California Platin’

It only took fifteen years for e-ink to find another use besides the driving technology behind the Kindle and other eBook readers. A bill was signed into law recently in California allowing this tech to do something that will make life easier for everyone: be a license plate. Jonathan Gitlin at Ars Technica has more.

Currently, there's just a single approved digital license plate manufacturer, Reviver. The company's product, called the RPlate, uses a monochromatic e-ink screen protected by a lens or cover that Reviver says is "six times stronger than glass." The plate also includes Bluetooth low energy and LTE "for low power IoT," powered by a five-year battery. The RPlate displays the vehicle's license number but can also switch to display other messages via a smartphone app—information showing that the vehicle is stolen or displaying Amber Alert information, for example.

In the past, Reviver sold RPlates to customers; the version we tested in 2018 cost $700 plus a $7-per-month service fee. But now the company has moved to a subscription model, which for a personal vehicle will cost $19.95 per month for 48 months, or $215.40 a year for four years.

Ars Technica

The one thing that is a snag for me on this is the subscription. My hope is this cost will be offset by the annual DMV charges for car registrations. If California reimburses drivers or lowers other required fees to offset this, that would be great. However, paying nearly $5 a month (if you opt for a 4-year plan) extra simply for the pleasure of having this type of plate, I think that's a terrible idea.

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