Ever since the release of the original M5Paper, the community has been pointing out certain issues with the approach and components used. A really good counter-example was LilyGo's T5-4.7, which presumably used the same (or very similar) EPD, with touch and BMS in tow, plus a number of extra features. It also had some downsides (e.g. using a port multiplexer to communicate with the EPD directly, taking away processing power from the ESP32).
Since, LilyGo has updated their model with the ESP32-S3, with a slightly revamped design, and a similar price point (albeit without touch built in or a case).
I would love to see a next-gen model by M5Stack to be frank. M5 products feel more finished, ready-to-use for tinkerers and DIYers, and the support tends to be better as well. Simply said, I could take an M5Paper and slap it on my wall, and with some minimal coding I'd have a home control panel. With LilyGo products, I'd need to work around their odd design choices (e.g. USB port location), 3D print a case, and so on.
So to summarise, here's my "wish"list of what I'd love to see in an upgraded version of the M5Paper:
- ESP32-S3 module as core
- Direct USB connection (incredibly useful for e.g. CircuitPython!)
- A better EPD controller, preferably open source, and flashable from the ESP core (an RP2040 would work quite well for this purpose I think)
- A better BMS/fuel gauge (voltage based calculations are incredibly rudimentary)
- Proper deep sleep on the ESP cores
- USB-C port moved to the center of the side it resides in
- The three-direction side button replaced with a potentiometer wheel, with an optional click (or alternatively, an "A Button" on the side
Optional upgrades that would be welcome:
- Extra sensors built-in (e.g. brightness sensor)
- Front light on the EPD
- Second USB-C port for host mode
- POGO pins and magnetic mounting, similar to the "base" unit of a Core, or rather, the magnetic adapter, where the extra ports (Ports A, B and C) can be moved to (would be perfect for a wall mounted unit that can be pulled off for controls, and when reinserted, would charge and provide extra sensors).
There's been rumours that you guys are working on it, but it's been nearly three years since the release of the OG M5Paper, and aside from two very minor iterations, we've seen no updates...