An e-ink primary display on a cellphone? Eh, that's so 2006. On display at Japan's CEATEC show this week is a prototype clamshell that flips the concept on its head, moving the e-ink down below. The benefits are pretty obvious -- different keypad configurations can be shown in different phone modes, a tactic that's been explored before -- but unlike phones that use OLED or LCD displays, e-ink only requires power when it's being changed, so you get the combined benefit of configurable keys while consuming virtually no additional energy over a standard layout. Combine the concept with physical ridges between keys and we figure this could be a pretty killer setup since you wouldn't be losing tactile feedback, either. We see a good fifteen or twenty concept phones for every device that actually sees production, but since some folks bothered to throw together a physical prototype here, we're cautiously optimistic this thing might see the light of day.

[Via Ubergizmo]

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Prototype mobile showcases e-ink keypad