e-book future takes a giant step closer

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/24/04 09:51 PM

Sony announced that they will be releasing an e-book based on electronic ink technology in April. Japan only, at first, but it will no doubt make its way here soon.

So, what do you think, Chris Wasshuber? This sounds like a great device to me. Note that it will display 10,000 pages on a single set of 4 AAA batteries.
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Postby Dave Egleston » 03/25/04 12:43 AM

They're on the right path

This device addresses most the problems I have with eBooks

Didn't give the physical dimensions, but it looks about right

Here's hoping for the best

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Postby CHRIS » 03/25/04 04:24 AM

This looks absolutely wonderful. I can't wait to get this reader. The e-ink screen is a huge step forward in terms of look and feel of the screen as well as battery life. And these are the two largest complaints voiced about ebooks. Actually I tried a few days ago to get a prototype of this e-ink/Philips screen, because I have some ideas how to make a better ebook reading device. Haven't been successfull so far.

My only concern, since this is proprietary technology, is about the price. What will such a PDA cost? I assume that they will start out fairly high. So for the next 2 to 3 years I don't anticipate a huge impact. But if it is indeed a better screen, then it will break through eventually, significantly impacting ebooks. I also hope that Sony will keep the system open for independent software development.

I am excited.

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Postby Bob Walder » 04/20/04 01:24 AM

The words "Sony" and "open" do not go together in the same sentence - look what they did with MP3 devices - completely proprietary technology requiring you to re-rip your CDs or convert your MP3s to their closed format.

Expect the same here, would be my guess - but someone with a bit more consideration for end-user requirements is bound to use the Philips display in their own device in the not too distant future.

As with most things of this nature, cost is likely to be high initially - I would guess around the same price as a high-end PocketPC. BUT, to catch on, this technology needs to be available to the masses, since it is a single-function device (well, I guess they could build standard PDA functionality in there, but that is not really the point of this device). Prices would drop fairly quickly.

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Postby CHRIS » 04/20/04 07:07 AM

Bob, I was optimistic. There is always hope that Sony sees the value in open products. Never thought that IBM would support Linux and Apache.

An ebook-reader/PDA should cost less than $100. The problem with most PDAs today is that they pack in too much functionality to satisfy every need, making these devices very expensive.

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Postby Bob Walder » 04/20/04 10:49 AM

Chris,

My point exactly - they need to resist the urge to pack in too much functionality and keep the cost down.

But then you will have those who complain that they have to carry TWO computing devices around, so why can't their eBook reader sync with Outlook.... difficult to draw the line

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Postby CHRIS » 04/20/04 11:18 AM

I think price is still the overriding adoption hurdle. A device that costs $500 even if it is a phone/PDA/MP3-player/gameboy/video-player won't see too many sales. So for the time being the best we can do is create a device that does one thing very good and cheaply. Unfortunately, on the ebook-reader side not much has been offered. The only one that looked like a good compromise, but was killed later, was the Rocketebook.

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