Saturday, February 7, 2015

Oaxis InkCase for iPhone and Note II Teardown


Today I'm going to teardown a pair of Oaxis InkCase thingies. It is a protective case for your phone which has a second screen and the screen is eInk type screen, black and white. This type of screens used for eBook readers like Amazon Kindle. So in theory this "case" should work much longer than your phone on it's battery. A case connects to your phone through Bluetooth 2.0 for N2 and through Bluetooth BLE for i5.
I received these units for beta test in Jan 2014 and found them unusable at that time. Especially N2 case which was chewing batteries like crazy, it would not hold a day without recharging. Also often loosing connection without being able to reconnect without disabling and re-enabling bluetooth first. So I wrote it all to the guys at Oaxis and put units away.
A little tip on how it works. It's very simple. Phone just sends a single image to the case through bluetooth, that's all. All the image compositing done in the phone's app.
Now I see they are released new InkCase Plus model which is designed to fit to almost any android phone.
Enough waffle, let's tear it down starting with N2 model.
 So basically it is just a refitted eBook reader. It has 4 buttons, left, right, select and hidden reset. You can switch to previous images that phone sent. Images in this case is screen updates, like weather, pictures and so on. There is no processing on this device except showing images.
Back side made of smooth plastic with will not scratch your phone.
As you can see, inside it has a generic eBook SoC Allwinner F1 E200 and supporting circuitry. Also they added bluetooth in the corner. 820mAh battery. So this is it for N2. Nothing exiting, right?

Next i5 model.
Again, back is made of very smooth plastic. Take a peek inside.
Battery is half capacity of N2 model 460mAh. But this case is using BLE which is much lower power than Bluetooth 2.0.

Ok, the circuit is completely different to N2. This one has a Rockchip RK2818 SoC which used in low-end android phones. Also to note, i5 model has only one single button.
While I was playing with i5 disassembling it and reassembling, trying to charge a battery etc. I somehow entered into a recovery mode. And what do you know, this thing has an actual Android OS inside. So iPhone has a protective case which has Android in it :)