Been considering splashing out on an ebook reader? If so, you’ll be wanting the opinions of someone who isn’t just shilling for the company. While the Kindle seems to get the bulk of the blog coverage, there’s another big-brand competitor out there – and Scots science fiction novelist Gary Gibson seems to be a convert to the church of Sony Reader:
The answer is a very vigorous thumbs-up. I love the bloody thing, despite its many faults. God knows there are enough of them; it crashed from time to time, necessitating sticking a pin in the back to get it to laboriously reboot. Changing pages can occasionally also be a bit slow. It doesn’t come near the stated 7000-pages-before-needing-a-recharge stated in all of Sony’s advertising. And that’s just the hardware. There are endless problems to do with file formats – .lit, .mobi, .epub, and .on and .on and .on. […]
And yet, it’s still the greatest thing. The words are an absolute delight on the screen. It’s remarkably like reading words on paper. The text is clear and sharp. The machine is stunningly sleek and portable. And my reading has gone through the roof; I’ve read more books in the past six months than I’m usually likely to get through in a couple of years, if that. […]
I’ve made a point of being the first to describe the many discouraging issues concerning the technology. I suspect machines like this are really for the hardcore reader like myself; critics are right to point out these are not devices for the kind of people who might read one or two books in a year while on holiday. But for people who like to read, they’re an absolute godsend.
I expect I’m going to wait until the next generation of netbooks have full ebook functionality (I’ve been rammed into penury by sporadic displays of early-adopter syndrome before, a habit I doubtless acquired from my father), but if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t buy a new computer ever eighteen months, but who does tend to read a lot of books… well, are you tempted? Or are you going to stick with print on pulp until it’s pried from your cold dead hands [image by shimgray]
In what must be the most exciting conference ever (just ahead of Dewey Decimal 2008), a little feature known as epaper showed up at Display 2008 in Tokyo. It seems several companies, including Bridgestone with a full-size broadsheet e-newspaper(what do tires have to do with epaper?) and a collaboration between Seiko, E Ink and Epson (which also wins for strangest interactive website) to make epaper watches, showed off their wares at the Japanese trade show. Other offerings included epaper that can be written on with a stylus(video at the link).
Along with the obvious books and notepads we’re all thinking of, other attendants were thinking of myriad other places epaper could be useful. Those range from IC or RFID cards with PIN displays for added security, pill bottles, grocery price tags (come to think of it, I’ve seen something awfully like it in the supermarkets here), flash drives and headphones. Interestingly enough, there’s a story about a Fujitsu ebook that’s in color as well, although price seems to be a factor in why it’s not out yet. According to the guys at DWT, August is when many of these products will be available to vendors, so start looking for epaper everythings to start popping up soon after. I know I can’t wait.
Bonus display blogging: 3D displays without the paper glasses.
(via DigitalWorldTokyo, a site I apparently need to visit more often) (image also via DigitalWorldTokyo)
The smoke has cleared after the Kindle’s launch (although our evaluation devices are still lost in the mail, it appears), and people have been poking through the detritus. One such person is sf author Gary Gibson, who’s been following the Kindle’s media trail quite closely … and has found a review that suggests Amazon’s new ebook reader may not be anywhere near as restricted in function as Amazon themselves may have claimed:
… the implication to some is that back-doors to the device’s software have been more or less left deliberately left wide-open. Not only that, but many of the purported limitations – you can only read books downloaded through Amazon’s website, you can’t copy books, it doesn’t work as a web browser – are, according to some, manifestly not true. For instance, the majority of blogs you purportedly have to pay to be able to read are accessible for free using RSS feeds through the Kindle’s basic web browser, as in fact are the free online contents of many of the newspapers now selling Kindle subscriptions.
Interesting stuff – though I think we’ll need some more corroboration on these points before getting too excited. And, wider functionality or not, it’s still very ugly … but I guess I could live with that.
[tags]Kindle, ebook, reader, functionality, technology[/tags]