So, I’m a big fan of e-ink displays. The sucky things are that they refresh slowly, and they’re really only black and white. But, they only require battery power when they refresh! Considering that the display is the biggest power hog on most mobile devices, that can be a significant advantage!

The thing is, they’re not really very popular. They’re one of those devices that’s really practical and not very sexy. The only real commercially-available devices are e-readers. e-ink displays don’t do tons of colors, or high refresh rates, or high resolution, or basically any of that stuff that a Retina display on an iPhone does best, so most people just aren’t interested in them. As a result, they’ve never really become massively cheap. There are some development boards out there with e-ink displays that are either tiny or massively expensive.
13" e-ink display

So, I decided to pick up an e-reader, but even those are kind of hard to come by in more recent models! The OLED display is winning the war apparently, and people are just happily living with giant batteries and terrible battery life so they can watch YouTube on their e-reader. 😛

I ended up picking up a Nook Simple Touch. I figured this would be a piece of cake to flash Linux or some rooted Android onto and then I’d be on my way. I was wrong. First, there’s no Linux that supports this device. Second, the latest Android I can find that supports this device is KitKat 4.4, which is…oooooollllddd…

I couldn’t get any apps to reliably run on it. Opera Mobile wouldn’t load any websites at all, because every website everywhere these days uses HTTPS, and the root certificates in KitKat are all expired. I tried compiling my own newer Android, and I got it to boot, but can’t get it past the unlock screen, probably because of the touch screen driver.

So, I gave up on it for like 6 months.

Then I stumbled upon this:

That guy is using a Nook Simple Touch as a mapping GPS! And his last blog entry is from this year!

So, it’s time to blow off the dust and give this another try!