The days of soggy newspapers and inky hands could soon be over, claims Acorn.
The Cambridge-based company has developed a prototype of an interactive newspaper which it believes will eventually take the place of traditional newspapers.
Described as a portable multimedia viewer, Acorn's NewsPAD is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper and has a high-resolution colour SVGA matrix LCD screen.
The system relies on information supplied by publishing houses and is currently on trial with Spanish publisher Edicones Primara Plana. No UK pilot schemes are yet in place.
Users control the system via a touch-sensitive pad. The information displayed can be tailored to personal taste and could include motion video and audio, colour still images, animated information sequences, as well as the more traditional newspaper text and graphics.
Acorn has developed a number of optional extras for the NewsPAD, including a microphone and compact colour motion video camera.
Tim Caspell, European project manager at Acorn's Risc Technologies division, which is developing the system, predicts the NewsPAD will help bring about the biggest shake-up in the newspaper industry for the past 100 years.
"Devices such as the NewsPAD will affect the entire time-dependent print media such as magazines and newspapers," he claimed. "The consumer will have ultimate flexibility and be able to access information as and when they require it. The relationship between the information supplier and the reader will be turned on its head."
However, Acorn concedes the prototype is far from perfect, saying it is too heavy and bulky to go on general sale at the moment.
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