Sony's Digital Paper tablet just 30 sheets of paper thick

The Sony Digital Paper System. (Sony)

The Sony Digital Paper System. (Sony)


, Last Updated: 5:32 PM ET

Conceived as a way of banishing paper from offices and classrooms, the tablet is super-thin, super-light and super expensive.

The device cropped up about a year ago in prototype form but now Sony is getting ready to launch the 13.3-inch monochrome tablet as the Digital Paper System and has slapped a $1,100 US price-tag on it.

For that princely sum, owners will get a device that's the same size as a piece of A4 paper that feels almost as natural to use, whether with fingers or the included stylus and whether for jotting down notes, flagging up mistakes on a digital document or for making sketches.

It weighs a mere 358 g and is just 6.8 mm thick (that's equivalent to 30 sheets of paper) and despite using an electronic ink display, it's one with a very high resolution (1,200 x 1,600 dots) so it should be as clear as looking at a white sheet of paper, even though it doesn't have a backlight. It can access the internet via Wi-Fi and has 4 GB of on-board storage, plus it supports MicroSD cards for further expansion.

And, thanks to the fact that it uses an e-ink rather than full color display, plus the fact that scrolling and zooming should be minimized (the device is the same size as a document) the battery is good for up to three weeks between recharges.

However, there are a few limitations. Obviously the price is one, but the other is that the device is designed to work with documents in the PDF format. So other file types will need to be converted first before they can be used on the tablet.

That's why as well as the device itself, Sony has developed a document management system that helps keep the files organized and enables documents to be shared and for several people to work on them in collaboration.

Sony is also clearly aware that the asking price could limit the tablet's appeal and so is initially targeting lawyers when it goes on sale in May.