Telecom Italia and Philips subsidiary Polymer Vision - though it's soon to be spun off - will next week launch Readius, the first mobile device with cellular connectivity and a roll-out high-resolution, high-contrast 5in display.
Nicknamed the "cellular book", the always-connected gadget is designed to make it easy to read internet-sourced content on the move. The downside is that the screen's limited to 16 shades of grey, but Polymer Vision's pitch is that the size and legibility more than make up for a lack of colour.
'Size' in two respects, of course: not only how big the screen is when unrolled, but conversely, how compact the device is when the display is stowed. Portability and legibility, in other words.
And since the screen draws very little power, the reader will operate for around ten days on a single charge of its built-in battery.
The unit has a SIM slot to authorise a network connection over either a GSM/GPRS/EDGE or UMTS 3G link, whichever is available at a given location. It's also equipped with a DVB-H receiver, but not for showing digital television pictures but receiving data sent out across the TV-by-cellular system. Telecom Italia said it will be able to download ebooks, audiobooks and music.