[NTLK] The Incredible Shrinking Newt

Jeff Sheldon jeffsheldon at gmail.com
Thu Apr 11 16:09:13 EDT 2019

I'm a big proponent of e-ink as well as it maintains the general feel of
the Newton experience and substantially cuts down on power draw.  The Boox
device made me immediately think of the Newton, but Android running on it
feels silly.  The hardware hurdles of marrying the technologies is
substantial.  It took me about 15 years to come to the conclusion that
Einstein is the only real answer to move forward with and to accept that
the Newton hardware will see a slow decline despite best (and appropriate)
efforts to keep it going.

Despite my personal distaste for Android, I think the following model is
the 100% absolute correct way to proceed: That we need an Einstein
DISTRIBUTION which can adapt to many different tablet and phone hardware

t would be interesting to take a similar approach that others have
(Ubports, postmarketOs, etc.) to containerize Android for oddball hardware
support, run a Linux kernel on with minimal GNU installation, and position
Einstein as the front-facing app.  Cyanogenmod has traditionally been the
go-to instead of straight Android in these sorts of situations, but now
LineageOS has picked up what was left of the remains following operational
people problems.  It's great that we can install Einstein on various
operating systems, but it's not great that we don't have it as a
distributable operating environment that can run on cheap, dedicated,
hardware.  As long as this problem exists, we'll keep seeing struggles and
energy put into facets of the Newton that are residual symptoms of this
missing answer.  In other words, there shouldn't be any reason why we can't
buy a Boox product, jailbreak it, and have a downloadable firmware
replacement in order to enjoy e-ink and good battery life.  This style of
approach is being done every day with such devices in other communities.

In the meantime, maybe this is a good time for me to fish out the dusty
Galaxy Tab 4 a friend gave me. :-)


On Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 12:11 PM Igor Bertolucci <igorbertolucci at gmail.com>

> I wanted to make the Newton easily fit in a jacket pocket instead of a bag
> or briefcase. With the LiPo it is also thinner and much lighter than with
> AAs - it is a lot nicer to hold in landscape as well.
> I agree with the display problem - I think the display itself is OK but
> the EL backlighting is really bad. The humming from the inverter is really
> annoying (in fact I’m trying to filter/cover it in this modified 2000 to
> reduce the sound).
> I’ve been following the development of e-ink/ e-paper displays and I think
> this technology would be the best for the Newt. There are 6” and 7” screens
> with 16 shades of grey with front lighting and touch and pen (Wacom)
> support on the market. I would love to find a way to install one of these
> screens on an original Newton 2x00. I have recently purchased an Onyx Boox
> Nova Pro, which is a 7.8” e-reader/e-notepad which runs Android 6.0. The
> hardware and especially the screen is amazing but the note taking software
> is severely lacking - it is light years behind the Newton. I will be
> installing the Einstein emulator on it, but I doubt the fast response of
> the Wacom pen input will work - it apparently works only with its built in
> note taking app (on all other Android apps it lags).
> Sorry for the long response.
> Igor
> > On Apr 11, 2019, at 09:37, Christoph Schröder <newtonhonk at posteo.de>
> wrote:
> >
> > I have no problems with the size. Running on AA batteries is the big
> advantage of the Newton. That is one reason that we still can use them
> today.
> >
> > Personally I would like to have a different screen. Has somebody tried a
> different LCD?
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