Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wanted: An E-reader

Sure the big dog is the Kindle, but I don't like it.

I dreamed up just such a device back when I was in High School (It was Dual Screen, Color, and Used a Stylus and was approximately 11" x 8.5" when open, and the hinge could open all the way so it could be used a book folded back on itself. One screen could be used as a keyboard.) I have an Obsession for books, especially art reference books. The Kindle is missing certain things that I would like to have and I really hate that keyboard that's tacked onto the bottom.

I've hacked some e-reading capability onto my Zune, it works but isn't the greatest solution.

I was recently "forced" to upgrade my phone and am now using a Sony Ericsson. In the past I've liked my Ericsson phones, but I am an avid hater of the Sony Brand so I'm having a Schizophrenic relationship with this phone.

It took me a month to find a way to put the scriptures on the phone, and in the process of doing so I discovered many a way of putting books onto the phone—none of which were acceptable to me until I found this site presented by a Barnes and Noble affiliate. Each book is a Java application. I installed almost 200 books on my phone the night I found this site.

I was curious as to Kindle alternatives after doing so; I knew that Sony has a reader—I've already mentioned how much I hate Sony. I did however look at the Sony product, and it's not too bad, it has a lot of the features that the Kindle Lacks that I would absolutely "need," such as native PDF support and the lack of an unnecessary keyboard that takes up a considerable portion of the device in favor of touch control. But it's a smaller (6") device and I like the larger size devices because they display PDF files better.

I looked around and didn't find a lot of devices, but I did find one that fits the bill as far as features I like. The iRex Digital Reader 1000S. It's a larger screened device, has Wacom® Penabled® input (meaning you can write on it and use it as a digital sketch pad), supports PDF natively, bluetooth, usb, SDHC memory. Of course that means it has a slightly higher price tag.

Funny thing is, when I originally was researching this I couldn't find much. Then I was looking things up so I could write this I found the Mobile Read Wiki and their excellent E-Book Reader Matrix showing me that there were a lot more choices than I originally found—but cementing that I like the iRex brand. However, I also learned as I was writing this that Asus announced yesterday that they are planning to make a dual screen color e-reader, and that one side of it can be used as a keyboard priced at $165 which is cheaper than any other reader on the market—but still outside the sweet spot discovered by a marketing survey indicating $50–100 would make the market explode. That will be their high end model, they also plan to make a cheaper single screen edition that will be priced at $99 making it the cheapest e-reader on the market. Only issue with that is that they do not appear to be using the easy on the eyes e-ink screen technology (as far as the released photo—chances are that's just mocked up anyway and may not accurately depict the final product, but since we're referring to a comment made to a newspaper combined with prototype photos from a while ago, we'll have to wait for further announcement).

It's still out of my budget for the time being.


  1. I like the IREX one, that's nice!

  2. Give it 10 years...right now the ebook readers are full of trade-offs.

    eInk doesn't exist in color, so if you want color you have to go to LCD. This defeats most of the things you want in an eBook reader (paper-like text display, no need for backlight, absurd battery life -- the screen only needs energy to refresh).

    eink has a really slow refresh rate. I think this is why so few of the readers are using touch screens.

    The ones that do have touch screens...the contrast of the display usually suffers for it.

    Price? Well the eInk display is the expensive part.

    I too would love an ebook reader. Eventually they'll get to the point where I jump on the bandwagon I'm sure....and then 5 or 6 years later they'll be way better for half the price. Sort of like I paid $300 for my first iPod, 30 gig hard-drive based thing, and $249 (Unsubsidized AT&T) for my iPhone...which can do a heck of a lot more than my first iPod could.

  3. What's with you and Ty and your gadget needs?

  4. Well, by the time I can actually justify buying one of these things the technology will be MUCH further along.