Amidst the white noise of the haptic forks, baby monitor fridges, and the USB trouser presses at CES, one thing so far can go stand in the corner marked “Innovation.” And that is PaperTab, a flexible bit of plastic–yes, a bendy screen–that would rather be like paper. It’s been developed in conjunction with Intel, Queens University from Canada, and U.K. firm Plastic Logic, and uses the kind of gestures that fans of books and magazines will love. In short, you can crumple up your swiping ability and throw it in the trash: It’s time to learn how to do the dog-ear, page-bend, and page-turn.
With only one app (or window if you want to look at it from a desktop perspective) per page, the technology works by touching separate pages together to either transfer information or open files. You can edit your work on the page (the onscreen keyboard is not laggy at all, but typing may be slow as the letter keys are quite small) and bend the page to either scroll through a document or fast-forward through a video. Okay, it’s got some way to go before it enthralls and delights us as much as the TV equivalents, seen here in Caprica, but this is still a tickety-boo piece of future tech.
The only downside I can see is that using several pieces of “paper” instead of a single tablet may prove a bit too “faffy”–not to mention retro–for people used to having their electronic lives contained in a one-stop shop. But this is a big win for Intel, which is having a good CES so far, having outlined its plans in the mobile chip department (take a bow, Lexington). But what do you think of the PaperTab concept? Would you welcome a more paper-like technology, or are you sticking with your glass-fronted clunky tablet, thankyouverymuch?