On May 9, 2023, Mr. Brad Linder of Liliputing reported that the new PocketBook InkPad X Pro will use an Android-based operating system. I have a PocketBook Color and PocketBook InkPad Color. Both of my PocketBooks and extant PocketBook’s use PocketBook’s proprietary Linux-based operating system for e-readers. I personally like PocketBook’s operating system. It is minimal, comes with no ads, and is easy to get things you do not use out of the way. For example, I do not use the PocketBook store so I removed the store applet from my home screen. However, for general reading, I tend to prefer KoReader (which works wonderfully on both of my PocketBook’s) to the native reading UI.

I can see some advantages to being Android-based. Mr. Linder noted one could install Android apps. I would very much like an e-reader that could run Handy Reading, Markor, and Syncthing without any issues. However, Android seems like it would be heavy for a PocketBook. The current ones are not particularly fast with the default minimal OS.

Having noted that my dream phone would have an e-ink display, QWERTY keyboard, and open source operating system, there seems to be a good space for an open source Linux-based operating system specifically designed for e-reader devices. KoReader already solves the e-reading part of the issue. (The PineNote looks promising in this area.)

For the time being, given the choice between PocketBook’s regular OS and a closed source Android flavor, I prefer PocketBook as it is without knowing more. While it is not open source, I read that they are responsive to KoReader developers, and PocketBook is pro-user in how it allows users to customize their home screens. It could use a better app ecosystem, but all things considered it is better than being locked into an account or ecosystem like the alternatives. With that being said, I will read about how PocketBook implements an Android-based operating system when more information is available.