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LG Presents Solar Powered E-Book

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the overcomes-my-battery-objection-at-least dept.

Power 139

MikeChino writes "At first glance, e-readers offer a great set of benefits over paper-bound books – they’re light, versatile, and a great alternative to lugging around a tote full of dead tree tomes on your next trip. However these new reading mediums have one glaring fault — can you imagine the frustration of running out of juice mid-sentence and halfway through Infinite Jest? LG's new solar e-book aims to address this issue by harnessing the sun's rays to power its display. The device features a 10 centimeter wide thin-film photovoltaic panel that can power the reader for a full day's worth of reading after 4-5 hours spent sitting in the sun."

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139 comments

Warranty (3, Funny)

Romancer (19668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715893)

... Warranty void if left out in the sun for prolonged exposure.

Re:Warranty (3, Informative)

Romancer (19668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715935)

From the Source of all knowledge (ok, Wikipedia)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_charger#Prolonging_battery_life [wikipedia.org]

Most modern cell phones, laptops, and most electric vehicles use Lithium-ion batteries. Contrary to some recommendations, these batteries actually last longest if the battery is not fully charged; fully charging and discharging them will degrade their capacity relatively quickly. Degradation occurs faster at higher temperatures. Lithium batteries degrade more while fully charged than if it is only 40% charged. The conditions of high temperature combined with full charge are exactly the scenario occurring when a laptop computer is run on AC power. Degradation in lithium-ion batteries is caused by an increased internal battery resistance due to cell oxidation. This decreases the efficiency of the battery, resulting in less net current available to be drawn from the battery.

Re:Warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29716011)

I think they're banking on the idea that quite a few people read in the sun. Thus, even if it's harmful, people will still gain some use out of it.

Telling people the sun hurts tech is one thing, but showing them how "Hey when you read outside it auto charges!" is another. Your average Americans, at least, would likely find #2 amazing and #1 unnoticeable,

Or maybe they've got awesome new battery tech? Who knows.

Re:Warranty (0, Offtopic)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716325)

Lithium batteries degrade more while fully charged than if it is only 40% charged

Is there a wikipedia article on subject-verb agreement?

Re:Warranty (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717851)

Lithium batteries degrade more while fully charged than if it is only 40% charged

Is there a wikipedia article on subject-verb agreement?

The subject (batteries) and verb (degrade) agree fine. It's the subject and pronoun that disagree.

</even_more_pedantic>

Re:Warranty (0, Offtopic)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716723)

we are voiding the planets warranty :
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299426.stm [bbc.co.uk]

'Scary' climate message from past: Levels similar to those now commonly regarded as adequate to tackle climate change were associated with sea levels 25-40m (80-130 ft) higher than today.

Two Words, Lithium Batteries (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29715901)

Every electronic device you've ever seen has a disclaimer that says "Do not leave in direct sunlight." This is a horrible idea, the batteries won't last two months.

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (1)

edcheevy (1160545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715921)

Not to mention the rest of the device -- I'm sure you've seen what happens to plastic left in the sun! That clear plastic screen will look great once it turns yellow. Of course, I imagine it's a) mainly a gimmick and b) designed to die (so we can buy the newer model) long before sun damage...

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (5, Informative)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716737)

Not to mention the rest of the device -- I'm sure you've seen what happens to plastic left in the sun! That clear plastic screen will look great once it turns yellow. Of course, I imagine it's a) mainly a gimmick and b) designed to die (so we can buy the newer model) long before sun damage...

Given the most e-ink readers last about a week or more on a single charge, and can charge from a USB port, I'd say the chances of this being a gimmick are pretty high.

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (2, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717095)

I don't think it's a gimmick. If you add wireless data to the package, you've got a device that you don't need to connect to a plug. Ever. I think that's pretty fucking cool. The fact that e-ink readers don't need all that much power is why this could work; leaving it on the window sill for a couple of hours per week might be enough.

And I don't know in what kind of caves you people live, but virtually all my electronics get plenty of direct sunlight, minus the UV the windows filter.

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (4, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717217)

minus the UV the windows filter.

Must be the Linux crowd complaining :)

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (1)

quercus.aeternam (1174283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717353)

And I don't know in what kind of caves you people live, but virtually all my electronics get plenty of direct sunlight, minus the UV the windows filter.

Just a guess, but I'd have to say - mostly padded ones?

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717481)

"Given the most e-ink readers last about a week or more on a single charge, and can charge from a USB port, "

One of the latest complaints with the Kindle, which is one of the top selling ebooks at least, is that the latest round of updates broke the battery meter or charge, no one knows for sure which. Some people though have been having problems prior to the update, but the latest has the battery level dropping from 50% to critical (warning to shut off the Kindle and charge it) after reindexing or image heavy use or even just turning wireless on (even when getting a strong signal). My DX used to go 1 1/2 weeks with moderate to light reading connecting to wireless occasionally. Since the late August early September update, I can't make 4 days. Without wireless, 2 weeks before recharging was easy. Now, 1 week is the usual. All issues came up after an automatic software update.

Kindle blogs have been covering the issues for quite awhile, although with sparse comments.

Also, USB these days has evolved into having the problem firewire had--too many damn connector types. I know with the Kindle 2 and DX, they use the new USB port that the cell phone industry has been pushing. Yet another cable to lug around.

"I'd say the chances of this being a gimmick are pretty high."

Yeah, given it's a little dinky strip and even on the side of the book cover. If it was the plastics on back of the device and sides of the screen, I'd think it'd be a great idea given it would charge faster and capture light in nearly any position. Better to buy an external portable solar panel and recharge an emergency battery then swap the backup battery in (oh, wait, the Kindle 2 and on can't do that), plus you have something that could recharge any device, like your cell phone.

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (3, Insightful)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716289)

Every other electronic device besides calculators.. that is.

Remember those things? Calculators? I think they're kind of like abacuses- people used them before they had phones/laptops.

Re:Two Words, Lithium Batteries (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716889)

Yeah I guess sitting in a field doing math for fun wasn't really a common problem...

To what you said, I remember once I was doing a physics problem set with my computer in front of me and my TI-83 in my hands. My math teaching fellow looked at me, laughed, and said, "You have the most bad-ass calculator ever made right in front of you... and you're using your hand-held. But yeah, that's cool, use whatever you're used to".

Running out of juice (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715905)

Running out of juice with an e-book must feel as if all the pages that you still have to read are suddenly glued together.

Re:Running out of juice (3, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715929)

No, actually it doesn't. It feels like you want to jerk off, except you're sitting in church and the priest is looking right at you.

Re:Running out of juice (3, Funny)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716285)

> It feels like you want to jerk off, except you're sitting in church and the
> priest is looking right at you.

It feels like you want to jerk off, except you're sitting in church and the
priest is looking right at you while he's jerking off.

There...fixed it for 'ya!

Re:Running out of juice (2, Funny)

rishistar (662278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716441)

Ahhh... to be thirteen agan.

Re:Running out of juice (1)

Menkhaf (627996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716859)

...and catholic!

Re:Running out of juice (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715931)

Running out of juice with an e-book must feel as if all the pages that you still have to read are suddenly glued together.

I hate it when that happens. That's why I never lend my copies of Playboy* out to anyone...they always come back with pages mysteriously glued together.



* For all you kids out there, Playboy was a magazine that adolescent boys used to...um...read before the invention of Internet porn.

Re:Running out of juice (2, Funny)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717877)

Playboy was a magazine that adolescent boys used to...um...read before the invention of Internet porn.

But only for the articles.

Re:Running out of juice (1)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716055)

I'm wondering if this is a viable concern.

From the Kindle web site. [amazon.com]

Battery Life: Read on a single charge for up to 4 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to two weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. In low-coverage areas or in EDGE/GPRS-only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly

Does one need more than 4 day to 2 weeks between chargings?

Re:Running out of juice (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716097)

> Does one need more than 4 day to 2 weeks between chargings?

Yes. Duh.

Re:Running out of juice (3, Informative)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716133)

Since anecdotes are evidence: I own a Kindle and I can only think of once (in a year and a half) where I've been stuck unable to read. When the battery lasts two weeks and it only takes a couple of hours to charge, its really hard to run out, even when you're really bad about leaving things charged like I am. My phone is much more of a pain when it comes to keeping it charged.

Aftermarket ? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29715907)

Couldn't the aftermarket industry simply offer up a E-Book sleeve/cover that has a built in solar cell and stays connected to the reader's power jack and bring this 'breakthrough' to any other E-Book desired?

Re:Aftermarket ? (3, Informative)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716291)

> Couldn't the aftermarket industry simply offer up a E-Book sleeve/cover that
> has a built in solar cell

Great idea. It'll be the future anyway when clothing has solar cells built-in
and we can charge any device by connecting to our jacket :-)

A forerunner of that are bags, already available:

http://www.sakkuus.com/ [sakkuus.com]

Re:Aftermarket ? (3, Informative)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716309)

There are solar chargers available such as the FreeLoader [thinkgeek.com] , which are compatible with miniUSB and USB chargers, as well as a few specific devices.

Re:Aftermarket ? (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716753)

That's what the product actually is.

Re:Aftermarket ? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717963)

Easy: You can charge more for a total unit upgrade then a simple add-on.

Gah, they need to do more market research (2, Insightful)

Centurix (249778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715909)

This requires actually being out in the sun. Unless there's a complex reflective tube apparatus streaming live sunlight into the basement it'll never sell here...

Re:Gah, they need to do more market research (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29715925)

They need to reduce the power consumption to the point that it can run off a solar cell being fed by ambient lighting.

Re:Gah, they need to do more market research (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716833)

Even geeks need vitamin D, and if we have to be in the sun to get it (tablets don't work alone, you need the sunlight for your body to be able to process them) then we may as well be doing something moderately geeky while doing it, like reading a book from a little computer. And, yes, I did spend both of the sunny days we got in Swansea this summer sitting in the park with an eBook reader.

Not that complex, actually rather common (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717101)

Tubular Skylights

A step in the right direction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29715917)

A step in the right direction. All portable devices should have some amount of solar to extend their life. I don't know about leaving it out in the sun though, sounds like a good way to send it to an early grave. They also need to intergrate the panel into either the screen or the case and not have it as a seperate piece that gets in the way of using the device.

Great (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715923)

Now all I need is a portable sun to read in bed.

Re: Portable Sun (1)

dazey (903451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716111)

If you find out where they sell the portable suns, let me know too. I can probably resell them in northern Alaska and Canada so they can use their LG e-books in the winter!

Re:Great (1)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716213)

Now all I need is a portable sun to read in bed.

The power of the sun... in the palm of my hand.
Nothing will stand in our way! NOTHING!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29716389)

Except possibly spiders. Or men. Or some combination of the two, don't ask me to name it because I can't think of anything.

Re:Great (1)

centauratlas (760571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717009)

Now all I need is a portable sun to read in my mom's basement.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717117)

Here you go [wikipedia.org] -- this is as close to a portable Sun as I'm aware of.

Kinda pointless considering that (4, Informative)

Zouden (232738) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715941)

The e-book itself is using an OLED display. This is different to the Kindle's eInk display which only requires power to update, so it has a battery life of several weeks. Chances are you'd be able to plug it in during that time, so there's not much need for a solar panel.

LG are a big manufacturer of LCD and OLED screens. Adding a solar panel to their e-book is simply to make up for the fact that their display uses far more power than competing products.

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (4, Interesting)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716019)

Chances are you'd be able to plug it in during that time, so there's not much need for a solar panel.

Maybe so, but a solar panel + eInk would probably be able to run off of ambient light and therefore not normally need a charger at all.

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716041)

I usually read ebooks with WORM displays (write-once-read-many): they're designed like Kinko cameras: they're cheap, disposable, and have a MTBF of several decades. They're called "books". What's more, I suspect the number of dead trees used to make such a book is less than the amount of trees necessary to manufacture and power an ebook of any kind over its usable lifespan.

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716391)

I suspect the number of dead trees used to make such a book is less than the amount of trees necessary to manufacture and power an ebook of any kind over its usable lifespan.

I must have missed the Kindle "wood panel" edition.

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717413)

Here ya go!

http://www.cockeyed.com/incredible/kindling/kindling01.shtml

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716881)

I'm not convinced by your efficiency argument. Decent paper is fairly energy-intensive to produce and so is shipping it. I've read around 200 books and quite a lot of papers (that I would otherwise have printed, read, and then thrown away) on my iLiad since I bought it. I suspect the tree cost of printing and shipping 200 books would be a lot more than the cost of making the device.

Oh, and these were all creative commons or public domain. There are a huge number of classics on Project Gutenberg that I haven't (or hadn't) read, so no writers were harmed in the reading of these books (although Penguin Classics were slightly).

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717121)

I suspect the tree cost of printing and shipping 200 books would be a lot more than the cost of making the device.

Really? Because I have absolutely no idea if that's true. What is the "environmental backpack" of one book versus one modern gadget? Seems to be a fairly difficult thing to measure. I'd wager that books are much cheaper and gadgets are much more expensive in terms of environmental impact than it might seem at first glance.

The herd chases mass marketing (1)

Tristfardd (626597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717897)

Paper books are carbon neutral, bio-degradable, and very stable. Most of the energy used to make the paper comes from the trees themselves, again carbon neutral. Ebooks? How are ebooks better?

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (1)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717089)

I believe your comment to be flawed. Lets just say i read 1000 books/papers this year. The cost of producing, transporting, etc is going to be much higher than the production cost of my kindle, esp if it's solar powered!

No, it's not OLED (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716503)

Where do you get OLED from? The press release [lgdisplay.com] doesn't include such a notion. In fact, the press release actually only discusses the solar panel itself, which is sensible given that it's the only part of the device that LG makes. The reader itself is a hacked Sony unit that's only there to demonstrate what the solar panel can power.

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (2, Informative)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716855)

It's not OLED. It is in fact just a solar panel connected to a Sony PRS-505. Quite a nice idea though.

Re:Kinda pointless considering that (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717259)

I can get a couple books worth of reading out of a Kindle charge -- unless I forget to turn the wireless back off after downloading something, or syncing my current spot so I can pick it up later on my phone.

I've had the battery die before on me while reading. A solar cover for it would be really nice.

My ereader does not need recharging. :-) (2, Informative)

SlothDead (1251206) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715957)

I have a cheap ereader that needs to be connected to your PC over USB to put new content on it. And the surprising thing is, that this seems enough to recharge it! I now have it for over a month and the battery indicator still says that it is full. It's amazing how view energy this thing consumes, just connect it to a PC once a week and that's enough.

But I admit that solar power seems nice for ereaders that don't use cable connections, e.g. the Kindle with it's whispernet. The only problem there is that you shouldn't expose e-ink to direct sunlight, which unfortunately turns the solar powered e-reader into a stupid idea.

(If you care, I use a Hanlin v5, it's not exactly perfect, but since Amazon deletes your books and Sony sells you rootkits it's okay)

Re:My ereader does not need recharging. :-) (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716067)

The only problem there is that you shouldn't expose e-ink to direct sunlight...

[citation needed] - as far as I'm aware they're quite happy in direct sunlight; certainly I have used mine in direct sunlight a *lot* with no noticeable issues. Care to provide some references?

Re:My ereader does not need recharging. :-) (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716141)

Sure, here is a quote of the engrish instruction manual of the Hanlin v5:

Safety Notice

For safely and efficiently use the product, please strictly abide by the rules, otherwise the danger will happen

Do not put the product under the direct ray of sunlight, and use or put it in the extra high and low temperature environment.

From that I just generalized that this must apply to every e-ink display, since I assumed that they are all the same. So, your ereader did not come with any sun light warnings? Cool, which one do you use?

Re:My ereader does not need recharging. :-) (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717145)

Mine didn't come with any sunlight warnings that I'm aware of - hell, the promo video released by Sony shows it being used extensively in full sunlight. I have a Sony PRS-505.

Perhaps the difference is because of the materials used to construct them? The PRS-505 is mostly aluminum and glass.

Confused by the photos (2, Interesting)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715963)

I'm confused by the photos. Are they comparing it to a Sony PRS-505 reader or is it just a power source for the Sony reader?

Re:Confused by the photos (4, Informative)

erayd (1131355) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716071)

I'm not sure. The reader pictured is very definitely a PRS-505. My guess is simply that the reporter was clueless and didn't realise that it was an older Sony product rather than something new out of an LG lab - the only part of that picture that belongs to LG is the solar panel itself.

Re:Confused by the photos (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716745)

It's a demo of what their solar tech can do. They're not making a reader themselves.

Yay... more vaporware. (3, Insightful)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715969)

Yay... more e-Book vaporware. How many new, awesome, revolutionary E-Book readers are we going to hear about? Christ, it's getting old... the E-Book hype is getting out of hand. Every company out there seems to have an E-Book "in the works," but so far to date only a handful have actually shipped usable products. LG is only the latest to jump on the E-Book bandwagon, and I'm sure they won't be the last. The whole E-Book field is littered with junk announcements like this. Get back to me when someone actually SHIPS a product, not announces a prototype. Whopee do. In the case of E-Book Readers, if you can't buy it, who really cares? It's just another e-ink or LCD or OLED screen.

Re:Yay... more vaporware. (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717025)

I didn't realise the definition of "vaporware" had deteriorated to the stage where actual released products could fit.

so they put a solar panel on a Sony e-Reader? (2, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715979)

Uh...that's a Sony e-Reader, one of the early models. With a solar panel attached to the inside of the protective jacket (which seems like the wrong side...)

Meh (2, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29715995)

The solar panel adds more bulk than a bigger battery would. It takes up a huge amount of real estate that could be occupied by another display. And, it really only helps you if you are planning on spending time reading outside - an impracticality in most parts of the United States, most of the time. Most of the year, outside is too hot, too cold, or infested with swarms of disease carrying mosquitoes. I go outside plenty of times when the weather is nice - but I'm active then. Sitting still and reading just makes you an easy target for the mosquitoes.

If you're going backpacking or to the third world, it's more convenient to just bring a dedicated solar panel with battery pack and adapters for your gadgets.

The only market for this device is eco-freaks with too much money and not enough sense. Which is usually self limiting - the people who earn the most money usually have enough intelligence and common sense to spot the flaws I just mentioned. The only reason that they might buy a device like this is to give the appearance of being 'green' to their friends.

Re:Meh (2, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716773)

You don't HAVE to charge it in sunlight. It'll be fastest that way, but if they're not sourcing solar cells from the early 1990s, it'll work in artificial light. Given that these devices last a couple of weeks on charge, even with a mere 8 hours of crappy fluorescent light sitting on your desk, the battery will probably never run down. And THAT is what I want all my portable electronics to do, especially wireless stuff like Kindles.

Re:Meh (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717139)

I'd rather have a solar charger integrated into some of my devices. I have plenty of free space on the back side of most of them, and it's more efficient to charge a device's battery directly, instead of charging an intermediary battery pack. Besides, having a device that is self-contained like this is just elegant. This is all disregarding that first paragraph non-sequitur and the third paragraph ad-hominem -- who gives a damn what you think people who buy this are like?

Re:Meh (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717141)

I'm not sure you're being entirely fair here.

I live in Australia, and it's sunny 250-300 days a year (and that's in the lush coastal areas). There's plenty of time and opportunity for a device like that to charge, unless you're going spelunking. Even if, for most activities, you're not straying far from a power point, there's the convenience of not dragging cords, and also being able to charge on the move. It would also prolong the reading time you can do outside when off a battery. I also do a little (overnight) bushwalking, and a solar panel wouldn't go far astray there.

Also, I'm not sure you're being fair to Greenies either. Some genuinely like the environment, and some do go out some days and enjoy it. I should also mention that charging the ebook via the sun would make a difference to greenhouse gasses, and Greenies are no stranger to paying a little more for environmental benefits.

Re:Meh (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717279)

This may be a bit of a stretch for the more basement-oriented Slashdot crowd, but the big ol' outside is not as scary of a place as you think. Disease carrying mosquitos are not that big of a problem -- incidents of mosquito borne diseases is very rare in the US, and tend to be hyped by the news when it happens. Bug spray works well, as does going around and making sure you don't have standing pools of water around your property. Its not like we've got malaria problems.

Lots of people read outside -- go walk through a park in any city or town in the US. Lots of people read on trains, or planes, both of which have windows. Go check out any decent coffee house. I was at one this last weekend and saw at least 1/4 of the people sitting there reading on an eBook of some variety (which, frankly, shocked me...)

And more to the point, try reading an e-Book when its NOT sunny. The screens have fairly low contrast and are MUCH easier on the eyes outside.

I can't help but wonder... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716021)

How many beers is it going to knock back during its 4-5 hours sitting in the sun? And will that full day of work it's supposed to put in afterward have to be done over by another, more responsible e-book?

Why? (1)

iamringo (1654615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716073)

My kindle's got like 2 weeks of battery life...it gets enough charge just from the times I momentarily plug it in to transfer pdfs...

Remember kids- my HP calc plugged into the wall (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716087)

Pocket calculators used to plug into the wall too. Then they had batteries and now solar. Having e-books go this way makes sense now power requirements are dropping.
As for the "solar won't work at night" people - batteries exist and just need to be charged. The ironic thing for the "solar won't work at night" people is that the real killer application for photovoltaics at the moment is solar powered LED lights replacing kerosene lanterns in the third world.

Re:Remember kids- my HP calc plugged into the wall (2, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717045)

Solar and wind-ups are the biggies for areas without power. The wind-ups are handy because you don't have to charge them in advance.

Solar lights seem to be big around here, basically being sold as garden/path lights that don't need any wiring. I picked up a ten pack on the weekend and put them on the trip hazards in the back yard. I have my doubts about the bug zapper, but I'll test it this weekend.

Re:Remember kids- my HP calc plugged into the wall (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717421)

I bought a Sharp scientific calculator in about 1995. It has no solar panel, and yet I have NEVER had to replace the battery since I bought it.

Pixel Qi (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716105)

If they're not using an eInk display, then they should use one of those fancy new displays from Pixel Qi. From the various videos of Mary Lou Jepsen showing off their in-development screens it seems like they're really solved the problem of using displays in the sun. I mean, if you have to be out in the sun to charge it, you better be able to read books on it at the same time.

turn me on, dead man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29716113)

Bad example. Halfway through the book is where Infinite Jest ends.

Book powered ebook (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29716125)

Is it wrong to want an ebook with a little furnace to burn books as fuel?

Sales (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716155)

Wow talk about /vertisement. This sounds like it was written by a marketing person. Scary :/

Re:Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717467)

That shouldn't come as a surprise at all since Mike Chino basically just reworded the press release. [lgdisplay.com]

Reading in the sun (3, Insightful)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716189)

Kindles always spout how great it is you can read in the sun, because their eInk allows better viewing in direct light, but without that technology, this new device will be far less useful.
I thought this would have been fairly obvious, but from TFA: We hope that LG has included a passively-lit e-paper display option in the device.

Useless (2, Interesting)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716205)

It would have to be in full sunlight in order for it to charge, so unless you have a private sun-lit balcony handy, would you sit in the sun 4-5 hours a day just to babysit your expensive solar-powered E-reader? You'd pay a lot more for sunscreen than AA batteries cost.

Re:Useless (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716761)

Modern solar cells don't need "full sunlight" to charge, artificial light would do. Even $1 calculators haven't needed UV in years.

This is the wrong goal (2, Insightful)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716271)

Give me a $99 ebook reader, not a solar powered one. I'll buy batteries for the bloody thing.

Re:This is the wrong goal (3, Insightful)

JStegmaier (1051176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716407)

Somehow, I get the feeling you don't understand economies of scale.

Re:This is the wrong goal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717385)

nah, he just doesn't read...

Re:This is the wrong goal (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716813)

Give me a $99 ebook reader, not a solar powered one. I'll buy batteries for the bloody thing.

Given the way prices are going, call back in about 2-3 years tops, and you can have one. Another couple of years later, you can have one in colour.

Re:This is the wrong goal (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717791)

Give me a $99 ebook reader, not a solar powered one. I'll buy batteries for the bloody thing.

http://www.ebookwise.com/ebookwise/ebookwise1150.htm [ebookwise.com]

$109.95

When I bought mine many years ago, I distinctly remember it was around $90 including shipping... that's inflation for you.

I like the backlight, its durable, good battery life. Subjectively the screen comfortably holds about 75% of the text on a typical paperback.

Not exactly the nicest ebook around, but I like it. Have to use weird software to translate standard .txt into its weird little proprietary format, and install weird USB drives. Not a simple modern "plug in and it looks like a drive". And the screen resolution and contrast looks like a laptop from the early 90s... which is obviously perfectly usable, since I used a laptop back then, but not as good as modern gear. I'm actually kind of surprised they are still manufactured.

Back when you used to be able to buy stand alone palm pilot PDAs, as opposed to "cheap phones" with car payment sized monthly contracts, there was usually a model around the $100 price point, add some free reader software, and you're there... However, reading off a screen smaller than a post card was quite annoying.

Not a consumer product (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716499)

The device pictured is built into a Sony Reader housing. It is, in fact, a Sony Reader. The solar cell is the real LG product, aimed at other manufacturers.

Mod parent up (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716927)

Nice catch, good eye.

Not much use in mom's basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29716713)

so that excludes Slashdot readers

I'm all for renewable energy (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 4 years ago | (#29716789)

But in a year you just know you're friends are all going to say 'Dude, your eBook reader looks really gnarly and well, liked sun bleached to death. What did you do to it?'

Running out halfway through Infinite Jest?? (1)

16Chapel (998683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717159)

Imagine that - it would be like the book just ENDED HALFWAY THROUGH THE STORY.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717355)

Should work a treat here in the UK as we head into Winter and 6 hour overcast days!!!

So this is not a lot of use unless you live somewhere with at least 8 hours ( to guarantee the required 4-5 hours of direct sun for charging ) a day of reasonably good sun quota? Not great for us high northern hemisphere dwellers then!

I'm reading Infinite Jest now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717367)

I have an ebook reader and I'm reading Infinite Jest on it right now. I'm over halfway through and haven't had to recharge it yet. But I will do that overnight in the next few days, at which point I'm 100% positive that I'll be able to finish the book before the battery needs another recharging. This notion that e-ink readers suck up power is clearly coming from people who've never used one. The fact that I can go 2-3 weeks without even thinking about needing a charge is a huge advantage. And I simply can't envision a scenario where I would've managed to ignore the "low battery" warnings for a good 3 or 4 days (that's how long it lasts on the last bar in the battery indicator) without remembering to recharge the thing.

Leaving gizmos in the sun? (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717497)

4-5 hours spent sitting in the sun

How many people are going to leave their e-book reader sitting in the sun for 4-5 hours? We're talking direct, full sunlight here. Any clouds, shadows, or off-perpendicular variations and that charging time goes up by many more hours. We're talking hours here under optimal conditions. We're talking electronics at a cost of several hundred dollars you don't want to leave lying around unwatched. In reality, most people just can't/won't do it.

I have a Solio solar battery. Sounded nifty, cheap enough to play with. I soon discovered that there was just nowhere I could _leave_ it for hours on end, not just to assure full solar exposure, but where I was sure it would still be there and not get stolen. Car dashboard? overheated so badly it stopped charging. Clipped to shoulder bag? angles, shadows, etc. wrecked charging time. Patio? rain.

I like the idea of solar self-charging devices, but only as serving a last-ditch survival scenario. If a solar panel can be built in for trivial bulk, weight, and cost then fine - but really folks, slapping a solar panel on something you don't/won't leave in the sun for prolonged periods on a regular basis just doesn't cut it.

Not for everybody (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717677)

I'm guessing this won't sell too well in Finland.

Am allergic to Sunlight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717733)

Tell me when I can get juice enough for the whole day by going out for just a couple of minutes. I don't go outdoors you insensitive clods!

How much light? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29717951)

What about those of us that read books in buildings.. using man made light, and sometimes not a whole lot ( think 60watt bulb by the couch ). Will that be enough to charge this thing?

Fix the Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29717965)

... can you imaging the frustration of running out of BOOK mid-sentence and halfway through Infinite Jest? LG’s new solar e-book aims to address this issue... now it's a really good ebook reader for us.
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