Corey Stephan, Ph.D.

E-Ink, Education Technology, Free & Open Source Software

How to Extend the QuirkLogic Papyr’s Useful Life with F-Droid (no rooting or hacking required)

Corey Stephan


In my recent deep review of the QuirkLogic Papyr E-Ink tablet, I purposefully focused on the device’s stock settings. Since I promised the folks at QuirkLogic that I would provide them with extensive critical feedback, I needed to keep my feedback focused on the device exactly as they configured it.

Yet, each of us who owns a QuirkLogic Papyr faces an impending doom as QuirkLogic’s announced March 1, 2023 closing date for its proprietary, cloud-based collaborative platform called InkWorks is almost here. I hope that this short tutorial will come as a saving grace for at least one fellow Papyr owner.

After reading the announcement from QuirkLogic that InkWorks would be taken offline, and, therefore, that a large amount of my Papyr’s functionality would be eliminated overnight, I went on a quest to find a viable solution. I turned to the dpt-tools GitHub repository, wherein the world’s leading Sony Digital Paper, and, therefore, Fujitsu Quaderno A4 (gen. 1), mooInk Pro A4 (gen. 1), and, indeed, Papyr tinkerers are to be found (since, as I repeated a few times in my full-length review, all of those devices are actually the exact same, simply running different software), asking if there might be a reasonable way for me to re-flash the Papyr with Sony’s or Fujitsu’s respective operating system. I wrote an email to the head of that repository to ask for his assistance directly. I wrote multiple emails to the QuirkLogic team and tried calling their office to ask for help from of them. I asked for assistance in the official Discord server of My Deep Guide, the Youtube channel and services of the well-established E-Ink reviewer Vojislav Dimitrijevic. Nobody responded with any ideas. If someone reading this blog post should have any better option(s) for extending the Papyr’s useful life than what I outline here, please leave a comment below.

In the face of collective silence, I started thinking: Surely, there must be a reason why full Google Chrome is installed rather than any more sensible Web browser for this device, and there must be a reason why Google Drive is one of the only two options (along with Dropbox) for it to sync files. Is this simply a heavily modified version of Google’s Android? After all, the device at least appeared, albeit as completely inaccessible, when I ran the Android Debug Bridge (adb) inside my terminal emulator in (Manjaro) GNU/Linux.

Without any other ideas, I opened Google Chrome to try downloading F-Droid, the free and open source Android application that is itself a catalogue of free and open source applications for Android. After the download, I was presented with an option to click “Install.” One week later, without needing to do any rooting or hacking whatsoever, I have a device that is considerably more useful than it ever was with QuirkLogic’s official software.

Simplest F-Droid Setup Tutorial

DISCLAIMER: You choose to modify your own device at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any problems that might arise. I do not recommend modifying anything past the point of being able to reset the Papyr to factory settings by holding the Reset button and/or selecting the “Reset” option inside QuirkLogic’s Settings menu, nor (of course) am I able to suggest that any attempted reset at any stage in your attempted modifications is certain to be successful.

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Navigate to
  3. Download F-Droid. Since Chrome is prone to crashing at this stage, you might need to power down the Papyr completely, turn it on again, and launch Chrome (and only Chrome) freshly before going straight to Eventually, the download will work. (I am thankful for the feedback of someone who followed this tutorial before I added this notice and had to resort to several full reboots in order to get the download to work correctly.) Do the same if anything should fail during any of the opening steps of this tutorial.
  4. Install F-Droid.
  5. Immediately after installation finishes, without closing anything, launch F-Droid by clicking “Open.”
  6. Once F-Droid has finished updating its own repository, the first two things that you will need to install on your device are (1) a new application launcher and (2) a way to change the Papyr’s home button’s behavior so that it launches the new application launcher. The QuirkLogic Launcher (titled “QL Launcher,” if I remember correctly — I uninstalled it entirely a few days ago) does not work with any custom applications. I tried several launchers, including the famous ReLaunchX (which is specifically designed for E-Ink tablets — more on this in the next section), but the application launcher available on F-Droid that works the best overall on the Papyr is the radically simple but entirely functional Text Launcher.
    Download and install Text Launcher (here on F-Droid), and then install Key Mapper (here on F-Droid).
  7. Shutdown the device.
  8. Turn on the device. You will be greeted with the option to use either the QuirkLogic Launcher or the Text Launcher, as well as whether or not you wish to keep that setting permanent. Choose the Text Launcher, and keep that setting permanent. You should be greeted with a plain list of the applications that are currently installed on the device.
  9. Tap “Key Mapper” to launch the Key Mapper application. Tap the “+” at the bottom of the screen to create a new action. Tap “Record trigger,” and tap the Home button to record that as the trigger. Tap “add action” to add an action to it, and choose “Open Text Launcher.” Save, and then check that tapping the home button now actually opens the Text Launcher. If you should be greeted with the QuirkLogic Launcher instead, since that seems to be hard-coded into the firmware, do not panic; reboot the device, enter the Text Launcher again, and then hold your finger on “QL Launcher” to be greeted with the Android settings menu to uninstall it. Reboot again, and you should be just fine. (Do not worry; everything from QuirkLogic still works properly even without the official QL Launcher.)
  10. Congratulations. You now have a customizable Android tablet rather than the entirely locked down device that you purchased from QuirkLogic.

Getting Started

Few Android applications are developed for devices with large, high resolution displays, even fewer are developed with E-Ink panels in mind, and even fewer will install at all on the Papyr’s custom version of an outdated release of Android (I think that the operating system is based on Android 5 or 6). Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned over my days of tinkering with this setup. Unless otherwise noted, every application that I discuss here is both libre and installable inside F-Droid on the Papyr device.

Necessities: Adding features that should be on the Papyr by default

Niceties: Improving the experience of using the Papyr

Extras: A few additional goodies to help you get started

Other Tips & Notes



  1. This is super helpful, thanks for writing it up! There’s so little other info online.

    Do you have advice on a new workflow for actually annotating and sharing docs, esp PDFs? Are you still using the QL Ink app and if so do you have simpler ways to do import/export?

    1. I am glad that you have found my tutorial to be helpful, Joe.

      I do still use QL Ink for my .pdf annotating, but I do not do so because I have any special admiration for this particular software application over and against any other one. Rather, I simply cannot find another workable option for the Papyr. The problem is that there are not any applications that I can find other than the built-in QL Ink and (QuirkLogic’s) Book Reader that are optimized for this particular device. I have tried several handwriting, note taking, and document annotating programs, but I have not found a single one that accepts the device’s stylus input without terrible latency and/or gross inaccuracy.

      If someone should find a way to install Sony’s software applications for the Digital Paper onto the QuirkLogic Papyr (which runs Sony’s own customized Android operating system), *please* let us know by posting a comment here.

      There is one special trick that I have found to make it so that imports into QL Ink (not exports from QL Ink — only imports) are not exclusively tied to Google Drive and/or Dropbox. With the Papyr mounted as a network drive in a standard file manager (I happen to use pcmanfm-qt mostly nowadays) via FTP, I place the .pdf file of my choosing inside the “QLDocuments” folder (which is accessible via multiple paths, but I tend to use /storage/sdcard0/QLDocuments). Then, I create a new Workbook, and when I click “Import,” I am able to select that .pdf file from the Local directory. (The .pdf file is not available as a Workbook on its own, of course, but it becomes available inside the “Import” menu.)

      File transferring and management via FTP (using FTP Server [Free]) is, as I discussed above, an essential improvement to quality of life while using the Papyr. Being able to rename Workbooks, rearrange folders, etc. all inside my desktop file manager has saved a huge amount of time while I have been reorganizing the device in anticipation of the closure of InkWorks (which will be happening tomorrow). It is also useful to be able to do things like drag and drop .apk files into the “Download” directory (ReLaunchX reliably triggers the application installer). FTP opens a lot of possibilities.

      Oddly, I still cannot find where the imported Book Reader files are housed (even after having run multiple recursive searches with several different query options). My assumption is that they are hidden inside a folder that requires root permission to access.

      Anyway, Joe, please let me know if you should find any other important tips or tricks to keep this device working in professional environments.

      Deus te benedicat,
      Corey Stephan

    2. dear Stephan,
      Thank you very much for your blog. I installed all tools mentionned by you. I made a big mistake. I did a factory reset.
      Now I have an unknown page with a document reader and stylus doesn’t work anymore or not recognized.
      Can you help me to regain my papyr environnement?

      Thank you
      Best regards

      1. Thank you, Farid, for commenting. Unfortunately, as I posted plainly at the start of the tutorial itself, any modifications that you might choose to perform are at your own risk. If the factory reset did not work properly, and your device is bricked/locked, seeing as the QuirkLogic team has closed its website and all communication, then you might not have any reasonable option(s). I suppose that you could try doing another factory reset, but, of course, that also might not work.

        1. Thank you Stephan.It seems completely locked and nothing occured after many reset and combinations.
          I think there is no way.
          Maybe the solution is to find an used one with broken display and to build one with parts.
          It’s really a pity that Quirklogic team has closed and they disable the usb data functionality on the device.
          I will necessary have to buy a new one but I don’t know which one to choice;

  2. Hi…

    Excellent job in investigating alternative ways of using the Papyr, which is let down by its own software.

    It makes one wonder why on earth vendors spend so much time trying to hide the original OS (Android in this case) behind their own front end, instead of building on top of the OS.

    Maybe we should ask QuirkLogic to open the software.

    Could you imagine any way of exploiting the FTP Server for uploading PDFs to the Papyr that can be opened in the Book Reader? I presume this is not possible, because apparently they index content through a database.

    We could use the device as an e-reader without annotation features, if there was any PDF reader that could access local storage. MuPDF does not seem to have such a capability.



    1. I am glad that you appreciate the tutorial, PNS.

      MuPDF can access local storage. It gives that option at each fresh opening.

      As for my ideas for a .pdf reading workflow, please read my response to Joe H.’s comment above.

      Of course, there are many .pdf readers available for Android. Please let us know which one should work the best for you (and why).

      Deus te benedicat,
      Corey Stephan

  3. Hi…

    Yes, MuPDF does access local storage. Somehow it took it quite a bit of time to do it in my installation, but it now works.

    It is not of much use, though. After opening a book, there is no way of getting to any menu to open another.

    By the way, I installed Open Launcher and it is a bit more elegant than Text Launcher. Fonts and icons are still small (despite setting font size to Huge in the Android Settings menu), but at least it is a GUI.

    So, we are now at the situation that we can upload PDF documents to Papyr via the FTP Server (free), open them individually via muPDF and having to go through the launcher again, to swith to another document. Very cumbersome process.

    You can go to file:///sdcard in Chrome and see the local storage directory tree, but trying to open a PDF from there just crashes Chrome.

    Maybe we should petition QuirkLogic to have someone spend a few hours to “open” their software, i.e. at least allow the Home button to go to the home page of the launcher (instead of always going to QL Launcher) and add F-Droid as an icon to the QL Launcher Home screen. Also, adding an option to “Download” documents from the local storage (instead of only GDrive and Dropbox) would be nice.

    With these 3 simple changes, the Papyr could become a much more useful device than what it currently is.

    Again, thanks for pioneering this effort.


    1. Thank you again, PNS. Yes, I agree that the device is still cumbersome to use even after ‘unlocking’ it with F-Droid.

      As for choice of launcher, as I noted in the tutorial, I actually prefer Dmitriy Simbiriatin’s Simple Ink Launcher (with everything scaled to the maximum possible sizes) to the Text Launcher. I recommend the Text Launcher in the tutorial because it is easy to install immediately after installing F-Droid and actually gets the job done (unlike almost every other launcher that is available in F-Droid). The Simple Ink Launcher, however, almost looks and runs as though it were designed for the Papyr.

      Please keep me posted with what else you find to be helpful as you continue refining your workflow. Cheers.

  4. Hello there sir

    Thanks for this guide I really appreciate your effort to help users of this device. I have one question.

    How do I prevent my browser (I’m using E Ink Bro as per your recommendation) from crashing when trying to download Simple Ink Launcher from bitbucket?

    Every attempt to begin the download ends with the app crashing on the Papyr.

    1. George Mikhael, I actually prefer to transfer .apk files to the Papyr via FTP (the default “Downloads” folder is convenient) and then open them for installation inside ReLaunchX (used as a file browser — not an application launcher). Happy tinkering.

  5. Fantastic, life-saving article. I didn’t open my Papyr for a while and was shocked to see it was discontinued. Thank you so much Corey, I am sure this helped more than “one fellow Papyr owner”.

  6. When trying to install F-droid from the pre-downloaded apk (after chrome has crashed and I’ve rebooted), I get “Parse Error There was a problem parsing the package”

    Can anyone duplicated this behaviour, and is there a way round the problem? I’ve tryed rebooting about 10 times, with no joy.

    1. It is nice to receive another message from you.

      Regretfully, the Kindle application does not run smoothly on the QuirkLogic Papyr. I do not recommend bothering with trying to install it unless you only wish to use it for the occasional quick textual lookup.

  7. Hello Corey, I have tried your procedure to download (and install) f-droid, and when I download it has crashed (5 times so far), when I power down I get the welcome screen, I close it and then go back to f-droid, when I try to download again see get a screen asking if I want to keep downloading fdroid(6).apk. Seems to me like fdroid has been downloaded 5 times someplace, can I find it or do I keep trying to power down and download until it doesn’t crash and I can try to install?

  8. following up. I did actually download the f-droid, app. WHen I rebooted I just had to go back into chrome and launch it and get it from the downloads and launch it there. so far so good, I got keymapper to work, I think i will stop there for tonight. Thank you

  9. Hello!
    Can anybody confirm if, after the Quircklogic servers shutdown, it is still possibile to read PDF or Epub files from Google Drive ? Thank you.

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