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iRex's iLiad E-ink eBook Reader is Now Available 167

An anonymous reader writes "iRex has just started shipping its e-ink eBook reader, the iLiad, starting today (July 3rd) — making it the first e-ink reader commercially available outside of Japan. It is available for purchase though iRex's website, for 649 euros (ouch!). Hopefully this price will come down before Sony releases their eReader later this summer."
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iRex's iLiad E-ink eBook Reader is Now Available

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  • by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:26PM (#15651415) Journal
    I think this guy [userfriendly.org] might have something to say about the name. :-)
    • Cartoon text ...
      A:How goes our facexpaces effort?
      B:It looks like our penetration has been significant. We have over 20,000 sign-ups in a few short weeks.
      A:And Revenue?
      B:Gross revenue through paypal is over $600,000.00
      A:And our net is fourteen dollars?
      B:Because of our exchange fees. Transfer fees. And Account fees. Oh. and Just-Because-We-Can fees.

      User Friendly by J.D. "Illiad" Frazier
      • Did you miss the point?

        The GP's point was that the author's nickname is "Illiad", similar to the product in question, "iLiad".

        (Thanks for posting the text of the cartoon, but you forgot to post the text from the ad below the cartoon, too.) :)

  • Shweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:26PM (#15651416) Journal
    iThink tHis is aGreat iDea. iMean, yAy!
  • $825.98 US Dollars (Score:3, Informative)

    by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:26PM (#15651417) Homepage
    • How many paper books can you buy for that?
      • How many paper books can you buy for that?
        Well... if you buy paperbacks at Half Price Books and the average cover price is $7.00 (USD)... you'll end up with around 235 books. That would last me at least a couple of years.

        Even purchasing new from BN or Amazon, I'd end up with about a year's worth of books.

        These e-book readers are a relatively expensive solution in search of a problem IMHO.
        • by Tekzel ( 593039 )

          Well... if you buy paperbacks at Half Price Books and the average cover price is $7.00 (USD)... you'll end up with around 235 books. That would last me at least a couple of years.

          Even purchasing new from BN or Amazon, I'd end up with about a year's worth of books.

          These e-book readers are a relatively expensive solution in search of a problem IMHO.

          I can't argue regarding the cost, but all new technologies are expensive when they first come out. It is the nature of the beast, if we didn't release new stuff b

        • Yes, but will 235 books fit in your briefcase?
    • PS3 (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nicolay77 ( 258497 )
      I can even buy a PS3 and a couple of games for that money!
    • I mark up text files with Latex [latex-project.org] and then print them out for my own use. I find a two-column layout on 8.5 x 11 paper works best. An average novel usually works out to 30-40 pages printed on both sides of the page. Depending on your printer costs, you can print an entire novel for less than a dollar. Leave an offset on the left for a binding, and what you end up with is alot like a magazine or newspaper (which is where novels used to be published).

      Project Gutenberg is an obvious source for text files

    • Thanks for telling us about it!
    • 649.00 Euros = 825.9823 U.S. dollars = You must be fucking joking!
  • Don't they even try to cover up the advertising in a submission anymore?
    • You have a clue about how HUGE thing it will be if they manage to make a electronic device comparable to a real book?

      E-Ink is a huge thing and first time an e-ink consumer product ships outside Japan.

      They aren't trying to sell it to you on purpose, it is PRODUCT page. They are a commercial company and they of course have buy now in their product page. Sun's MAINFRAME class product pages have "buy now" links too.

      This is Internet, not some communist country. Try to live with it. 99% of Slashdot userbase (incl
      • I agree. Digital ink is one of those technologies - like flying cars - that's been around in sci-fi for decades and yet somehow never seemed to be realized in real life (even though, unlike FTL travel or universal translators, it doesn't seem that hard to create). It's one of the technological advances that I think will have a geuinely huge and lasting impact on digital media.

        Just think about it - any portable device (other than an audio device) has pretty much been constrained to indoor use. Take a laptop outside and try using it. And sure, $900 can buy a lot of paperbacks, but try carrying them all with you at once. On top of that, $900 is what it costs now. What did the first CD or DVD player cost?

        And on top of that, you have to realize that this is much, much more than just the capacity to carry around a library with you. With searcheable documents and note-taking ability it's going to grant users the capacity to carry around a library, card catalog, and user-created index.

        I've been waiting for this to come out for years. Of course I'm not in a position to get the first model (too expensive, and I imagine that some things like text recognition won't be working quite right) but I honestly believe this is one of those products that will (if quietly) really change the landscape of digital devices. As far as I'm concerned it's 10 times more useful than a laptop for most non-tech-related uses already.

        We give out laptops to middle and high school kids in my county. What a waste! Textbooks are pain in the ass to read on laptops. And that horsepower is wasted on kids who don't code, can't game, and don't even use cool programs like Mathematica or something. For note taking, reading, and research this is a real breakthrough. Toss in mp3 support and it's like any bibliophiles idea of portable nirvana.

        The only thing that remains to be seen is how they draw the line between eBook devices and laptops. What functaionality will end up where? What will distinquish one from the other - or will they merge into one ultra-device if digital ink gets full color, etc.?

        Oh yeah - and did we mention 21 hours of battery life. Now THAT is starting to look like a portable device.

        -stormin
        • The only thing that remains to be seen is how they draw the line between eBook devices and laptops. What functaionality will end up where? What will distinquish one from the other - or will they merge into one ultra-device if digital ink gets full color, etc.?

          ...and that's the greatest thing -- and the thing most people seem to be missing, since they don't see past the "ebook" label -- about this device. It's not just an ebook reader; it's actually a PDA with a huge, bright, readable (albeit grayscale) scr

    • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:43PM (#15651527) Journal
      in all fairness to /. - what else could they do on an issue like this? They had to report on it or everyone would say "This site is crap, digg reports on stuff like this...". If they report on it you want them to put a link to a site where you can buy it. I remember when someone submitted a list of "spy gadgets" with no link to where you could buy it and people were up in arms. So it needs to be reported on and needs a link to where you can buy it... all gadgets will be reported on because thats why were here; to know first and be at the cutting edge of nerding
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:27PM (#15651422)
    I'll stick with books if only for the pure satisfaction of the ritual of turning pages. And of course, books are a less painful loss when left someplace by mistake (or stolen).
    • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd&harrelsonfamily,org> on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:00PM (#15651634) Homepage
      Books are also not crippled by DRM either. They don't ask you for a license before letting you turn the page.
      Yup, I'm sticking with books.

      Really, about the only advantage that electronic books have over the real thing is the ability to search (but real books have an index), and the fact that they occupy no additional physical space/weight above that of the reader. If Sony wants us to buy one, they need to offer some real advantage. If anything, DRM-crippled products are a definate disadvantage.
      • Books are also not crippled by DRM either.

        This line made me chuckle. Not crippled by DRM? How about a DRM that made it so that if you wanted to make a copy you'd have to either re-write the entire novel or OCR the whole thing? Imagine not even being able to make a quick archive copy for personal back up! You'd be up in arms! Or a DRM that was constructed in such a way that if you lent your copy to a friend you coudln't read your copy until you got it back. And if your friend lost it - you'd have to buy a new copy if you ever wanted to read it.

        Books already have the best conceivable DRM policy - the content is died directly to the physical media. And you thought propietary formats were bad!

        I'm not saying I'm a fan of DRM, but anyone that compares a hard-copy book to DRM media and sees the DRM media as a pain in the ass is just bonkers. The only reason the DRM is more annoying is because you can break it. And so we're tempted to try and it's a pain in the butt. You can't break the DRM on a book and so we forget that it even exists.

        Now maybe you understand why RIAA execs keep cramming insane DRM schemes down our throats. They must believe that if only DRM could be as iron-clad as physical media we'd all stop whining about it.

        -stormin
        • by alegrepublic ( 83799 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:43PM (#15651939)

          This line made me chuckle. Not crippled by DRM? How about a DRM that made it so that if you wanted to make a copy you'd have to either
          re-write the entire novel or OCR the whole thing? Imagine not even being able to make a quick archive copy for personal back up!

          Imagine a book that wouldn't let you open it unless you paid a rental fee to the publisher. Or a book that insisted on being
          read only when placed on a certain desk. Or a book that locked up when put on a copy machine. Or a book that would only
          let you use publisher-approved markers to write on it... The annoying part of DRM is not copy protection as much as access
          protection
          .

          • If I had mod points this comment would have received them.
          • I hear there are people so dastardly that they've implemented this with real physical books: you can only read the book for a limited period of time, after which you have to return it to their central book storage building (or risk major financial penalties). And they even have copies of some books which they refuse to let you read anywhere but inside their building! I, for one, am complaining to my political representitive :)
            • That has nothing to do with DRM. Physical books can only be in one place at one time. So since libraries are trying to serve a community of users, they have to limit the amount of time one can check out a book, otherwise someone who keeps a book forever would keep everyone else from being able to access the book.

              DRM is used to create artificial restrictions. Library lending policies are used to overcome physical restrictions. They are two completely different issues.

        • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:56PM (#15652042) Homepage Journal
          I'm not saying I'm a fan of DRM, but anyone that compares a hard-copy book to DRM media and sees the DRM media as a pain in the ass is just bonkers.

          The key is that a book is reliable. Properly cared for a book will last a long, long time. The author and publisher can't stop me from reading, lending out, giving away, or selling the book. If a publisher goes bankrupt, there is no risk that my paper books will suddenly become unreadable when their authorization servers go down. (As happened for anyone who purchased "silver" unlimited access to DIVX movies. [wikipedia.org]) There is no practical way for a publisher to somehow lock down a book to make it impossible to, say, scan a page and reproduce it for commentary purposes.

          True, books are a nuisance to copy or scan, but it's possible (as the small but vibrant illegal e-books scene shows [usenet-replayer.com]).

          • It seems like everyone criticizing the eBook is actually criticizing the DRM. I don't know what DRM is going to be used, or how. If they have onerous DRM then yes, it will suck.

            But if this gets popular (by this I mean "eBooks") then it's going to do to books what mp3s did to music. I'm sure there will be plenty of ways to download DRM-free copies of books and I will be looking into them.

            If the DRM goons manage to keep a tight lid on the whole thing frmo day one, then yes, the whole idea sucks. But if th
          • The key is that a book is reliable.
            Any media I can't back up easily is not reliable. No media can stand getting cooked in a house fire. I have a few hundred ebooks, and they're all backed up offsite. I have a few thousand paper books, and if my house burns, they're just gone.
        • Or a DRM that was constructed in such a way that if you lent your copy to a friend you coudln't read your copy until you got it back.

          Err, this is one of the main disadvantages I've found with DRMed e-books: you can't lend them to your friend at all! I'm one of the people who actually prefers ebooks much of the time for the advantages like portability, searching, and bookmarking. The main thing that keeps me from embracing them completely is that even though they cost about the same as paper books, I can

      • Well, the ability to search is great in scientific stuff. That's why I prefer PDFs instead of dead-tree books. You can also share them easily with associates (if it doesn't have any DRM). Carrying a dozen 1000+ page books isn't a problem, and that means that for example you can learn a new computer language in transport or waiting in queues (I learned C++ that way: theory while on the bus and practice once I get home). You can carry your documents, sourcecode etc. and open them any time you like, without pr
      • Before you dismiss this device on account of DRM, note carefully that -- unlike Sony's pile of shit -- the iLiad does not require DRM. It supports text, PDF, HTML, and probably other formats. In reality, it's actually a big PDA -- it's got a fast XScale CPU, wireless, expansion slots, etc. -- and maybe USB host!

        You know, with the right software this could even replace Tablet PCs for some uses. That's certainly what I want it for!

      • I love books. I have tons of 'em. Many of my trips for business and pleasure involve going to libraries. I'm not afraid of using fancy words like "codicology" if it makes the librarian grant me access to the reserve collection, or "her private binding laboratory", if you catch my drift.

        I have no interest in PDAs, smart phones are just expensive pieces of junk with poor interfaces and worse displays that break easily.

        But an E-ink reader -- that's interesting. Many haven't grasped by description only just h
      • Books are also not crippled by DRM either.

        This must be one of the stupidest posts ever.
        Physical (paper and ink) books are DRM's wet dream. Think photocopier, or scanner and OCR.

        I can give you and my 10.000 best friends a CD with 200/300 books in TXT format for a few cents. I have 4000+ physical books. Do the math.

        Cheers,

        CC
  • by XenoPhage ( 242134 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:27PM (#15651425) Homepage
    From their FAQ:

    Which formats do you support?

    In order to stimulate the momentum in electronic reading, iRex Technologies will support as many formats as possible in as open an environment as possible, respecting the rights of owners of content and IP.


    Ok... So what formats are those again? This sounds, to me, like they will only support DRM capable formats... Which makes this a non-buy in my opinion.
    • by Ethan Butterfield ( 7481 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:38PM (#15651489)
      Odd that they didn't copy their supported format list from their product spec PDF, but oh well. In any case, if you check out that PDF here [irextechnologies.com], they list the supported formats as PDF, XHTML, TXT and APABI (only in China). Support for OEB files as well as MP3 playback is due in an August/September firmware update.
    • This sounds, to me, like they will only support DRM capable formats... Which makes this a non-buy in my opinion.

      You should probably look for an actual list of formats instead of jumping to whatever conclusion you want. Like the one in the product sheet [irextechnologies.com] that includes : PDF, XHTML, TXT, APABI (China only), OEB, MP3.
    • This sounds, to me, like they will only support DRM capable formats

      It supports PDF, TXT and HTML, among others. Plenty of scope for non-DRM'd files.

      Whether or not anyone will sell you a book in a non DRM'd format is another quetsion, but if they will the chances are you'll be able to read it on this.

      My main problem with it is that I can buy an awful lot of dead tree for 650 euros. I'm still waiting for a really good e-reader. I would be happy to pay somewhere around 150 pounds to get an A5 size tabl
    • I've been following the Illiad for a while. It will support non-DRMed formats. It supports .txt and .html The OS is linux and they claim they will make it easy and open for anyone to develop apps for it.
  • by jmobley ( 463432 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:28PM (#15651428)
    iThat iProduct E-name eSucks
  • now we just need to combine it with one of those Nokia 770s and you'd have a device I would be completely unable to resist purchasing.
  • I actually like the idea of the e-reader and I think that this is a good step, but as is mentioned, it is just too expensive. For that money I could buy a pda and then view pda's on that... I might even be able to find a workable tablet pc on e-bay for that price. It also raises the question about how much the ebooks will actually cost for these; the ones I've seen have cost nearly as much as the hardback versions which is simply a rip off. paper will be my method of choice still, not only because of pri
    • The price of the books is a real issue (I intend to use the Sony Reader for the significant number of technical papers I have, plus a number of classic books from the Gutenberg Project, among other places, and may well drop a note to the publishers about the prices they want to charge), but the device readability is the star here. PDAs will last most of a day, whereas the battery life of such readers is measured in page turns -- typically several thousand of them. They're reflective instead of backlit, wh
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:30PM (#15651453) Homepage Journal

    iUgh, an e-New iContender for the worst eBuzz.com i-Product iName, turbo gold deluxe II.

  • As someone who reads books almost exclusively on my handheld device (10 years of Palm, now Windows Mobile), I don't see what the point of this is.

    As it is today, with a good-sized SDRam, I can carry all the books I own in my pocket for easy access, anytime, anywhere.

    If I want to carry around a bulky device to read books, I already have a notebook PC, which includes MUCH MORE capability than this silly thing. And at todays insanely low hardware prices, $825 will get me TWO notebooks, or even a pretty-decent
    • The main advantages of OLED epaper is lack of eyestrain [epaper.org.uk] for long term reading. In addition, OLEDs can get much higher DPI resolution for lower power drain.

      Now, that being said, this Iliad seems pretty poor on resolution: It has a stated DPI of 160 (the Sony has 170, which isn't that much better). This means you have to hold it at 105 cm (3.5 ft) to get maximal resolution on your retina (assuming perfect 20/20 vision). Now, a PDA generally does worse here (needs to be at 204 cm [6 ft]). Note, that average re
    • by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:05PM (#15651653) Homepage
      There are two key differences between this and your PDA:

      1. E-ink looks like ink on paper. Less eye strain than other display technologies.
      2. E-ink doesn't require power to be visible. Much lower power consumption - only needed when turning pages.

      I wouldn't be surprised if E-ink overtakes dead-tree publishing within a decade.
      • E-Ink is truly great. I played around with the Sony Librie a couple months ago (at the Sony building in Ginza, Tokyo), and the screen was completely unlike any LCD monitor. It was crisp and didn't strain my eyes at all. Don't expect any motion yet, as it takes around one second to change the screen (another big benefit, though, is that it doesn't use any batteries when it's not changing the screen).
  • Does anyone know if eInk is the only producer/provider of LCD/Electronic Paper? I have a few ideas for inventions that would make use of their paper, as well as projects for both work and college, but they want $3000 for a development kit, and I just can't afford that (I don't know if my company would cover the cost or not, at least for the ideas I have that are work-related.)

    I thought there were more companies putting out LCD Paper itself, but so far I've only been able to find eInk.

    Also, how much does LCD
  • Another platform for the Sony rootkit to run on.

    iCan't wait!
  • Hopefully this price will come down before Sony releases their eReader later this summer.

    Maybe you're new here, but "the price will come down" and "Sony" simply cannot be used in the same sentence.
  • Even for an early adaptor this thing is disappointing.

    1. VERY expensive, Euro 649 (that includes VAT over here) for a black+white ebook reader. I'm come on... Please leave the WLAN out next time.
    2. VERY slow, VERY slow. Page flipping sometimes takes 2 seconds, sometimes 3-4. That's bad for a newspaper, but it's simply unusable for a technical documentation where you're searching for specific parts, etc.

    see mobileread.com [mobileread.com] for videos.

    3. No backlight, I (as a consumer) don't care wheter that's realizable or not, but I would like to have some sort of backlight. Yes a book doesn't have a backlight, too. But my books at least don't cost 650 Euros.

    Nice is: a 1024x768 resolution, everything else is not usable for my purposes.

    I'm waiting for the next generation.
    • 1. Why is this price particularly high? It's only half as much as a really good laptop, and has most of the same functionality (or at least the functionality that people buy laptops for).

      2. Taking 4 seconds to turn the page is certainly a pain. But under some circumstances, that's a good tradeoff for not having to recharge the thing for a week.

      3. Excuse me? You want to take an expensive device and add an expensive, power-draining feature just because it's expensive? Laptops don't have backlights because

      • Feature fuck??? I just want the most basic and important features everyone's expecting from the device. Good performance, a lower price and some sort of lightsource.

        Leave the WLAN and the MP3 player out for example!

        An NO ONE is gonna replace a laptop with such an ebook reader, it's just an addition.
        • Why do you need a light source? Why is that an essential feature?
          • Simple. Currently I'm reading ebooks with a Compaq TC1000 tablet PC. And I'm reading in dark situations, like bed, airplane, etc. regularly. And I'm enjoying the backlight of my tablet... but it gets to hot, consumes too much energy and is heavier (3 pounds).

            I personally will switch _only_ to an ebook reader with some kind of lightsource (be it backlight or side-leds or whatever).

            I don't need much RAM, no note-taking, no mp3 player no WLAN, etc.

            Just a quick, 768x1024 (or higher) resolution ebook reader for
            • In other words, you think the gadget is useless because it doesn't have a feature most people won't use and nobody really needs. I mean, you have heard of book lights?
      • 1. Why is this price particularly high? It's only half as much as a really good laptop, and has most of the same functionality (or at least the functionality that people buy laptops for).

        I sit here writing this on a laptop I paid $382 for (ok, I spent another $40 on an extended warranty so I wouldn't have to call Toshiba support because I despise them and CompUSA gives me free batteries every so often). Photoshop CS2 is running in the background, a couple of remote desktiop clients, winamp is playing and I
      • Why is this price particularly high? It's only half as much as a really good laptop

        It costs more than a entry-level laptop, and does significantly less. Compared to the small VAIO my wife bougth last week for pretty much exactly this price this thing lacks:

        • A decent keyboard.
        • Connectivity (it has some, but the laptop has much more)
        • The ability to run Heroes og Migth and Magic5
        • The ability to run Gnucash
        • A decent-sized harddisk.
        • A DVD-burner
        • It has too low resolution.
        • It has a much smaller screen.

        I'm

        • I'm arguing that when it is a much more targeted device, capable of doing MUCH less than a laptop can do, then the price should reflect this. $299 would be fine.

          Suprise: I completely agree with you. (Except I might even go as high as $299.95.) So this device goes for about 2½ times what most consumers would pay for it. Which is about par for early-adopter products.

          When I compared this device to a laptop, I wasn't comparing it to what a laptop can do, but what people use them for. And a big chun

    • You don't want a backlight, you want a traditional light that shines onto the page, like you do with traditional books. Backlit screens are harder to read over long periods. This is pretty much the whole point of e-ink.

      1024x768? If I'm not mislead about the resolution of e-ink, the screen on that is likely to support 4-8 times that resolution.

      Where'd you read the part about 2-4 seconds for a page refresh? If true, that would really suck.
    • backlight = bad (Score:4, Insightful)

      (IANAMD), but I think a backlit display is probably one of the biggest causes of eye strain. The whole point of buying an e-reader, for me, would be the e-paper.

      My dad prints out hundreds and hundreds of pages daily because he simply hates reading backlit displays.
    • by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:46PM (#15654240) Journal
      I'm with you. IMO they made some serious mistakes. First and formost is the cost. Secondly we have something which ties in directly to the first, which is the inclusion of (of all things) an mp3 player. Is it some new dictum that all new hardware will evolve to a point where it includes an mp3 player?

      Anyway, it's too expensive. I'm an early adopter, but I will not pay that kind of money for a mere ereader. A portable screen like this should cost 300 euro's max...and that's for the first run of the tech. But then they have to go and include an mp3 player?!? WTF? WHY? I do not want one on my ebook reader. Either make an all purpose device like a palmpilot with this screen or just make a simple no-frills reader. Preferably just the reader, as everyone and his dog has a better mp3 player. It increases cost and size (chip, jack) and drains the battery. AND PEOPLE WHO WANT THIS THING TO READ ON DON'T WANT AN MP3 PLAYER! THEY WANT TO READ BOOKS!

      I mean, shoot, my phone has an mp3 player which I never use, as does my palmpilot (which I do use the mp3 function on). I love the screen on this thing....but just not for that money. My guess is they'll never re-coop their investment, as they screwed up their market research on who wants one of these things and what they want on it. They should have diverted the mp3 R&D towards creating a html help (.chm) reader for this thing, as that's what it's sorely missing.
      • Why an MP3 player? Well, they probably had something like a sound chip (maybe even build in) from a PDA. This thing uses a 400 MHz XScale processor. It is very easy to add MP3 in software, and the software is probably even already available for this kind of configuration anyway. So why? Because it is already there.

        As an early adopter, you definately do no like spending. If you look at Blu-Ray, you would have to put in a hell of a lot more cash to get one of those. I think the eInk market is in potential muc
  • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:54PM (#15651585) Homepage Journal
    From their feature list:
    Scalable text. You can change the font size of your text to suit your own reading comfort. (Format and DRM dependant.)

    Making the text larger so I can more easily read it is DRM dependant!? Anyone suggesting "DRM will never get in your way unless you're a thief" needs to be kicked in nuts.

    • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:32PM (#15652243) Homepage
      But consider that if the DRM allows you to increase the font until it becomes readable then you can just put the thing down on the scanner, press a button and go get some dinner. By the time you are back, the scanner will have OCRed the whole book, easier than with paper even!

      The DRM book can be only safe from you if its font is as legible as those twisted, crooked, scratched letters that you need to recognize and enter for subscription to Web services.

  • Yeah, e-ink may look nice, but not $800 nicer than a simple, low power, B&W LCD with a slow/old CPU that can easily, quickly decode PDFs and probably MP3s as well.

    Seems like overkill in every sense of the word. When will we see finally a few dirt cheap ebook readers that (also) support DRM-free formats? Preferably with a mini keyboard for notes.

    I like my Psion5 as much as anybody, but the screen just isn't big enough for reading a full book.
  • Field test results (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:15PM (#15651718) Homepage
    I saw this device last month in Moscow at the World Editors Forum, where Dr. Caroline Pauwels of the Free University of Brussels discussed a field test being conducted in conjunction with De Tijd, a daily newspaper published in Antwerp, which produced a daily e-paper edition. They gave the device to 200 people, both print and online readers. The test was continuing but she talked about some preliminary results:

    * Slow.
    * No search.
    * Difficulty setting up wifi connections.
    * Good quality display, easy to read.

    The bigger picture: She called it an "evolution of paper" but not an evolution of newspapers, and raised questions about whether editors are prepared to evolve into a medium where RSS feeds/aggregation, interconnections with other resources, and conversation are expected and demanded.

    I briefly examined the device, which seems a bit larger than the e-paper device Sony has been selling in Japan for a couple of years now.
    • "The bigger picture: She called it an "evolution of paper" but not an evolution of newspapers, and raised questions about whether editors are prepared to evolve into a medium where RSS feeds/aggregation, interconnections with other resources, and conversation are expected and demanded."

      Well, she forgets that printing is a very high competitive business. I'm pretty sure they are prepared to evolve if one of the other newspapers tries this (in desperation because the paper version won't sell).

  • by mean pun ( 717227 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:45PM (#15651952)
    Although the website is not very clear about this, iRex considers the current version a developers release. On this [irextechnologies.com] page there is this sentence:
    To individual consumers who have sent in their request for notification, we recommend to wait for our consumer version, which will have a more extended functionality (September 2006).
  • DRM WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:09PM (#15652441) Homepage

    Great, I have been waiting SO LONG for something I can read documents and books on without having to carry around a stack of documents and books.

    Now, what's it say here?

    You can change the font size of your text to suit your own reading comfort. (Format and DRM dependant.)

    WHAT THE FORK???

    Write and comment in articles (format and DRM dependant.)

    WHAT THE [utensil]???!?!?!?!?!

    I mean WHAT???

    Sabotaging your own product like that is supposed to be the exclusing domain of Microsoft and maybe Sony. Now every small startup's jumping up on the 'make a product that's expressly designed so that others will actively desire to avoid using it' bandwagon.

    Seriously.

    Well, I guess I won't be buying one of those. I don't know or care exactly what DRM would prevent me from making notes on the text I'm reading. There's no real justification, but doubtless in some idiotic sense it counts as 'distributing a modified version'. Maybe nothing I would ever want to read would decide to be un-zoomable. But you know what? Why the fork should I even have to think about it for a second??

    • Re:DRM WTF (Score:3, Informative)

      by mean pun ( 717227 )

      WHAT THE FORK???

      Calm down. Take a DEEP breath. Think quiet thoughts. Take a DEEP breath again.

      Ok. Good.

      I fully understand your frustration with lock-in book readers, but if you read the product specifications [irextechnologies.com] you will see that it does in fact support open document formats: PDF, XHTML, and plain text. With a little extra thought you will also realize that they may have difficulty supporting annotations on these formats. PDF supports this (except when disabled in the document), but for XHTML and plain

  • have you noticed that lower case letters in front of words have just exploded lately? 3 such words in the title of this article!
  • I could just get a PDA [dell.com] for that price and read all the ebooks I want + 802.11b + email + web + bluetooth + GPS.

    Try again iRex.

    (No, I'm not a shill I just want one...and can't afford it...but it'd get it over this e-ink crap)
  • No Backlight?
    DRM?

    I think I'll stick with my zaurus, thanks.

  • by smartalix ( 84502 ) <smartalix.yahoo@com> on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @12:21AM (#15654575) Homepage
    Don't forget that none of this development is going on in a vacuum. Cholesteric LCD (www.kentdisplays.com), Iridescent display (www.qualcomm.com/qmt), and electrowetting display (www.liquavista.com) technology are all reflective bistable formulations. Any of these could leapfrog E-ink and make a better, cheaper E-book.

    Pics of these technologies at the last Society for Information Display Show is here:
    http://www.smartalix.com/Consumer/SID/page2.html [smartalix.com]
  • Where is GPRSS module on this gadget? Wifi doesn't cover much while GPRS is available almost everywhere... and can this thing browse the net?
  • The damn thing is priced into oblivion and the functionality is still not there (slow, no search, etc.)

    With eInk offering a developer's kit for $3000, is it time that the open source world took it upon itself to put together the first working ereader? Would an ereader not be possibly as useful as a $100 computer to a Third World demographic?

Real Users are afraid they'll break the machine -- but they're never afraid to break your face.

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