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Old 02-26-2021, 12:48 PM   #1
Daniel Kao
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[EInk Browser v8.0] A new browser app for E-Ink devices

As an E-Ink device lover, I bought many E-Ink devices, and use them mainly for reading ebooks, chatting, note taking, and internet surfing. Most E-Ink devices work great for book reading and note taking; however, for using them as a tablet or phone, there's still a long way to go. One of the insufficient part for me is the experience of browsing the web. I haven't found a suitable browser yet for E-Ink devices. So, I decided to customize one from an Open Source project I found on Github (it's called FOSS Browser). Here are some features I added which I found useful for an E-Ink device:
  • page up/ page down with dedicated buttons, or physical volume keys
  • remove un-necessary screen repaints (e.g., UI animations)
  • Support assigning gestures pageUp / pageDown for tool bar and navigation button
  • Make navigation button more visible no matter webpage background color is black or white
  • Remove button press visual feedback
  • Re-layout menu items for easier access in different resolution devices
  • Support Android SDK level 19
  • Change package id from original one to info.plateaukao.einkbro
  • Support Vi key bindings when using physical keyboard

Screenshots
see attachments

If you are also looking for browsers that are suitable for your E-Ink device (with Android based platform), you can take a look at the browser I modified. Hopefully it's also useful for someone too.

Medium post: Web Browser for E-Ink Devices

Github Link

Download Link
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Old 02-27-2021, 02:33 PM   #2
omneity
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Looking promising

Had a quick look at this earlier. The contrast for eink is way better than any other browser I've used. One thing I would love to see is a reading mode.
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Old 03-23-2021, 12:57 PM   #3
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After one month of development, EinkBro comes with more feature now! And it's released on Google Play Store too. Have a look at Google Play Store if you wanna try it: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...eaukao.einkbro

To name a few:
* bold font option
* quick change font size
* print pdf (you can also set the default paper size in settings)
* customize your own tool bar
* configure touch area on screen to turn pages (just like normal ereaders does)
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Old 03-25-2021, 03:39 PM   #4
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I like it, its quite handy. Thanks for developing this. Are you planning to keep this updated?
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:28 AM   #5
Daniel Kao
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Yes. I will keep updating it until I implement all the features I want.
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:29 AM   #6
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Hi, Reading mode is added, and with good enough results now on v8.5.0. You can try it again.
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Old 03-28-2021, 02:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Kao View Post
Hi, Reading mode is added, and with good enough results now on v8.5.0. You can try it again.
What does reading mode do exactly? Is it like a "do not disturb" mode while in the browser? Or is it even more restrictive?

I appreciate your work with the browser!
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Old 03-29-2021, 02:22 AM   #8
omneity
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You're making great progress with this, well done. The reading mode works well, thanks for implementing this, it's something that Anroid eink reader manufacturers oddly omit.

The only small issue I can find now is the save to PDF option does not work on my Likebook Mars or my Onyx Boox Note Pro - nothing appears to happen when I click on the button. It's not a major for me as I use Wallabag to read long-form articles.

Once again, big thanks, your browser is now set as the default browser on my Android eink devices.
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omneity View Post
You're making great progress with this, well done. The reading mode works well, thanks for implementing this, it's something that Anroid eink reader manufacturers oddly omit.

The only small issue I can find now is the save to PDF option does not work on my Likebook Mars or my Onyx Boox Note Pro - nothing appears to happen when I click on the button. It's not a major for me as I use Wallabag to read long-form articles.

Once again, big thanks, your browser is now set as the default browser on my Android eink devices.
Hi, glad to hear that it's useful for you. About the print feature, it depends on the Eink device OS customization. It worked on my Onyx Nova3 Color, and Note3, but not Max3 (older system comparing to Note3 and Nova3). Seems some components are missing from the device.
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Old 04-02-2021, 08:04 AM   #10
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I tried this.
I found the settings awkward. The menu buttons too small on a 7.8" Mars eInk with Android 8.x
Why does it open with Google Search? It's not what it was because it's poisoned by their own activities and it's privacy busting.
The Toolbar, especially URL, should optionally be at the top. There is no question of doing other than page turns one handed on most eink. Phone shaped ones are very rare.

Does it actually paginate a web page like the browser on the Kindle DX and DXG? I gave up before getting that far. Unless it converts scrolling to pages there is no point?

Does it freeze animated gif and autoplay video at the first frame?
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Old 04-02-2021, 11:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
I tried this.
I found the settings awkward. The menu buttons too small on a 7.8" Mars eInk with Android 8.x
Why does it open with Google Search? It's not what it was because it's poisoned by their own activities and it's privacy busting.
The Toolbar, especially URL, should optionally be at the top. There is no question of doing other than page turns one handed on most eink. Phone shaped ones are very rare.

Does it actually paginate a web page like the browser on the Kindle DX and DXG? I gave up before getting that far. Unless it converts scrolling to pages there is no point?

Does it freeze animated gif and autoplay video at the first frame?
Hi, glad you tried it and had some feedbacks.

I admit, the setting UIs are not perfect. Still trying to improve it.

I also have Boyue likebook mars; and found the toolbar or menu icons are just fine for me. In fact, I used relative size for icons, so the physical icon size are all the same across different devices. You can check the photo here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mu5eJBoTt1TcRZHz8

As for Google Search, you can always replace it to your preference in Settings -> Advanced -> Search Engine.

About the toolbar with URL, now it only positioned at the bottom, maybe later on I will add an option to allow users to place it on top, although I think it's harder to use in that way. On toolbar, I also put so many functions that are quite useful for content browsing (change font to bold, change font sizes, reader mode, enable touch page-turn feature); so that's why I still keep it in the bottom. It's not only for one-hand usage.

Kindle DX, it's a device so long ago; I can't remember how it worked in its browser (although I also owned one as well, but due to battery broken, I can't use it anymore). Too bad that you haven't tried this far. The touch page-turn feature is right on the toolbar, once you enable it, you'll see how it works.

In the end, it does not do anything to freeze animated gif nor autoplay video. If you found some websites that this browser can't function well, please comment the url here. I will try to debug what went wrong, and see if I can fix it.

Thanks for trying it and give these precious feedback. I'll keep improving it.
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Old 04-02-2021, 11:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
Does it actually paginate a web page like the browser on the Kindle DX and DXG? I gave up before getting that far. Unless it converts scrolling to pages there is no point?
Oh, by the way, I recorded a video to show most of the features I added to the original browser. If you wanna see how touch page-turn works, you can check the youtube video around 2:10. https://youtu.be/Uxkr1JqRgKU?t=128
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Old 04-02-2021, 12:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kandwo View Post
What does reading mode do exactly? Is it like a "do not disturb" mode while in the browser? Or is it even more restrictive?
It's a mode to remove most unessential components on web content(header, footer, sidebar, ads, etc), and only keep main content with clear text, so that it's easier to read.
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Old 04-03-2021, 09:41 AM   #14
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It's a mode to remove most unessential components on web content(header, footer, sidebar, ads, etc), and only keep main content with clear text, so that it's easier to read.
Oh, I see, so like the function that Firefox has? Sounds great - I'll try it out!

There's a problem with installing/updating the app through Aurora Store on my A5 Pro. I get an error message stating that the package doesn't exist.

I hope it gets available on F-droid soon, as I prefer keeping most of my apps there.
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Kao View Post
Oh, by the way, I recorded a video to show most of the features I added to the original browser. If you wanna see how touch page-turn works, you can check the youtube video around 2:10. https://youtu.be/Uxkr1JqRgKU?t=128
I find static images & text FAR better. I can only watch entertainment video and only from Broadcast and DVD etc, we don't have good enough internet for much streaming video.

I've seen so many video in the past far inferior to screen shots (maybe annotated) and text that now I don't bother. Sorry!

I will look at it again. I didn't uninstall it. I did switch from Firefox to Breeze on my Tablet when they blocked all plugins and put the tool bar/URL at the bottom, Now they have added the option to have it at the top and add some plugins (like NoScript).

On the PC/Laptop I use Waterfox Classic with Theme Restorer and uMatrix to block malicious Javascript. The desktop Firefox is now basically too much like a Tablet App and Chrome.
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