I seem to be developing a penchant for these things.
The is the latest in a line of Internet-connected ‘displays’ designed to sit on a desk, or perhaps on a shop counter, and exhibit various online information, such as Facebook ‘Likes’, weather, number of unread email, and so on.
However, although similar to the , a fully-programmable but simple, ticker-style Internet-connected display, the Displio is considerably smaller, housing a 2.7 inch e-ink screen.
Not only does this change the aesthetics considerably, and allows for a greater amount of information to be displayed, but e-ink’s lower power consumption — requiring power upon refresh only — means the Displio claims to be able to run on a single charge for up to a month.
It’s also testament to my long-held belief that the display technology has applications far beyond an e-reader, from , smartwatch, to the .
Like LaMetric (whose shipping date, I’m told, has slipped to Spring this year) the Displio is designed to display a range of online information, powered by a growing list of widgets being developed by , the Latvian IT company behind the device (and many other software/hardware products in the ‘smart’ devices space).
In addition, and where the fun really starts, the Displio will have its own API and widget creator, meaning that it’s possible to program your own widgets to pull in a plethora of online information. In fact, I’m told that Displio co-founder Raivis Lancetovs has the status of the product’s current Kickstarter crowd funding campaign running on a widget on a prototype device.
“We are building a device that brings internet widgets into [the] physical world,” explains Lancetovs. “Displio is a small customizable wireless display that can display important information and notifications that are available to you with just a glance, eliminating the need to constantly check your phone or computer.”
Interestingly, similar to the , Lancetovs says Displio started out life as way of turning Facebook ‘Likes’ into a physical counter so that venues, stores or coffee shops could promote their Facebook pages.
“We wanted to make it easy to set up and use. That meant it had to be wireless, so that users could put it anywhere and it would fit nicely in any interior without messing with the wires. So using regular LCD screens was out of the question – the power consumption is far too big on those to have it powered with batteries for a long time.”
As the product developed, the team realised that a wireless Internet-connected display had a lot more potential than being just a counter, and the idea of adding a range of customizable widgets was born.
“We made a couple of simple widgets to test this out. Like weather, stocks and a FitBit leader board (which was something the team was internally competitive about). We instantly saw that this could be a fun and useful little gadget for anyone and could be used at work and home. And with almost every Internet service and product offering APIs, there are so many different widgets we or anyone else could make.”