo
   - Geekmaster - Librarian

- KOReader team

- Pebble / Rebble team

- Hardware companies

   E ink, NXP, Lab126, Visionect

- Research / Academia / Journalists


   - / Youtube


- Locked bootloader, moderate difficulty when disassembling to get serial access which you need to unbrick for example.

- Jailbreak

Different for most devices, currently only works for older firmware versions.

Downgrade the firmware to the Java days, apply Jailbreak files, update.


- Base software

 MRPI - MobileRead Package Installer - KUAL app, function as the name suggest

 KUAL - Kindle Unified Application Launcher - Adds neat shortcuts and menus for all your extensions. Can use gawk for speed


- Userland / Extensions / Hacks

Numerous KUAL extensions, one that prevents silent updates

KOReader - Later in the presentation

Calibre integration

Touch two opposing edges to take a screenshot


- Unlocked bootloader, easy disassembly, jail. Custom firmware available


- Jailbreak

KoboRoot.tgz - Bundled with some hacks. Hasn't changed much

Busybox - Bundled UNIX software we use every day


- Base software

KSM - Kobo Start menu (similar to KUAL for the Kindle)


- Userland / Addons / Hacks

KOReader - Later in the presentation

Comprehensive list too long to cover


- History


- If you don't need Bluetooth, get a Kobo


Document viewer with support for major Kindle, Kobo and Pocketbook devices, also Android support. Requires root. FOSS, LuaJIT, excellent functionality.


Multiple formats, ssh & rsync, localization and dictionaries, customizable, statistics, Evernote, Calibre, Goodreads, custom screensavers, terminal, file manager, collection manager, etc.


So fast, powerful and easy to change you can permanently live in it.

Pebble / Rebble

Released in 2013 via a Kickstarter. Ran out of money.

Acquired and assimilated by Fitbit. Now discontinued.


Longest battery on the market. Hackable in C and JS with an IDE provided. All functionality you'd expect. Medium difficulty disassembly and repair. Gadgetbridge can be used as a communication bridge, tracker and appstore.


Enter, Rebble. A team of previous employees, enthusiasts, hackers.

They provide online services, some of them behind a subscription.


The project seems to be leaning towards FOSS but is slow.

The whispered end goal seems to be to port the firmware to FreeRToS, get away from the sold patents and make new hardware.




Every device mentioned here is locked in some way.


We always find a crack.


Kobo is more open than the others, Pebble is becoming open.

Most software we make for the devices is open.


This guy has the right idea

Thank you

The electronic paper master race

By lord_of_life

The electronic paper master race

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