eReaders (the bigger picture)

With 2010 looking to be great year for the eReader I thought I would have a look at the some of the lets say “one that have not been released yet and the ones that are a bit different” to the standard eReaders that are on the market.

And also an underlining point is that apart from seeing which new technology is breaking through there is a serious note that is connected to the paperless office and the paperless system.

You will notice that the newer designs are at last (up to point) starting to design the product with the users perception in mind to how the user will perceive the usability of the product.

I have been trying to get this point over for some time know, (if you get a minute have a look at the social and cultural section of my blog)

Plastic Logic Que 

 

Developed by scientists at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory, Plastic Logic uses flexible plastic technology that has been in development for 10 years now. The company plans to introduce two different models of the Plastic Logic Que E-Reader: one with a price tag of $649 and featuring Bluetooth, Wi-Fi capability and 4 GB memory and another priced at $799 having Wi-Fi, 3G wireless and 8GB memory. Both models don’t have memory card slots. QUE is slated to be sold through Barnes and Noble’s retail stores.

Positioned as a paperless briefcase, Que is one of the largest e-readers in the market. Less than 1/3″ thick, Que has a width of 8.5″ and a length of 11″ with a weight of 17.2 ounces. Screen measures 10.7″ diagonally, with a display resolution of 960 x 1280 at 150 ppi. Strangely, it supports only 8 levels of greyscale in comparison to many of the newer e-book readers that support 16.

Apart from Plastic Logic affirming that the screen is shatterproof, a gesture-based captive touch screen is used for navigation with a virtual keyboard for taking notes. Plastic Logic has positioned the product for business professionals due to large screen and its support for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and PDF functions.

It is quite similar to Kindle DX in that it allows you to read newspapers, periodicals, business documents, textbooks, and PDF files along with e-books and text files as well. AT&T will provide both 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities depending on the model you choose. And since AT&T also has a presence in other countries, there sure exists an opportunity for expansion, though for now, the device is going to be limited to within US shores only.

Many big Magazines and Retailers have signed partnership agreements with the Que such as USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Oakland Tribune, the Huffington Post, The Sporting News Today, along with magazines from Barron’s, Fast Company, Forbes, MIT’s Technology Review, Popular Science, and IDG publication titles, including Macworld, PC World, CIO, Network World, and Computerworld.

The Que also reads a versatile amount of formats such as EPUB, PDF, HTML, Visio, RTF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX.

This probably is the most expensive of the new generation of e-readers coming out. But it remains at the top of the heap next to the Skiff as two of the most innovative and versatile electronic readers to debut this years. If you have a large pocket book, the Skiff may be the right choice for you.

Skiff eReader

The Skiff E-Reader has a very generous display area, which stands at 11.5 inches with a resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels. A stainless steel foil forms the base of the Skiff e-reader, which imparts a shatter-proof, crack-proof and a flexible characteristic to the device. Designed by LG Display, it incorporates touch screen features that can accept both finger and stylus input. The e-reader measure 9 inches x 11 inches and its thickness is just a shade over 1/4 inch. And at just over 17 1/2 ounces, the Skiff e-reader is lighter than the Kindle DX, which tips the scale at 18.9 ounces.

The Skiff will feature both Wi-Fi connectivity as well as 3G via Sprint. It is equipped with an internal memory that has a capacity of 4GB while the SD-card slot means, there is room for still more.

About its main source of content, what we know right now is that it is going to be the Skiff Store, which will look after the entire spectrum of selling and distributing newspapers, magazines, books, blogs and other content from multiple publishers across a range of devices. It is also likely that the newspapers and periodicals that is to be distributed by Skiff will also feature advertising, something that is lacking in Amazon’s Kindle versions and which the publishers will surely like to have included. Kindle newspapers also miss out on most of the photos, graphs, and so on. Skiff e-reader scores in this area also as their versions will have most of the graphics of the actual paper editions.

The Skiff as a unique design, it looks like to be the top of the class in far of a huge screen with tremendous resolution. We also like the fact the entire screen is touch screen, which means unlike the Kindle and other E-Readers it does not have a ton of buttons. Skiff has formed a relationship with Sprint and Samsung which means most Sprint stores will have this in stock, making purchase and discounts on the unit with a long term 3G package may lower the price drastically for citizens of the USA. The Price and release date have not been disclosed but rumours abound of a July Release date with a price tag of around $500.00

Hanlin V9 eReader

Compared to the Sony PRS-505, it’s definitely bigger. The V9 also adds new functions such as WiFi, CDMA/EVDO and handwriting that can help accessing e-books, newspapers, RSS and blogs through the Internet.

Supported file formats are the same as for the V3, including various open formats such as Epub and PPT. And language support covers almost every corner of the world.

The most intriguing thing is the effect of the A4 screen, allowing without zooming to display A4-sized PDF file almost as clear as on paper; only the font size may look a little small. With zoom-in (half page will be displayed on one screen), the font in turn is bigger than the original font of the paper.

The V9 also has a stylus; it realizes the click function, and allows making notes while reading. Otherwise, the software and hardware are about the same as for the V3.

According to Jinke, PVI can not yet mass-produce 9.7-inch displays. The MP is delayed until at least June; also the controller designed by E Ink still has a bug. Epson is busy with designing a new controller; the ASIC can be available in next month. The price is not set yet, probably somewhere between $599 and $699.

Entourage Edge

 

We are still trying to make our minds up on this one , is it a e reader or is it a note pad …..you decide !!!!!

 It does have two full screens on which actual work can be done

Can run Android applications and be used to browse the web

Wi-Fi built-in, so you’re not stuck relying on 3G

Two built-in microphones for noise-cancelation, but unfortunately no synchronization with notes

Note taking can be done using a stylus

Switching between the screens allows for websites to be loaded on one screen and “pushed” to the other

Just as with most other readers, you can highlight, annotate, and bookmark

It’s three whole pounds and ridiculously bulky

$500 price tag.

The Edge shows us what happens when you try to make a reader into what it’s not—a pseudo netbook or tablet

Final Thoughts

If these are the pointers to the future of the eReaders and we take a closer look at the skiff, and the overall concept with regards to the basic design, this has to be the one to watch, apart from totally new technology the overall reader frame work within it’s design parameters are far reaching than the other eReaders available on the market.

The reason why I say this is that it has been designed preciously for what the user has perceived it to do, no large back boards to the edge, no fancy button control on the bottom of the frame, it’s all touch technology and all you do is flick through each page of what you are reading, it not perfect in my view but it’s a step in the right direction. I still do not understand why designers over design new technology these days.

The days will come when after a hard days work or while you are at work and you want to read the daily paper situated in your region or even a national magazine all you do is subscribe to that publication and up it pops into your skiff or plastic logic Que and you read it, no fancy networking, no fancy gadgets, no nonsense frame work just clear and easy to read print that every one will want to read.  

One final reminder, if you want an e-reader that will allow you to read the books not only on the device you has now, but on any future devices you get. That is why it is important to buy an e-reader that uses the open source ePub format. Most of the top 5 eagerly anticipated E-Readers all read the ePub format.

If i said that these are a flop and will not hit our shops etc, well you will be right to say that, but flop or not i do think the skiff and also the Que will change the way we read well into the future. 

” backed by Hearst and Sprint it was a project doomed to failure, designed more as a proof-of-concept than an actual project ”

“Publishers need to think in terms of a podcast store for magazines instead of Hulu for magazines. You pay $15 and get a subscription. You get a memo when a new issues appears. You read it. You get on with your life. Anything else is far too much for a vast majority of us”

TechCruch

Could that be the Bigger Picture !!!!

 

 

 

 

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About martin smith

A degree in Engineering Management ,who is just trying to make life a bit easier, for anyone who wishes to read these articles. View all posts by martin smith

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