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Sony E-Ink slate concept is mega-thin, built for learning

The mooted new tablet is roughly A4 size, and takes doodling in class to the next level.

Idle doodling in class has just been taken to the next level, as Sony reveals an A4-size E-Ink tablet that -- it hopes -- will become the future of education.

The 'digital paper' concept measures 13.3 inches, making it significantly bigger than most tablets, and is a mere 6.8mm thick. That's thinner than super-slender smart phones like the 7.6mm iPhone 5.

An accompanying stylus can be used to scribble on the touchscreen, which is equipped with Sony's swanky electronic paper and has an impressive 1,200x1,600-pixel resolution.

Best known for living on Amazon's Kindle ebook readers, electronic ink only sucks up power when it's refreshing what's on screen. That makes it much better for battery life -- Sony reckons this new toy would last a whopping three weeks before needing to suck on its charging cable.

Sony says editing PDF documents will be on the cards, as well as Wi-Fi capability for sharing your pointless doodles crucial documents. A microSD card slot will give you plenty of storage space.

You might wonder why anyone would prefer this Magna Doodle over, say, a laptop or iPad. I'd wager that the simple components could make this new concept a good deal cheaper than more advanced rivals -- something that could make it more likely to be bought in bulk by schools or colleges.

Sony says the concept will be trialled in universities, and aims to start making money from the device in the 2013 fiscal year, which means before April 2014.

Is Sony's new slate a teacher's pet? Or would you rather sit at the back of the class with a tablet or laptop? Let me know in the comments, or on our learned Facebook wall.