Here is an example I found after 10 seconds of searching:
The gorilla glass screens are actually plastic,
Gorilla glass is NOT plastic.
It is a regular high quality glass that is tempered in a molten salt.
Quote from Wikipedia:
During its manufacture, Gorilla Glass is toughened by ion exchange. The material is submersed in molten potassium salt at a temperature of approximately 400 degrees C (750 degrees F), whereby smaller sodium ions leave the glass to be replaced by larger potassium ions from the salt bath. The larger ions occupy more space and are pressed together when the glass cools, causing potassium ions to diffuse far into the surface, thereby creating a 'surface' layer of high compressive stress deep into the glass, a layer more resistant to damage from everyday use.
Have a look at the PocketBook e-ink readers. Sadly, they have left USA market, unable to compete with Amazon.
Here in my European country, in an online store specialized on e-book readers PocketBook is by far the most popular brand. Keep in mind that most people buying kindles are buying them directly from Amazon.
I have PocketBook Touch Lux 623. The screen and front-light are the same as on Kindle Paperwhite. It supports 18 e-book formats and lots of configuration options, all without hacking. It has headphones output with support of TTS in many languages. You can use micro SD card. There are third-party programs available, such as scientific calculator, Linux terminal (for hacking - the reader itself has busybox installed), ftp server (so you can look at *and* modify files from internal memory), Coolreader, chess, several games, Vim text editor (full-fledged recent version).
You can make your own notes and highlights and PocketBook will prepare html file for each document with your notes that you can download to your PC. No special software necessary.
You can import PocketBook from Europe.
Are you sure you are not confusing King with Patterson?
Vim is absolutely magnificent Free Software project - a very powerfull reincarnation of the vi editor. And the left-over money will be used for kids in Uganda.
See this page: http://www.vim.org/sponsor/index.php
Registered Vim user You can become a registered Vim user by sending at least 10 euro. This works similar to sponsoring Vim (see above). Registration was made possible for the situation where your boss or bookkeeper may be willing to register software, but does not like the terms "sponsoring" and "donation".
Even if you are just kidding
Preferences -> sharing -> sharing over net -> start server.
I was using Calibre the same way as you - for conversions (and to communicate with my Sony PRS-500 reader), exactly because of that unusual interface.
Nowadays I simply reconfigure the interface, using Preferences -> interface - > Toolbar.
I remove all icons from the toolbar and put the functions I want on the menubar.
Do not saw off the branch you are sitting on and first define the menubar, with a prefferences menu and only then remove the toolbar.
Calibre is extremely configurable and *very* powerfull. It has great support for regular expressions and other advanced things.
OK. I could save one watt by running IE instead of [insert your favorite browser here]. But then I would have to run it on Windows, and install anti-mallware, anti-virus and other anti-CPU measures.
I think I am much better off running a less efficient browser on Linux, even with a memory hog called KDE 4 running the whole show.
I know you do not need ISA for RS232. I wrote about ISA to show that you can buy even more exotic stuff than a PC with an RS232 port. Sometimes you have special hardware that does require ISA.