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Asus Plans Dual-Display E-Reader

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the blurring-the-lines dept.

Books 199

adeelarshad82 writes "Yet more confirmation has emerged that Asus plans its own e-book reader. An Asus representative in the UK appears to have confirmed this, with the additional details that there may be a value-priced as well as a premium version. The article guesses at the price point for the low-end model — around £100 ($192). Unlike current e-book readers, which take the form of a single flat screen, the Asus device has a hinged spine, like a printed book. This, in theory, enables its owner to read an e-book much like a normal book, using the touchscreen to 'turn' the pages from one screen to the next. Asus showed off a prototype of the device at the CeBIT trade show in March." Reader NeverBotedBush adds, "Asus's e-reader will likely have color touch screens, a speaker, a webcam, and a microphone, along with the capability to make inexpensive Skype calls." The color screen rules out using E Ink technology, so long battery life seems to be unlikely.

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199 comments

Nintendo DX of e-books (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360723)

It's an overstuffed Nintendo DX for reading e-books? Asus Christ.

Re:Nintendo DX of e-books (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360971)

Not a bad idea really. The "classic book collection" on the DS works quite well and could really only do with a bigger and brighter screen.

Silly KneeGrows (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361077)

Yeah that's what you get when Asus hires its design team under an affirmative action policy.

Re:Nintendo DX of e-books (1)

snikulin (889460) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361389)

Well, this one [images-amazon.com] is another good analogy.

Re:Nintendo DX of e-books (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361573)

Yes, but The Onion predicted that. [theonion.com] They didn't predict a dual display e-book.

Still not going to be Mainstream... (4, Insightful)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360725)

~$200 may be low-end, but that's still not mainstream. E-books still have a lot of cons they have to get past, and a 200 entry fee isn't helping. As a college student, I would need to be able to resell books, but e-books are "rentals" where I can never sell them, without selling the account. IMO that's the biggest reason E-books are still on the launching pad, many (college) books are bought for $120, but resold for $80, so effectively, I payed for a $40 book. With E-books, it's the same price, but I can't sell them. Once we can buy and sell e-books like used books, I may look into it, but that and the high entry cost basically guarantee that I'll never buy one.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360795)

As a college student

Yeah, we can tell you're both a college student and an avid reader by your decorative use of commas and inability to spell "paid".

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (-1, Offtopic)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360823)

I don't know about you, but ad hominem attacks over grammer are pretty pathetic. Especially when you completely miss the point of my post over a comma or two. So basically, WOOOSH.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360853)

I don't know about you, but ad hominem attacks over grammer are pretty pathetic

Too easy, Brian. Walk away.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (-1, Offtopic)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360915)

See it's my little game to answer ever logical fallacy with another. It keeps the discussion going, while providing a subtle joke for myself. Jokes are always fun.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361093)

See it's my little game to answer ever logical fallacy with another. It keeps the discussion going, while providing a subtle joke for myself. Jokes are always fun.

He may have been talking about your spelling of "grammar." If so, that's a whoosh.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (4, Insightful)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360807)

Why would college students who download gigs of mp3s/month have a problem with downloading some "illegal" pdfs? Just search for physics or math on any torrent site and see what you get. I now have digital copies of not only every physics text I've ever owned, I have digital copies of every physics text I've ever heard of.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360863)

I now have digital copies of not only every physics text I've ever owned, I have digital copies of every physics text I've ever heard of.

Digital copies? Your school library probably has laser printers you know >:3

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361205)

Yeah, and have fun copying a ~600 page book by hand (you can't exactly cut and manually feed in the pages on a library book), especially with most libraries costing tons of money per copy.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

emjay88 (1178161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361619)

(you can't exactly cut and manually feed in the pages on a library book),

I'm pretty sure he was implying that the digital copies be printed, not that new digital copies be made by GGP.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (3, Insightful)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360987)

There aren't as many pdf's for textbooks as you think. Prof's usually require the newest edition of the book, which means that the 13th Edition is no good after one or two semesters. Sure, you can get math books, but the exact math book you're using, with the solutions manual? Good Luck.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361555)

I've never known a math professor to require the latest edition, because they often don't count the homework as part of the grade, and the homework they go over is clearly worked out from the bare problems on the board. Many online math classes also include the text as part of the license fee.

If the texts were written clearly enough to learn from the start then we wouldn't need teachers to explain them. I don't have a need for any instructor who will screw my grade over without regard to my merit just because I didn't shell out for the latest edition of the text. Fuck 'em, they're not as broke as I am.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (3, Funny)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361351)

Just search for physics or math on any torrent site and see what you get.

Most likely physics porn or math porn, respectively.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (4, Funny)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361583)

For your viewing pleasure. [perpetualocean.com]

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360839)

They'll soon figure out that they can only charge 1/3 as much for an ebook, and then everyone will be happy.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360985)

What you need isn't going to be marketed as an E-book reader. It's going to be a very lightweight netbook-style device (perhaps a tablet) that allows you to view anything you want.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (4, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361001)

I doubt it will be mainstream, but not for the same reasons as you think.

Strike 1: it's not e-ink/e-paper. So, that makes it what, a dual-screen tablet? Cool, but e-ink is what makes e-readers so great, and so much better for reading, than tablets or laptops or netbooks.

Now, $200 isn't bad, compared to $299 for the Kindle 2, or more for the DX. So that's a plus. As for the college students and the price of books... I sympathize to a point. I would definitely not purchase standard undergraduate texts in electronic form. They're a ripoff in paper form to begin with, but at least you can resell them (if only for a fraction of what you paid if you were unfortunate enough to buy new).

As a grad student, though, you'll find your reading habits changing. It's somewhat discipline dependent, but everyone will be reading articles, mostly in PDF format. Kindle DX, etc., are superb for that. I've also purchased two books for a class from Amazon for my Kindle. In both cases, they were cheaper than any used copies I could find. I know I can't resell them, but I don't anticipate selling that sort of book anyway (it was inexpensive to begin with, and I will probably need it for reference when studying for comps).

In the meantime, I've found at least one book for a class on a torrent site, and I do things like copy all my typed notes to the Kindle. Is it saving me money? Absolutely not. But I don't have to print out hundreds of pages or be stuck at a computer to read things, and that alone is worth it for me.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361723)

Cool, but e-ink is what makes e-readers so great,

It also makes them slow, expensive, black&white-only and unusable for the Internet or video. A good LCD screen, such as the ones from PixelQi, can give you something very close to the resolution and sunlight readability of ePaper while also giving you color and video and that at a low cost. Now of course if they actually use such an good LCD or just stuck in one of those crappy shiny Laptop screen that are unusable outside remains to be seen.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361885)

Have you ever seen an e-reader screen? Sounds like you haven't.

Also, an e-reader is a "book". It has nothing to do with Internet or video... etc etc.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

karl75771 (1142947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361971)

You should buy a netbook for $250 or so. It does all of this crap plus more. As an added bonus, a netbook displays porn!

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29362019)

Its not going to be mainstream until the prices of both ebooks and readers are reasonable. That means $1-$2 for most ebooks ($3 max) and all ebooks available in non-DRMed formats, and about $50.00 for ebook readers. AND you must be legally allowed to buy and sell used ebooks! Until all these conditions are met, I won't buy into it at all!

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (3, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361111)

What if you buy and read a lot of books, but could do so for a fraction of the price. I see paperback type books becoming like $0.99, any my wife reads these style books like they are going out of style.

Even Textbooks could be sold "new" for much less than they currently are. The fact is, economy doesn't require resale of virtual property. Nobody is demanding resale rights to iTunes music.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361387)

Nobody is demanding resale rights to iTunes music.

Because in general music is timeless. It gets popular, goes underground, gets revived, becomes retro, etc. A song you heard 15 years ago will still be as good of a song today as it was when you first heard it. On the other hand, textbooks get obsolete. The textbook you read 15 years ago in most subjects will be wrong, not antique, not timeless but simply -wrong-. Secondly, who re-reads textbooks? I listen to some of my old CDs regularly that I bought 10 or more years ago, I re-read some of my old fiction books and some old non-fiction books, however once you get out of college you don't even touch your old textbooks unless by some stroke of fate your going back to school.

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361687)

"The textbook you read 15 years ago in most subjects will be wrong, not antique, not timeless but simply -wrong-."

The interesting thing is that if that's the case, the textbook was also -wrong- when it was taught. And yet it was taught as being -right-.

But truth simply *doesn't* get obsolete. It's either right or it's wrong.

Doesn't that say something disturbing about science, if what passes for truth changes so often?

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361923)

To compete with printed books effectively, at least in the 'active reader' context, I see a couple things that need to happen before the devices get wide adoption (ie not just the voracious readers with more money than sense):

* The things need to be cheap, dirt cheap. If they can (essentially) made an embedded system with dual color touchscreens for $200, then they should be able to make a single-display eInk based device for a 4th that that doesn't have all the added gadgetry. (C'mon, dual screens will NOT be a killer feature!)
* Ebooks will need to be less than half the cost of the printed version. If I'm going to pay for a digital copy, I'm basically paying for the convenience of doing so over going out to buy a book; it might even be an impulse buy. There is something to be said for not having clutter, but at least with most books, you can sell them online (amazon) for a fair bit more than half the new cost (or you only paid $3 for the book to start with because it was already used).
* The ebooks would need to be unencumbered by DRM. If someone wants a book, it's already pretty trivial to find it online in PDF format. People who want to do that are doing that now. Nothing would change if they removed DRM (or didn't add it) to these devices, except ebook purchasers would be able to back up their own books and control their device (as they can their bookshelves today).

Re:Still not going to be Mainstream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29362227)

Save some money buy an older PSP and put Bookr on it 5 or 6 hours battery life and honestly not that bad PDFs DJVU TXT RTF PDB I mean whose really going to read for longer than 5 hours at a time anyway.

Ebook readers should be a hell of a lot cheaper honestly they only need the basics not all the going online and skype nonsense.

That's Great, But... (4, Insightful)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360745)

TFA doesn't address the real questions: What formats can it handle? Will it only be able to handle some bizarre custom, DRM-protected format? Will it primarily deal with some bizarre custom, DRM-protected format? Will Asus have remote control to fiddle with my files? Will it gather data about me, what I'm reading, and/or who I'm calling on Skype?

I refuse to get excited until I know whether it's More of the Same (TM) or not, shiny features be damned.

Re:That's Great, But... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360791)

That's the great thing about vaporware.. some people read it and decide "I'm going to buy one of these as soon as it comes out", some people read it and say "it'll suck, I'll never buy one" and the rest of us read it and say "that's nice".

Personally, I don't get anything from vaporware announcements except the feeling that one day I might hear about someone who actually has one of these things and they might say it doesn't suck, maybe.

O RLY (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360901)

and the rest of us read it and say "that's nice".

You say that like "the rest of you" is more than you and your virtual cat.

Re:That's Great, But... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360861)

Well said. But in fact:

Will it primarily deal with some bizarre custom, DRM-protected format?

That's the one real make-or-break question for me. Secondary formats don't matter much to me if the platform trend is going to be towards more DRM.

Re:That's Great, But... (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360909)

TFA doesn't address the real questions: who thought of this? I can't wait to pay 50% more for a second screen to my ebook reader so that I can look at both pages surrounding every other page break at the same time.

Re:That's Great, But... (3, Interesting)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361003)

TFA doesn't address the real questions: who thought of this? I can't wait to pay 50% more for a second screen to my ebook reader so that I can look at both pages surrounding every other page break at the same time.

Well, my opinion is still "features be damned". I would gladly pay more for a reader that ensured my privacy and ownership, regardless of whether I'm paying for bloat as well. Mind you, that's not to say your comment is by any means uninsightful. It's just not important to me when compared to the question of what personal concessions I'd have to make before I'm allowed to purchase one.

Re:That's Great, But... (0, Flamebait)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361981)

It's called a 'book'.

Awesome, I think? (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360775)

I keep reading the post over and over, trying to figure out how they hide the words "...includes the words "Don't Panic" written in large letters on the back."

Re:Awesome, I think? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360793)

err the front, oh my karma

Re:Awesome, I think? (2, Funny)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360825)

I keep reading the post over and over, trying to figure out how they hide the words "...includes the words "Don't Panic" written in large letters on the back."

Obligatory link [xkcd.com] .

Backlit screen = yuk (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360777)

Backlit screens are useless outdoors. In my recent quest to replace an aging mp3 player, I found everything has color screens now, which suck because a) they're hard to read outdoors and b) they burn power, so you have to push a button to turn them on. E-ink seems fine, but I also think there is a large, unjustified bias against good old black & white LCD - yeah, like a Casio digital watch, or a PDA from 1999 - but so what? Those screens were/are very useful.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360857)

There are several kinds of color LCD screens that work outdoors. Nokia cell phones commonly use one kind, the OLPC uses another kind.

speaking of OLPC, this looks like the XO-2 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361139)

OLPC's XO-2 concept [laptopmag.com] was similar to this - a dual panel color touch screen readable outdoors (like the XO-1's single panel non-touch screen). I don't know if they're going forward with the XO-2, but the XO-1.5 is nearing it's unveiling.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (0, Troll)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360881)

I guess you've never used an iPod Touch or an iPhone then, huh? Outside, under full sun - clearly visible, unless of course the glass itself is reflecting the sun directly into your eyes - which happens with many surfaces.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361125)

clearly visible, unless of course the glass itself is reflecting the sun directly into your eyes - which happens with many surfaces.

Such as glass?

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360991)

How often do you read outdoors? Usually when I'm outdoors, I'm doing things like recalibrating my retinae, watching my skin burn, etc. No time to read outdoors, really.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (2, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361481)

Daylight from windows can make reading screens difficult while indoors.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361627)

Windows? I took all of those out when I changed my house and to Linux.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (3, Informative)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361123)

It won't be a problem if they use a screen from pixelqi: http://www.pixelqi.com/ [pixelqi.com]

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361181)

He has a point. The press release doesn't mention what technology the reader uses. Pixel QI is supposed to be coming out with a type of LCD fab based (so it's as cheep), color, sunlight readable display, but hasn't mentioned any partners yet. Maybe Asus is working with them?

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361213)

I agree. It looks like they're making more of a multipurpose reader that's able to browse the internet, though.

I do like the idea of e-ink screens, especially in terms of battery life; I'd really like it if someone made an e-ink reader WITH a backlight that you could optionally turn on for reading in the dark.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361299)

but I also think there is a large, unjustified bias against good old black & white LCD

Colors are good for many things. For one, any modern video is going to look like crap on a black and white LCD. For another most people see black and white LCDs as cheap, most people play their MP3 players in their car, at home, at work all indoors. And you can find a large amount of black and white LCD players if you get cheaper off brand ones. Sure, they won't be the greatest quality, but most customers don't want black and white LCDs because they are inferior.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361501)

Damn straight, reading on my old palm pilot works great in full sun.

Re:Backlit screen = yuk (2, Interesting)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361715)

Indeed, my Palm III was just wonderful for reading e-books. Ran for a whole weekend on four rechargeable AAAs, too.

Still got it in a drawer somewhere. The main pain is that it needs things converted to .pdb and can only take about four average novels (text-only, .5MB each). No Google Books scans.

But yes, why not revive the old b&w LCD?

Yes But... (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360833)

Does it run Linux?

sign me up (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360851)

I am tired of all those eInk readers (I've owned a couple); their slow refresh time makes them awful.

Re:sign me up (3, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360917)

The point of e-Ink is that it doesn't need to refresh multiple times per second to keep the text on there. It works more like paper, and so refresh time isn't really important. What's the refresh time on your paperback, when you turn a page?

Re:sign me up (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361055)

Instant. I can the text on the page as I'm turing it. If someone is interrupting me and I have to re-read the last paragraph on the last page because I forgot it, I can do that really fast on real book.

With eInk, you have to put up with the switching delay.

I know they're getting better, but it is an issue right now.

I think a big part of the problem is that the full screen has to turn one color then the other to prevent ghosting. That effectively doubles refresh time and that "flash" makes it much more noticeable than if, like the LCD I'm typing on right now, it only switched the pixels that changed.

eInk works great once you have the page displayed, especially if you have a large screen. Wouldn't something iPhone sized (or a little bigger) with an eInk screen be pretty great? Imagine the batter life! But all the page refreshes would make it rather annoying to use.

If we could get something with a refresh rate akin to an old passive matrix LCD, we'd be in good shape. What was that, 50ms or so?

Re:sign me up (1)

mewyn (663989) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361921)

Unless you've got books that have indestructible pages, I bet you're page flips take about half a second to do, which is exactly comparable to the Kindle 2's page flip.

Re:sign me up (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362469)

Strange. I can flip through a 1000 page book in a couple of seconds. Something doesn't quite add up properly...

Re:sign me up (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361145)

What's the point of eInk if they are able to use a screen that looks pretty much the same, with color?

An eInk interface is still pretty expensive to make (compared to standard LCD), and it's really hard to create a usable interface (uuggghhh scroll wheel)

Re:sign me up (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361279)

E ink doesn't give you the strain on your eyes that normal LCDs do. Us geeks might be relatively unaffected by it because of how often we use them. But after a while your eyes hurt. E-ink doesn't have to refresh as often so it reads a lot more like paper.

Re:sign me up (2, Interesting)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361729)

LCDs don't give people eye strain anymore than books or eInk displays.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asthenopia [wikipedia.org]

If anything, due to their lower contrast, eInk displays are worse than LCDs in terms of eye strain.

eInk is superior to LCDs only in terms of power consumption. In terms of readability in sunlight, it's comparable to LCDs designed for outdoor use. And in terms of contrast ratio, color, and refresh rate, it's much worse than other display technologies.

Re:sign me up (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361689)

It works more like paper,

No, it doesn't. I can quickly flip through a paper book; flipping through an eInk book is like watching grss grow.

What's the refresh time on your paperback, when you turn a page?

Milliseconds.

Color screen rules out E-ink? What? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360903)

Then can you explain this [eink.com] ?

And that's not even mentioning color electronic ink from other companies [wired.com] .

Re:Color screen rules out E-ink? What? (2, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360961)

I can.

Ordinary e-Ink + additional technology [photobucket.com] .

Dual Screens = Opportunity (4, Interesting)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360919)

Why not make one screen E Ink and the other more conventional color (LED-backlit, TFT)? If you want the long battery life and don't care about color at a particular time, keep the color display powered off. Otherwise, if there's an illustration or photo that you want to see in color, drag/swipe the picture/page over to the color display and spend some battery juice. Bonus points if the entire color display is simply a snap-on accessory that you don't have to buy and don't have to carry everywhere.

Re:Dual Screens = Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361065)

Why not make one screen E Ink and the other more conventional color (LED-backlit, TFT)?

Because no one will buy an ebook reader with mismatched displays.

Re:Dual Screens = Opportunity (3, Insightful)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361171)

Why not use colour e-ink displays [eink.com] ? Surely they've got the kinks ironed out by now...

Re:Dual Screens = Opportunity (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361897)

The other major disadvantage to an e-ink display is refresh rate. If you had a normal display, you could have web-browsing and other interactive features on the second display, and use the e-ink display for low power, static display. It would really increase the usefulness of the system. Think an ebook that flipped open/over to become an N800.

Feature Creep (1, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360947)

It isn't an ebook reader if it has a microphone, webcam and the ability to make Skype calls. It is a flat computer.

I can see the justification for speakers, possibly helping with ADA compliance and reading text to the sight impaired. The rest is loss-of-focus, lets add features to disguise the shitty battery life, crap.

Give me extended battery life in an ebook reader over all that crap any day.

Re:Feature Creep (4, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361129)

Also, it isn't a computer if it has a microphone, webcam, color screen, and the ability to connect to a global network. :)

You forget that as technology advances, so must our names for things.

That, and it sounds like, well, you wouldn't want the product - however, I, and I think many millions more, /do/, just as it is.

So let me get this straight... (0, Flamebait)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360955)

A touch screen (finger-print analysis)
A camera (visual surveillance)
A microphone (audio surveillance)
Skype calls (call tapping)
A speaker (subliminal suggestion?)

Does it come with a free copy of of George Orwell's "1984"?
Oh, right...thats been yanked already.

But seriously, this combination of tech in a fucking BOOK reader? Call me Tinfoil Tom, but doesn't this make any of you just a wee bit nervous?

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

opposabledumbs (1434215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361067)

I think that's just the result of Asus trying to mess with the underlying design of the eee as little as possible. Besides, it helps to inflate the unit price a little, and attempts to widen the customer pool slightly. On a side note, 1984 isn't the problem with these features, although your argument is valid my tin hat is glowing as I type this. The problem isn't surveillance as much as failure to read and think 'cos I'm playing some stupid internet penguin game/talking to my inane mates/ listening to muckracker and the drooling vegetables on Last.Fm It's not Orwell, but Huxley we have to worry about here: Brave New World here we come.

Re:So let me get this straight... (3, Informative)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361443)

The touchscreen can't be used for fingerprint analysis.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361473)

That's what they want you to *think*.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361551)

15 seconds and Google. You might want to try it some time.

http://www.eetasia.com/ART_8800424319_499495_NT_3378d9fd.HTM [eetasia.com]

Re:So let me get this straight... (2, Informative)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361803)

15 seconds of trying to make sense of an article I can't read without a subscription:

This is a tablet PC with a built in fingerprint reader AND a touchscreen.

Next time spend 30 seconds before making a snarky comment. Also, try reading the fucking article you link to.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361963)

Wait...How did you read the article without a subscription(I didn't need one)? Don't tell me you subscribed just to TRY and prove me wrong.

As far the technology discussed in the article, did it occur to you that the information about the screen itself, combined with the sensor tech would do exactly what I stated? A little imagination, please.

Ok, lets try again, same Google search keywords. (touchscreen fingerprint analysis)

The fucking patent work for you, dude?

As a matter of discussion, this patent fits my original post TO A TEE. Screen, camera and microphone, all combined to provide damn near perfect biometric acquisition.

http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20080267456 [faqs.org]

Sheesh.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362001)

I used the google, I found a picture of the device you listed, and I noticed that it had a separate fingerprint reader.

Show me a touchscreen that is capable of accurately reading your fingerprint. They don't exist, plain and simple, and even if they did, the last place you will find one is on some crappy $200 ebook reader.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362125)

Okay, I'll try again...

http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20080267456 [faqs.org]

Please try and READ the text. I'm sorry, but it doesn't include pictures.

This isn't World of Warcraft, dude, so don't pull this "Screenshot, or it didn't happen." shit.

And by the way, this patent was applied for by Honeywell, a legitimate company that is known for biometrics work. If they applied for a patent, it is more then likely because they want to make some money from it. It is pretty hard to make money from non-existent technology, unless, of course, you are Nathan Myhrvold.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362213)

Sweet jesus, are you illiterate?

First of all, NO there are no devices shipping with this capability.

Second, did you read your link? Again? This is a patent for a BUTTON with a built in fingerprint reader.

IT IS NOT ON THE TOUCHSCREEN.

Let me quote it:

There may be a device 15 such as a sensor, camera, imager or scanner situated or embedded behind each displayed key 14 for obtaining fingerprint information from the finger pressing the respective key.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362513)

FIRST line in the abstract:

"A data collection system having a touch screen and sensors behind the touch screen for obtaining biometric data about the user. While the user is making entries on the touch screen, one or more fingerprints of the user may be taken."

You can go now.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361673)

A microphone (audio surveillance)
Skype calls (call tapping)

Isn't that a little redundant?

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361973)

>>Call me Tinfoil Tom, but doesn't this make any of you just a wee bit nervous?

Maybe a little, but how about this for an idea guys.

I picture a book sized device...

...doesn't have touch screen
...doesn't have dual screens
...doesn't have a camera
...doesn't have a microphone
...doesn't connect to the internet and make skype calls
...doesn't have speakers

but it does let you read books!!

If they can make this thing for $200, just think how cheap the simple device I described would be!

We could call it an "Electronic Book". We're gonna be rich!!

Pure speculation: PixelQi screens? (3, Interesting)

marciot (598356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360983)

I'm hoping these will come out with PixelQi screens, as it will make it a truly revolutionary product. Although at this point it is pure speculation, I think there is a good chance Asus has signed a deal with PixelQi. Not only do the videos on PixelQi's sites show netbooks which resembles the Eee, their site mentions the displays will be in production in the late 2009, which coincides with the introduction of this new e-Reader. PixelQi could stand to benefit from teaming up with a company such as Asus, and I bet this is what has happened (in a couple month's we'll see how well my prediction fares!)

Color screen? (1)

JVert (578547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361007)

Really? An ebook with a color screen just sounds soo useless. Color does not mean black and white, when reading long enough on a computer you start to see the rgb bleeding through off the white. I can't belive Asus is soo far off target with this.

Does it look like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29361167)

Reader NeverBotedBush adds, "Asus's e-reader will likely have color touch screens, a speaker, a webcam, and a microphone, along with the capability to make inexpensive Skype calls." The color screen rules out using E Ink technology, so long battery life seems to be unlikely.

So it must look something like this [newlaunches.com] .

Two screens for a book reader...? (1)

Kira-Baka (463765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361247)

It doesn't make much sense to me. Bound books use both sides of the paper because the other side would be blank otherwise... Two screens on a device like this is pretty pointless.

Re:Two screens for a book reader...? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361523)

Some books are designed so that text refers to an illustration that is on the other page in the 2 page spread. Continually having to flip pages is annoying.

ebook reader tipping point (3, Informative)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361375)

I'm walking into the Stop and Shop the other day, and I look over at a beat up car, the kind in which you typically see some old duffer checking his scratch tickets and reading the Herald. Only this old guy was checking his scratch tickets and reading his Kindle. I thought, Perhaps this moment is time zero.

Display-Only Tablet (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361529)

What we need is a tablet that has a superfast, hirez display, superfast wireless networking, and nearly nothing else. A wireless display peripheral at 1920x1080 (or, better yet, WQUXGA [wikipedia.org] at 3840x1200) with a full color, high frame rate layer and a super low power B&W e-ink layer. A minimal CPU for running an X server's application and Linux - or some smaller "remote display" network OS and application. A 2-channel stereo soundchip. And a 600Mbps (DVI 552Mbps + 48Mbps data) that's 3x the speed of 802.11n.

The audio/video data delivered to it (and from it, as videophone, for a "deluxe" bidirectional media terminal) would be delivered by local feeds for home and conference use, or over really fast broadband. But the unit itself should be just a display (and recording) terminal, with app processing hosted at a stationary host.

So we've probably got at least 5 years before we get one of these. The display and networking bandwidth are higher than even the fastest desktop machines, with a few pioneering exceptions. By that time it should cost under $300. Until then, the rest are just prototypes.

(sigh) still waiting.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361561)

Sure, color is neat but I'm still holding out for an a4 or letter-sized document reader with a photon-reflective, as opposed to a photon-emissive display... oh and it has to handle PDF's.

AFAIK, the closest anyone's come so far is a 10.4" diagonal screen, which is still about 30% too small.

skype: most used feature? (1)

DEmmons (1538383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361631)

it is on my ASUS eeePC 701. Wife got it for me while my primary notebook was in the shop and i was compiling C code on it and everything while i was in notebook withdrawal, but now all we ever use it for is Skype video calls, even though it still runs Fedora and has lots of software. I wonder how often that becomes the main use of gadgets like this after the excitement dies down.

Re:skype: most used feature? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362285)

My EeePC 701 is still my primary computer, you insensitive clod, and yes, it runs Skype too...

Too $much, too late (2, Interesting)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29361669)

I am a life-long reader; I love reading a book or newspaper as much as anything in life. I was very ill as a child and spent most of ages 4-6 in bed. We didn't own a TV, so my only companions were books from the local library and the daily papers. (That was back when you got a morning AND an evening paper on your doorstep.) When I could get out, I bought all the comic books my allowance would allow. That was when an Action Comics Superman from DC was a whopping 10 cents. I was highly pissed when the price went to 12 cents an issue, as I recall.

One of the gadgets I've wanted for years is a decent e-reader with lots of content. I passed on the Sony and Kindle machines because they were "close, but no cigar" for my taste. Color was a requirement for me as I still love comics and graphic novels.

Recently, I got an iPhone 3GS and discovered Stanza, Comics (Comixology), NYTimes, and NPR News. I had assumed the small screen on the phone would be terrible for reading. Instead, I find that I read something with ALL of those apps, everyday. Just finished reading ALL of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars novels with Stanza. Absolutely loved them. Coincidentally, the Science Fiction Book Club (of which I've been a member since 1972) is offering a reissue of those same books in hardcover.

Cost from SFBC = $50, plus shipping. Cost of the ebook versions on Stanza = $0. Also recently read the entire Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes books and stories, again for a cost of $0.

The Comics app, even bereft of titles from DC and Marvel (so far), is excellent. I'm currently reading Omega Chase and loving it. I've spent about $10 on various comics thus far and haven't regretted a single penny.

The point is, I'm no longer "waiting" for an e-reader; I have all I need.

One could argue that I own a +$2000 e-reader in the iPhone, but since it IS a nice phone, game machine (finally getting good at F.A.S.T.), web and e-mail appliance, AND a decent e-reader, I am still happy. Plus, I only have to carry and manage ONE device.

Bottom line: Sony, Amazon, Asus, etc. will never see a nickel from me for their readers. They missed any opportunity with me.

Re:Too $much, too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29362027)

>>Bottom line: Sony, Amazon, Asus, etc. will never see a nickel from me for their readers. They missed any opportunity with me.

What did they do to you?

Flipping pages (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29362165)

Probably the nicest feature of a book is the ability to bend it and flip pages by running it against your thumb, then sticking a forefinger in to hold the place. Once an Ebook reader can do that, I'll be impressed.
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