Business users overwhelmed with paper will soon have a new way to read, annotate, and share documents electronically using Sony’s Digital Paper.

Designed to increase productivity and streamline collaboration in paper-intensive environments, Digital Paper will appeal to a range of sectors including legal, higher education, local government as well as board rooms everywhere.

The tablet is expected to hit shelves in May with a price tag of around £660.

[themecolor]A4-sized touch screen[/themecolor]

Sony has worked with e-book display specialist E-Ink to develop its latest super-thin tablet. The Digital Paper device is approximately 7mm thick and offers readers an A4-sized touchscreen. Most of its rival products, including the Amazon Kindle and Kobo’s Touch, come with smaller, 6-inch displays.

According to Sony, the reader has been designed with office use in mind and consumes minimal power. The company also says that a single charge should last for around three weeks – considerably longer than most other tablet computers.

[themecolor]Plastic screen half the weight of glass[/themecolor]

While E-Ink displays have been used on a number of devices in the past, this will be the first to utilise the latest version of the manufacturer’s technology, which is called Mobius.

In the past, the screens have been built using glass, which adds to both weight and thickness. With plastic now used, however, the weight can be cut by as much as 50 per cent.

Sony’s head of Digital Paper Solutions, Bob Nell, thinks the release will be particularly beneficial for office workers. He was quoted by as saying: “This is a true replacement for the vast amounts of paper that continue to clutter many offices and institutions

“It is very easy to use and optimized for reading and annotating contracts, white papers, scholarly articles and legislation. The ‘notepad’ feature will have universal appeal, and notes can be shared with clients, colleagues, and co-workers.”

While the display responds to touch, it has been designed to behave in a similar way to paper. For example, the user can rest their hand on it while writing without the screen changing.