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Samsung Papyrus E-Book Reader, Coming Soon 145

Posted by timothy
from the 5th-mover-disadvantage dept.
kanewm writes with a snippet from Portable-Ebook-Reader.NET: "Samsung's new, highly portable e-book reader, dubbed 'Papyrus,' will be available in Korea in June 2009 and in the UK and North America sometime later (likely within several months)." As the site notes, though, this lacks some features of the Kindle, the obvious choice for comparison in the American market.
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Samsung Papyrus E-Book Reader, Coming Soon

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  • Lack of features (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanborn's man (687059) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:28PM (#27808849)
    well, if DRM is one of those "features" it lacks, I'll consider it. Kindle 2 is nice, but its draconian DRM it is a big no no for me.
    • by stasike (1063564) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:39PM (#27808931)
      Well, there are quite a few readers http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_devices [mobileread.com] with much less draconian DRM or even completely without DRM:

      Sony Reader PRS-700, Sony Reader PRS-505, Bokeen Cybook Gen3, IRex Digital Reader, IRex iLiad, The Jinke/Hanlin, Ganaxa GeR2, Soribook, Readius, Hanvon N510 , Hanvon N516, astak EZ Reader, Astak Mentor, the new 5" models from several manufacturers and quite a few clones and rebranded OEM versions of above mentioned devices.
      • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:29PM (#27809297) Homepage

        Um exactly. I see WAAAAY ore Sony 505's in people's hands than the Kindle. Target had a sale on them a few weeks back and they were $249.95.

        I have seen 1 kindle in the wild, and at least 30 Sony readers. What I like is that I can carry years worth of my favorite magazines and every technical manual with me. My buddy bough a Sony reader for his garage after I showed him where to get all his motorcycle assembly and repair manuals in pdf form online. He said that the silicone covers for the unit keep grease and oil off them very well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by winphreak (915766)

          My uncle uses a Sony reader for the same thing, except he runs a small car repair shop, and uses it for all the repair manuals he's bought over the 2 decades he had been doing it.

      • by Whillowhim (1408725) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:54PM (#27809519)

        Many of those have DRM that is just as bad. I know the Sony readers have it from personal experience, and the Sony store sucks a heck of a lot more than Amazon. Of course, they all read a variety of free formats without DRM as well, as do all the readers I know about. The problem is not that the readers handle DRM, its that online stores are selling books in a variety of incompatible and restrictive formats. The Sony store sells books that are DRMed with a format only readable on the Sony e-book readers. The Amazon store only sells books readable on the Kindle. As an owner of the Sony e-book reader, I cannot buy e-books from Amazon. With a Kindle, I could not buy books from Sony. This fractures the market and turns e-books from "any book ever written (within reason)" to "any book your manufacturer bothered signing a contract with". This fractures the market and destroys much of the usefulness of an e-book reader. The sole reason I recommend the Kindle to people is because the Amazon store seems to have the best selection, I dislike some of the features of the actual reader itself (i.e. I don't see downloading books over a cell phone as a feature, since you have to pay for it with higher priced books and a short battery life if you forget to turn wireless off).

        Of course, there are stores out there that sell books in a non-DRM format. Baen was one of the first publisher to do this and I have bought a lot of books from them. However, they are a small fraction of the books published today (3ish new books a month, all sci-fi or fantasy) and the same seems to hold true for the other stores I've found. Fictionwise seems to come up in conversation a lot, but only some of its books are DRM-free, and the 6 times so far I've gone looking for a specific book from them, they've had it only in DRM encumbered format. And since Sony doesn't want to release its DRM scheme, none of their DRM formats will work with my reader. I just added up my order history for Baen, and I've spent $936 on their e-books over the past 3 years. I'm more than willing to pay for books, but there are a lot of e-books out there where people simply refuse to take my money.

        The alternative to all of this, of course, is to pirate books. This is generally a pain in the ass and can result in some poor quality books, but there is a lot more available this way than there is from legitimate non-DRMed books. I haven't found a specific site that works well for downloading books. Many of the major torrent sites have large collections of books available for download, but they can be pretty spotty and the quality is... variable. There will often be issues with the lines being too long for the reader, and wrapping in weird ways or with extra spaces between lines. There are some that are perfectly fine, but it is often a crap shoot. On the other hand, the first time I got frustrated with Fictonwise's DRM only books, I found a collection of sci-fi and fantasy that was 9 gigs. A good portion of that was scans of graphic novels, but you can fit a mind-blowing amount of text into even a small part of a 9 gig compressed file. Once I downloaded that, my first stop for new books is Baen, and the second stop is my hard drive. Its rare that I bother looking for anything else now. I still check for some new releases on various websites, but more often than not I'm disappointed in the results. I'm not going to pay $18 for a book that has been out in paperback for 6 months. And that was just the one book lately that _was_ available.

        Though I may have got off track a bit, I think the real problem here is not that readers can handle DRM, its that online stores are fucked up. I could easily have spent an extra $1k on books if they were available in a format that works in my e-book reader. The fact that publishers won't allow those formats is the problem, not the fact that a specific reader has DRM for file format Y, but not Z. They're just asking everyone who doesn't have their specific e-book reader to pirate the books, instead of selling good quality versions for sale with reasonable fees and an easy to use system to download what you want when you want it.

        • This is exactly right. I've owned an eReader for about a year but have never bought a book from their store, nor am I likely to. I've found plenty to read on it, though, and Calibre will happily convert lots of different formats to the native one so that things look nice on the reader.

        • by Farmer Pete (1350093) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:48PM (#27812185)
          I bought a Sony E-Reader last November. I travel a lot for work, and I thought it would be nice to take books with me on the plane. I like reading computer books, and most of them are about the size of the Chicago phone book. Carrying a 5-10lb book around in my backpack "in case" I feel like reading is not something I wanted to do. It is amazing how many computer manuals come with PDF copies of the books on CD. If I have to choose between two books, I will always go for the one with the PDF copy, even if I feel the one without it is a little better. A mediocre book I will use is much greater than a good book I won't.

          As far as purchasing electronic books, I've never done it yet. I don't plan on it. I'd be telling a lie if I said I had never pirated an eBook, but in my defense 95% of them have been books that I already own. I am more likely to buy the book and then pirate the electronic format than to buy the electronic format. Call me old fashioned, but I like having the book around, even if I never need to open it. I wont buy an ebook unless the price comes down significantly from the paper version AND the DRM is removed or significantly transparent and portable.

          I am a huge Discworld fan. I got hooked in the 90's after I played the Discworld PC game. I went through his books like crazy, and I now own every Discworld book. I purchased many of them from the UK when Pratchett was having difficulties with US publishers. While I support Terry Pratchett, I don't intend on repurchasing his books. I hope he can understand and forgive me for seeking alternate means of acquiring his materials. If I said I felt guilty, I would be telling a lie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JohnBailey (1092697)

      well, if DRM is one of those "features" it lacks, I'll consider it. Kindle 2 is nice, but its draconian DRM it is a big no no for me.

      Most if not all support multiple formats. Usually only one DRM encumbered format.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I'm hoping the screen technology has improved a bit. The slow update rate is the limiting factor with all current eBook readers. If the screen was faster, reading PDFs zoomed in or flicking through books/news items/menus/web pages would be a realistic prospect.

    • Are against DRM.

      Are you sure you don't want to rephrase your statement, comrade?

    • by yamfry (1533879) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:19PM (#27811251)
      I'm not really sure where this Kindle-is-full-of-DRM idea comes from. The Kindle has no DRM, but it does support a file format that can be restricted with DRM. I'm a Kindle 2 user (there are a lot of things I don't like about it, but that's another topic), and I have never put a single DRM-laden format on it. There are free utilities from both Amazon and third parties (I use Stanza) that will convert a host of other formats (PDF -- poorly, .mobi, etc) to Kindle format. There is nothing intrinsic to the device itself that makes it a DRM machine.
    • For commercial content that is. There's no DRM even on the Kindle for your own content, but you are deluding yourself if you think major publishers are going to allow DRM-free e-books. If you don't want DRM, you are going to be limited to Project Gutenberg and the works of Cory Doctorow, basically.
       

      • by russotto (537200)

        For commercial content that is. There's no DRM even on the Kindle for your own content, but you are deluding yourself if you think major publishers are going to allow DRM-free e-books. If you don't want DRM, you are going to be limited to Project Gutenberg and the works of Cory Doctorow, basically.

        And Baen's entire output, and some of the works on Fictionwise.

        Anyway, as I understand it, even for non-DRMed works, you have to go through Amazon's servers to load stuff onto your Kindle. That's a show-stopper f

    • I recently got a Kindle 2. The hardware is great, the free wireless is cool.

      But I will never ever purchase a $9 (or so) DRM controlled e-book. That is ridiculous. For $0.20 I might. Anything more is theft and I'd rather get the paper version.

      However, there is a lot of free stuff to be found sites gutenberg.org, scientific articles, philosphical texts, etc. Basically all the stuff that glues you the computer screen to read it. Now I just read all whenever/whereever I want on the Kindle.

      The Kindle will

  • Thank God (Score:5, Funny)

    by bensafrickingenius (828123) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:29PM (#27808853)
    Another ebook reader.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why not a cool name like ThanaTree or Necroarbortron?

  • I wonder what makes it more highly portable than Sony Reader (PRS 500. PRS 505, PRS 700), Kindle (1 and 2), Bookeen Cybook Gen3, The Jinke/Hanlin and quite a few others.
  • by EdZ (755139) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:43PM (#27808965)
    Lack of data support outside the US isn't a problem. The Kindle only supports EVDO, which nobody outside the US uses anyway. And whilst there is not hardware keyboard, I'd imagine the touchscreen supports a software keyboard (otherwise the 'memo' menu button displayed rather prominently would be pretty useless). The real make-or-break factor is it's resolution. The Kindle, along with all the other e-ink readers I've seen, have had no higher a resolution than 1280x1024 (for the iRex Digital Reader costing an exorbitant £600), with 800x600 being the norm. This is unacceptably low for comfortable reading without huge fonts (and thus low word counts per page), and entirely prevents the use of grayscale images at any readable quality. Until e-ink displays can hit 1280x1024 at a reasonable price point, they're just not worth it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would consider 200 dpi the minimum barely acceptable resolution. 300 dpi is visibly better, and 600 dpi is finally "good enough". There is a reason laser printers improved from 300 to 600 and 1200 dpi as soon as they could develop the technology. It isn't merely a question of smooth fonts - at lower than 200 dpi small print like superscripts and footnotes is simply unreadable.

      An A4 sheet at 200 dpi requires 2338 x 1653 pixels, and an A5 page (paperback size) has 1653 x 1169 pixels. In other words, the

    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:53PM (#27809499) Journal
      Four words for you: Resolution, Resolution, Resolution, Resolution [you can visualize a monkey-dance here if you like]
      The lousy 800x600 greyscale that most ebook readers have makes a mockery of any attempt to render equations or scientific illustrations. For equations, you need higher resolution, unless you are happy with a single equation with a few sub/super scripts filling the screen by itself. For informative diagrams, you need color and resolution. I'll skip ebook readers for a while longer.
    • I'd imagine the touchscreen supports a software keyboard (otherwise the 'memo' menu button displayed rather prominently would be pretty useless).

      Well, duh... You do have a pretty weak imagination, do you?
      Try imagining how you wrote with a real notepad and a pencil.
      Got it? ^^

    • The real make-or-break factor is it's resolution. The Kindle, along with all the other e-ink readers I've seen, have had no higher a resolution than 1280x1024 (for the iRex Digital Reader costing an exorbitant £600), with 800x600 being the norm. This is unacceptably low for comfortable reading without huge fonts (and thus low word counts per page), and entirely prevents the use of grayscale images at any readable quality. Until e-ink displays can hit 1280x1024 at a reasonable price point, they're just not worth it.

      One thing to remember is that all existing eInk readers have screens made by the same company (which also holds the patent to the technology), and usually on the same factories. It's why the screens vary so little, and why prices are so close (most expensive thing is the screen).

      iRex readers are so pricey in large part because larger screens they have are made specifically for them, in much smaller quantities - all other readers use the very same 600x800 screen (used to be 4 shades of gray, now 16), and tha

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The screens on these things are actually very nice to look at, the same as reading off paper in fact. The resolution is more than good enough for eBooks.

      A higher resolution probably wouldn't help much. Okay, smaller pixels = more info on screen, but the screen is so small you would have a hard time actually reading it.

      The thing they really need to sort out is screen update times. ~2 seconds is fine when reading an eBook, but not much good for PDFs or web pages where you need to scroll around.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      e-Ink is going to have to be ~200 dpi before I can even try to give a shit. I have an IBM Thinkpad with a 133ppi display. Why isn't e-Ink at least twice as good?

  • Why in the world (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:44PM (#27808969)
    ... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do?

    Thanks, but... no thanks.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:57PM (#27809061) Homepage
      No wireless. Less space than a Nomad.

      Lame.
      • by BlueHands (142945)

        So, I don't hit /. as much as i used to,for lots of reasons. But when I do I LOVE seeing the content, like your comment, that is a call back to a kinder,gentler /.

        A time when we had overloads, Soviet Russia and ?????

    • by fm6 (162816)

      (Insert Sarah Palin joke here.)

      Because it has one feature that your netbook doesn't: the eInk display. This display only consumes power when the contents of the display change. The Sony ebook claims 7 thousand/i. page turns before the battery runs down. That would be very handy for long plane rides or road trips. The best netbooks run out of power in 10 hours, regardless of how quickly you read. (Which might be OK if you have access to a power outlet.) Dead tree books don't use any power at all — but

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Whillowhim (1408725)

        Exactly, but you did miss one other feature. Size matters. Try putting your netbook in your pocket, or holding it in your hand without resting it on something. Readers are small enough and light enough that they are in a completely different class of portable compared to a small notebook computer. Its a similar comparison between an ipod and a netbook, since both of them play audio just fine.

        So... if you want something with crazy battery life (1 week or more), small enough to fit in a pocket and light e

        • Really? I want to see you put a Kindle in your pocket.
        • by fm6 (162816)

          If you don't mind recharging 1-2 times a day, carting a small bag around to hold your notebook and setting your notebook down on a convenient surface to read books, then don't bother with an e-book reader.

          As a matter of fact, I hate reading on a notebook. You can't curl up with the thing. If I didn't already have a tablet, the Kindle would be a lot more tempting.

    • by steveg (55825)

      It's considerably smaller than a netbook. My Sony is about 1/4" thick. It's 5" wide and 7" long. When you're talking about a device that size, those differences are huge. I can put my Sony in a cargo pocket in my pants, or (with a little effort) in the inside pocket of my jacket.

      I'm sorry, you're not going to find a netbook that can do that.

      One of the things that the reader can do that your netbook cannot, is easily read the screen outside, even in direct sun. Unless you have an XO netbook, just try th

      • Sorry, my reply to the person above was intended for you. If those are the dimensions of your netbook, the Kindle is larger. I would like to see you put a Kindle in your pocket.
        • by steveg (55825)

          Those are not the dimensions of my netbook. Those are the dimensions of my Sony Reader. Perhaps smaller than a Kindle but *way* smaller than any netbook I've seen. The dimensions of the Kindle look like it's half an inch longer and double the thickness of my Sony. I haven't tried a Kindle, but I'd bet I could get it in the same pockets my Sony fits in.

          By comparison, my netbook is four times the thickness of my Sony Reader, three inches wider, and three inches longer. That's a huge difference.

    • by Firehed (942385)

      Battery life, and the paper-like display. They also tend to be a hell of a lot thinner.

      Not enough to sell me on one (I mostly listen to audiobooks anyways), but the market definitely exists.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by agrippa_cash (590103)

      Because it claims to do something better than a netbook can. I am slightly eccentric though: I use a watch to tell time, a cellphone to talk and a camera to take pictures. It may seem silly, but there are a lot of people like me.

      I'll hold off until they are cheaper though.

      • I guess I've never understood that argument. Camera phones aren't about replacing your camera, they're about having a camera with you 99% of the time. I don't know how many times something has happened that I wanted a picture of and didn't have a real camera handy. The camera phone pictures aren't the best, but they often do the job of capturing the moment well enough for me.

        Obviously, if I'm going somewhere or doing something that I expect to be interesting I bring my real camera along for the ride. Th

    • by teg (97890) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:24PM (#27809245) Homepage

      ... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do?

      Because it's smaller (like a pocket book), has much improved battery life and has a much better display for its particular purpose. I don't like reading books on a laptop, or even worse, on an iphone even though they have a lot of features an e-book reader does nat have.

      If I could buy they Kindle here, I would. One major reason for ignoring other offerings is the book store... unlike music, "bring your own book" doesn't work very well so access to a large electronic book store is a huge plus.

    • by caywen (942955)
      Are you talking about the Papyrus or the Kindle?
      • It's not enough of a difference to matter to me. All these things are great. But not worth my money.

        Perfect a color version of e-paper, make it bigger (I have had a Palm Pilot for years, I don't need another one), give it a touch screen and virtual keyboard. Then I might bite.

        When similar devices without the e-paper came out some years ago, they did not have sufficient processing power and lacked applications. Today that's not a problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ucblockhead (63650)

      To read in full sunlight.

    • by xlsior (524145)
      ... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do?

      e-ink.

      Seriously, in direct sunlight it completely blows any laptop screen out of the water. It's not even close. Plus since there is no active lighting, it is extremely easy on the eyes. Looking at computer screens for any prolonged amount of time leads to eye strain, which is not the case with e-ink displays -- it really does feel the same as reading a normal boo
    • You wouldn't say that if you had looked at an e-ink screen. It's nothing like an LCD. It uses no power to display, only to "change the page". This means that you can go through 2000 pages on a single charge. Try that on a netbook! The nice thing is this, if you use DRM free books, you can still keep a copy on your netbook, your laptop, your desktop, your online storage location, etc. You are free to do what ever you want! But I promise you, if you had used an e-ink device, you would choose to use an
      • I couldn't do it on a single charge, but I could easily read e-books on my Palm Pilot, and for that matter still can. I am aware that the screen might be of better quality, but it's still a one-trick pony.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          I've tried reading eBooks on a Palm and there's really no comparison with an eInk screen. The eInk display is 166dpi and entirely reflective (no backlight), with contrast similar to newsprint. It's something you can read for hours without developing eye strain, and can read easily sitting in direct sunlight. It may be a one-trick pony, but it's a very valuable one trick. The iPod is a one-trick pony too (why not just use a laptop or mobile phone for playing music too?) but a lot of people are willing to
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            166 dpi is pathetic, I have an IBM ThinkPad A21p with 15" 1600x1200, that's 133 ppi on a fucking LCD. e-Ink should be at least 300 dpi. 166 is still muy grainy.

            • These points have already been made, and don't sway me. I can read e-books on my Palm just fine, even if a larger e-ink screen is better. It's not worth the price to me.
        • A paper book is also a one trick pony, and they've been pretty successful.
          • That's not a very valid comparison... even today most paper books are well under $20.00.
            • If I had a paper book that could change its pages to whatever book I wished to read at the moment, I would gladly pay $350 for it.

              The "trick" to which you refer is the replication of the book reading experience, which the Kindle and similar do very, very well. The fact that other devices are able to present text that you can read does not even begin to touch the value of a dedicated e-reader, in my opinion.
              • One more time: this argument has already been raised, and I simply disagree. While the display might not be as nice, nor the battery life, I can get a Netbook that is not much bigger, makes a fine e-book reader, and does hundreds of other things as well. From MY viewpoint, e-book readers are an overly-expensive luxury item.
                • I guess the crux of our disagreement is whether a netbook makes a "fine e-book reader." As I said, I have both, and I can't imagine reading a book on my netbook. It simply is not suitable for that purpose, in my opinion. I'm not just talking about whether I can read from the screen or not. I'm talking about reading for hours on end, in many different locations and in many different positions and postures, and all types of lighting, with no power cords or downtime during the entire process. In other wor
    • by mgblst (80109)

      It serves a different purpose, for example it is a lot easier to read these for long periods of time.

      You might as well complain that you can get a screwdriver for $4 down at walmart.

    • I have both a netbook and a Kindle, purchased about 30 days apart. They are completely different machines. A netbook does NOT do what a Kindle does.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:44PM (#27808979)

    Given the high price point and the (likely) too-restrictive DRM, I just can't see any of these devices really take off. I'm sure that, just like with music, the problem isn't the device manufacturers - it's the book publishers that are the problem. But as things stand now, there are just too many trade-offs for these to move into the mainstream. The publishers are just too concerned with trying to stuff the genii back into the bottle. Eventually someone - maybe Apple? - will come along with enough conviction (so they won't compromise) and clout (so they don't HAVE to compromise), and we'll finally get a truly revolutionary e-reader.

    For the present, though it's too bad - I'd love to get e-book readers for all three of us (my wife, daughter, and myself). I'd love to quit buying paper books and a printed newspaper. For now, however, they're just too expensive and too locked down.

    • BeBook isn't tied to DRM. I have heard rumours you can get hold of ebooks at the same place you can get music, films and tv shows.
    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      It's not going to be conviction that gets a company to be able to do it DRM-free, its going to be the publishers trying to break a single dominant outlet (e.g. iTunes for music). The single dominant outlet is probably an obvious result of a heavily DRM'd market, corresponding with the most convenient solution.

      If no one were to use any form of DRM'd e-books, you'd probably have the publishers say 'look, no one wants them.' Fortunately, I think there's enough interest in the product that the publishers will

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      There are plenty of eBook readers that support open formats like .lit, .pdb or .txt. The problem is that the DRM ties you to one bookstore.

      It's the same situation as MP3 players. How many people have 120GB of music they bought to fill the thing up? Not many I bet, although at least Amazon offer DRM-free MP3s now. Eventually eBooks will go the same way, in the face of better quality (i.e. non DRM restricted) products from BitTorrent sites.

    • Speaking as a publisher, and one of the authors who was part of the push to make the e-book mainstream back in 2000 (a push by, I might add, the major publishers), I can tell you from experience that publishers aren't trying to push any genie back into any bottle.

      They do, however, tend to go with what is good business. As of February, e-books managed to get up to representing around 1.5% of the entire U.S. book market for that month - it's the highest they've ever been, and it took them over 10 years to ge

  • Costs just a little less than a kindle 2, less memory, no keyboard, smaller screen, fewer features. No idea how many book titles will be available for it.

    It does have a calculator though.

    Makes me want to run out and get one to replace my kindle 2.

    • Costs just a little less than a kindle 2, less memory, no keyboard, smaller screen, fewer features. No idea how many book titles will be available for it.

      Why on earth would you want to have a keyboard on an ebook reader?

      I don't see (nor want to see) ebook readers evolve into my "I have everything I need on the go"-device. Cellphones are doing a pretty good job filling that role; ebook readers are an extra device to take along to read books (and have lots of books stored to choose from). The most impo

      • Why on earth would you want to have a keyboard on an ebook reader?

        On the Kindle, the keyboard is used for making notes in your books, entering search terms, and browsing the wireless book store.
  • bah, A5... (Score:4, Funny)

    by hitmark (640295) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:27PM (#27809275) Journal

    sorry, but im not interested unless its A4...

    • by mark-t (151149)
      I concur, but people like us represent too small a segment of the population to make such a product commercially viable at this time. I heard this directly from somebody who works for a company that makes a portable electronic document reader, and that's the response I got when I suggested that they make a letter-sized device. I was told they'd keep the idea in mind for future products, in what reminded me of the way that one gets told by a company that isn't going to hire them that "they'll keep their re
  • I won't buy an ebook reader until they have most of the things I want. Wifi access to shares on the local network - I often read on the couch; a comic reader program, because I do like my Deadpool; a colour screen, obviously, because reading coloured comics in black and white is not cool; SD or MicroSD storage would be nice too. A couple of nice but non-compulsory features for me would be a themeable and customizable UI, and a touch screen that I can write on.

    For all that, the price would have to be at or

    • I'm an idiot - I did that currency conversion backwards. I'm sure you're smart enough to see that, though...

  • Unfortunately this new device lacks wireless capabilities

    Does this mean it lacks wifi too?

    At this price, $299 US, it will only be $60 less than the Kindle2, without wireless capabilities. That seems like a pretty bad deal in my opinion. Sorry, not a kindle killer in my opinion.

  • Honestly, who needs wireless on an eBook reader?
    As long as it's got a memory card slot and/or a USB port that's really all it needs. A keyboard is also another thing that's pretty much useless on a book reader. With a touch screen, the thing should pretty much just have a power button and no more.

    If the screen is ok, the DRM isn't there, and I can get one for way less than $299, I'm there. Once something like this can go for $100, or even $150, I'm all over it.

  • I'm a kindle 2 owner. I looked at the touch-screen on a Sony device, and I didn't like it. The screen had more glare, and I didn't find it to be a suitable replacement for the keyboard. I suspect this device will have the same shortcomings.

    The "article," scant on details, suggests that this device is more "portable." Since it lacks wireless, which makes it infinitely less portable than the kindle, I can only assume that it weighs less. At 10 ounces or so, weight isn't much of an issue, in my mind. That s
  • by Weezul (52464)

    I want an ebook reader that reads pdf files generated by tex & latex. Does one exist?

    I have little use for devices with horribly limited pdf conversion options, like the Kindle. I don't mind producing ebook sized pdfs for my own papers using pdflatex, but I'd like to be able to read other pdf files too.

    • I've been hunting for a latex-to-mobi (or other e-book formats) util out there, but haven't found anything. I have tons of code that I would love to make ebooks for Stanza and my Touch.
    • Yes, the iRex iLiad can happily read PDFs. Get the community version of iPDF, rather than the bundled one, and you get much better zooming support and better power saving.
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory&gmail,com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:23PM (#27811273)

    eBook readers will take off the same time that mp3 players and smart phones did... when apple releases the 'iRead' (or whatever they call it.) I'm convinced that apples the only company out there with enough sense (and cojones) to make an eBook reader that will actually be a useful substitute for the printed word. If Apple doesn't do it, then that's just an indication that the technology isn't Quite There Yet.

    Sorry, I hate to sound like a hopeless fan-boi, but after getting burned on mp3 players (that just weren't Good Enough), then on Blackberrys (that Just Weren't Quite Good Enough), and loving life with my iPod and iPhone, I'm sold.

    • Apple, eBooks, EPUB (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ErkDemon (1202789) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:23PM (#27812039) Homepage

      If Apple doesn't do it, then that's just an indication that the technology isn't Quite There Yet.

      The problem with the idea of Apple walking in and taking the market is vertical integration and formats. Apple tend to like having their own proprietary formats, and hardware, and their own stores for content. So do Sony. So do Amazon.

      Sony keep trying and failing (Betamax, Minidisc). Amazon tried to corner the "print on demand" market and failed, because the industry were so furious about Amazon's abuse of power with the Booksurge fiasco that basically if Amazon hadn't backed down they have been sued or shot. Google books illegally scanned god knows how many copyright books with the intent to serve up content and charge advertising, and got sued.

      So the book industry - authors and publishers - tend to see the outside corporate guys who keep trying to take over their market and steal their content as basically pirates who are one step away from being Organised Crime (if that).

      So, while Amazon would certainly //like// to own the future eBook market and dictate terms to everyone else for the privilege of access to their ebook gateway, the book industry wants the Amazon/Kindle platform to go open-format and multi-vendor, or to fail. Same with the Sony format (except Sony seem to realise that they're weak, and seem to be making friendly noises about supporting whatever the industry decides on).

      EPUB

      I spent a few days at the London Book Fair recently, and what the publishers all seem to be pushing for is an "open" format based on XML called EPUB. They recognise that ebooks are going to become an increasingly important part of their business, and they're damned if they're going to just sign over half their future ebook income for the rest of their lives to someone like Amazon (or Sony), and be locked into a proprietary system that another company owns and controls. So they're trying to rejig their production processes around XML, with export to EPUB.

      The current plan is that EPUB becomes the default format that every publishing house uses for all their new books, in parallel with their print production, and that Amazon and Sony and everyone else have to retrofit support for EPUB or leave the market. So if the industry has its way, Kindle's proprietary format should be dead except as a legacy format in a year or two, and Kindles will be reading EPUB files Real Soon Now.

      PDF isn't half bad, but the publishing industry is (understandably) SO paranoid about being screwed by corporations trying to take over their market, that they won't even touch that, because that one's owned by Adobe. They've worked out that the only way to avoid getting screwed over is to adopt a single industry-wide format that nobody owns, and break the various corporations' attempts to use engineered incompatibility to divide and conquer the market.

      So that's where we are now.

      In that context, if Apple announced tomorrow that they were bringing out a new ebook reader that only used a proprietary Apple format, the publishing industry would look at them like they'd walked into a wedding reception, dropped their pants, and shat on the wedding cake. They saw what Apple did with iTunes, and they're damned, damned, damned if Apple are going to try to waltz in and own the new market for their content, too.

      If Apple want to do an EPUB-compatible reader, then that's fine, but if they want to set up their own new incompatible corner, that's not. And if their reader is going to be playing generic content, and if their shop isn't going to have an obvious advantage over all the other EPUB outlets, then there's not as much of a chance for Apple to extract added value from the scheme, and there's not as much reason for them to get involved with a new product.
      And, actually, Apple already HAVE a pocket-sized eBook platform, in the shape of the iPhone. Unless they can buy in ePaper technology in b

    • eBook readers will take off the same time that mp3 players and smart phones did... when apple releases the 'iRead' (or whatever they call it.)

      Wait...you think mp3 players and smart phones only took off after Apple released their products? They might have immediately taken control of said market, but the market was already flourishing long before apple made their play in each one of those areas.

      'm convinced that apples the only company out there with enough sense (and cojones) to make an eBook reader that will actually be a useful substitute for the printed word.

      It's already here. The iRex Iliad is fantastic. It's also $600, which is what is holding up adoption, and why the Kindle, despite being an inferior product, is doing so well, compared to all the others (much lower price point). Apple isn't exactly known

    • Didn't apple think about that, and reject it because most people don't read?

  • by hack slash (1064002) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @10:47PM (#27811837)
    I'm waiting for the one which has DON'T PANIC in big friendly letters on the front.

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