Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Are the New Kindles Tablets-In-Training?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the one-can-hope dept.

Displays 134

Hugh Pickens writes "TechNewsWorld reports that Amazon's new, slimmed-down Kindle devices are notable for several things, including upgrades to their experimental WebKit browser that makes it faster and easier to navigate, and the new 'article mode' feature extracts the main text-based content from Web pages for easier reading (as Safari does), suggesting the possibility that the Kindle may grow up to be a real tablet computer someday. Eventually, the tablet and e-reader categories 'are going to slam together,' says Rob Enderle, adding that they are 'held apart, largely because we don't yet have an affordable display that will do both tasks well.' One current problem 'is that TFT displays like the iPad uses suck for reading because they aren't outdoor viewable and are very power hungry. Display technologies like the Qualcomm Mirasol stuff will change this over the next 18 months, and by the end of next year — likely before — we'll begin to see converged devices.' Mirasol uses tiny mirrors, known as microelectronic machines, to create its display, which has the low power characteristics of E-Ink displays and the video-playing and color abilities of LCDs."

cancel ×

134 comments

So (-1, Troll)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100564)

Where's the news?

Wi-Fi-only Kindle (5, Interesting)

aunchaki (94514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100570)

I want one of these, and think it's a great idea (de-innovation?) to remove the 3G support. I'm often in wi-fi areas, but don't really see the need to download books while I'm actually AT the beach. I can download enough when I'm at home (or at McDonalds, at Starbucks, etc...). Save money, save power, save bandwidth. I'm getting one!

Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100624)

Save money, save power, save bandwidth. I'm getting one!

Indeed, I made the statement that this reader would have to be under $100 for me to get one when I first saw the Kindle. And now we're down to $139 so it edges even closer.

When I first saw that it would have 3G, I went searching for videos on the surfing experience [youtube.com] and was not impressed. Unless drastic improvements were made in how it renders and handles web pages, it looks like it would be tedious and almost unusable except for outlying circumstances.

Now, that doesn't mean some software or new mobilized content mentality couldn't change all of that but from what I've seen it looks to be little more than a novelty like the web browser I have on my Nintendo DS.

So, like you note, the purpose of 3G really boils down to selling books while you're sitting around -- which is nice but not a crucial need. I guess I could imagine using 3G to get books off of Gutenberg or some other open repository of open formatted books but again that wouldn't really be worth a 35% price increase.

Is anyone able to comment on what the browsing functionality actually does for them? Is there news that you actually digest in a productive fashion? Certain news sites that work flawlessly? Blog technologies (like Wordpress or something) that always work? And how is the 3G coverage and reliability? I have so many questions about these devices and can find so little on reviewing this web browser functionality on the Kindle.

Good job on price but I don't ever see the Kindle replacing my Asus Netbook with Ubuntu on it. Yeah, you're going to have a large price delta and I think there's a long way to go -- much longer than the 18 months or sooner that the article mentioned -- before these two consumer products converge. Battery life is just one thing. Price, general purpose computing abilities and the ability to install open source software are big factors for me (not sure about other folks).

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (4, Interesting)

bgfay (5362) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100694)

I agree that the 3G is not necessary for my experience and that this thing should sell for $99. Amazon has just moved to selling more eBooks than hardcovers, why not just keep going with that.

As for the full tablet experience, an incremental approach sounds right to me. Next, how about an audio player for Amazon MP3s. Then color screen and the ability to download Amazon video. That way they keep generating revenue and utilize it as a tool for selling more stuff which is all it was ever designed to be.

Me, I'm sticking with my Netbook as well. I watched a few people during a summer course I took trying to make it with just an iPad. It's not there yet. Hell, I like a keyboard and there's that whole printing thing and...

But if it comes below $100, I might get me a Kindle.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (2, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101802)

As for the full tablet experience, an incremental approach sounds right to me. Next, how about an audio player for Amazon MP3s. Then color screen and the ability to download Amazon video. That way they keep generating revenue and utilize it as a tool for selling more stuff which is all it was ever designed to be.

Ugh, not another general purpose device that doesn't do anything well. Might as well throw a 2 megapixel camera on it too.

I own an ebook reader (a Nook), I bought it because it DIDN'T have a color LCD screen. I bought it because the greyscale e-ink screen, with an unlimited viewing angle, that can be read in direct sunlight. If it lacked these features, I would have saved my $150 and spent it on real books instead. I don't want another MP3 player, I don't want ANOTHER damn gimpy camera, I don't want to be able to play WoW on it, I don't want it to... etc... I just want an ebook reader.

If they ever made color e-ink, I would be okay with that, but putting a color LCD on an e-reader isn't an upgrade, its a downgrade.

Thats one reason I get sick of reading reviews between the Kindle, Nook, the Sony whatnot, and the unknown company whatnot, and the damn iPad. I always feel like its one of those questions on IQ tests asking what does not belong in a given set.

I generally hate generalist devices, that are not an actual PC.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103360)

They seem to be pretty close already - now with a decent browser engine (IIRC it was Netfront previously; good for so called "feature phones", but...), and a speculation of "faster" screen in the future. With webapps...doesn't that give pretty much the essence of what Google ChromeOS tablets are meant to be?

And hey, Kindle already has a keyboard ;)

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100776)

Indeed, I made the statement that this reader would have to be under $100 for me to get one when I first saw the Kindle. And now we're down to $139 so it edges even closer.

$89 is my magic number, although at $99 it would definitely be in impulse buy territory if this economy was kind enough to hand out Christmas bonuses. $100 seems like an awful lot of money for a device that's really about 30% too small. $149 would be my sweet spot for a kindle DX (a.k.a. "full size") with a smaller bezel. Living in the city, 5 min from a computer at all times, I'm not really that interested in 3G for a book as a feature. The 3G model might make more sense to a parent who has a kid but can't afford to, or they're not old enough yet to buy them their own separate computer.
 
In ten years time they'll be giving Kindles away for free with the prepurchase of 10 books or more. In the early 1980s people couldn't fathom calculators costing less than $100, but by the early 80's they were giving them away with a tank of gas; and now they're used as freebie promotional items at conferences as part of gift bags. Why would they ever try and build out the kindle to be a fully featured computing tablet? It's the literary equivalent of a calculator.

Cheaper ebooks! (5, Insightful)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101122)

Why doesn't anyone speak about the need for cheaper ebooks? At $9.99, they still cost *twice* as much as economy version paperback and as much as a premium one, at least in developing countries. And paperbacks come with all the freedom you want.

If they are cutting all middlemen out, apart from the printing and transportation costs, they will still end up making a good deal of money at prices below $4.99 per book. Even lower prices will see greater volumes, so the authors also will not complain.

I believe the current prices will just encourage a greater amount of piracy, with rapidly falling costs of the e-readers especially where there are alternatives that don't tie you in to a specific store pr format.

Just a pet peeve of mine.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101200)

I just pulled up the three most recent books I've read. None of them are terribly recent, meaning paperbacks are available. Cryptonomicron (Neal Stephenson) was $10.50 on the kindle store; I paid $8.99 for the paperback edition at half price books, Doctor Zhivago and Catch-22, both modern classics selling well over a million copies each, and still in print, weren't available on the Kindle store.
 
Where are you shopping that you're finding new paperbacks below $5.99 each? Airport paperbacks tend to start out at $6.99 and go up from there. The last time I paid $5 for a paperback new must have been in 2002.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (1)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101252)

Hehe...while shopping in a third world country. Books here at airports are overpriced, and I won't buy them.

Anyway, what I mean to emphasize is that selling an ebook costs a little fraction of selling a paperback, and cheap ebooks can actually improve volumes especially where reading habits tend to be poor (e.g. due to cost, as in developing countries).

Again, with paperbacks or hardcovers, if people are only a bit curious about a title, they will try to borrow it and then return it, and would buy titles that they really want to keep. Or read something and give it away.

A cheap ebook could enable people to read more, just for curiosity, if it is a matter of small change.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101312)

Notice that it is hardbacks that ebooks are making a real market impact on? That's not a coincidence. This is a market where the price difference is dramatic, and in favor of the digital version. You're still looking at $10, but that puts the book squarely in the territory of paperback pricing on new releases.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101398)

I've read that cheaper ebooks do exist - they are by unknown authors who are "self e-publishing" and split the revenue of their $0.99-$3.99 stories directly with Amazon. Maybe they are on one of the other ebookstores (the Nook's store?) and not Amazon's? I haven't looked into it too closely yet as my blackberry is the only Kindle compatible device I own currently.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33102162)

Cheaper ebooks without DRM are on Smashwords.com, plus ManyBooks, Feedbooks, Baen's Free Library.

And I too would like to know where one can get $5-6 paperbacks. They are $7.99 and up, most around $9...and many publishers have abandoned the traditional paperback format in favor of a slightly taller "almost trade paperback" form apparently only to justify going to a $9.99 price point.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101770)

Why would you want a modern book? Most are pure trash designed to shift the same story over and over. There are almost two million free books available, yes, real books out of copyright.

Totally agree with the ridiculous $9.99 cost of a current title, though. Clearly a 200k text file is nothing in the grand scheme of things, 99 cents would be a better price point for something you can't resell, or give away, and will ultimately end up losing.

I'm very close to pulling the trigger on the $139 wi-fi only version. That's a toy price, my kid has lego kits in that ballpark. What I'd really like is water proofing though, so I can read while floating around in the pool.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101790)

Guess what: most old books were crap too. The ones that endured did so for a reason.

Not sure how you "ultimately end up losing" something you can re-download. It's the reason I never buy games on discs anymore.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (1)

BKX (5066) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103808)

Truthfully, there are only two stories in the world of fiction. 1. Stranger comes to town. 2. Hero takes a journey. Think about it for a moment. Every story (every last one) is one of those two or, more rarely, a hybrid of those two. Of course, you have to realize that not every journey is physical and not every stranger is completely unknown or unwanted, but every story is a variation on those themes. What makes a new (or old) story good is how well the author tells the story he chose and how interesting the variations are.

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (3, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102304)

This is an enormous pet peeve of mine. I've got Kindle on my iPad and my Droid phone but I can't bring myself to actually BUYING any eBooks. The entire concept seems absolutely ludicrous to me. I can go to Amazon or Borders and order a hard copy book that usually is cheaper than the ebook, and gives me total freedom to resell, loan it out, or toss it on my bookshelf for future generations of my family to pick up and read when the time comes. If the ebook was a fraction of the price of a print book or had technology that would allow me to loan and resell, or at the very least print a hardcopy of the book, I may reevaluate the technology. At the rate we're going though, I have little hope my grandchildren will even know what a library is, much less see one filled with current edition books because the concept of sharing and borrowing is being lost in this digital generation. Publishers are turning the concept of sharing into a dirty criminal thing when in fact we go out of our way to instill those values of sharing into our children from the time they are babies. It is insane.
 

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103972)

the concept of sharing and borrowing is being lost in this digital generation

I don't really think that's happening, quite the contrary. Sure, publishers/etc. are trying to block it (which deep down is of course an act of trying to legislate competition away - look at Sweden, the cradle of TPB...and the only place in the world with sustained physical sales of CDs; but labels hate it - most of those CDs are indy acts), but...

Re:Cheaper ebooks! (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 3 years ago | (#33104286)

The cost of ebooks is no reason to avoid the technology: I never bought hardbacks because they were too expensive, and I won't buy $10 ebooks for the same reason, but there are far more $5 ebooks out there that I want to read than I have time to, so the $10 ebooks are just pricing themselves out of the market and don't affect me, other than there are some that I actually *would* like to read. But, as with hardbacks, I'll just wait for the "paperback" version (they will drop in price after being out a while). Same with DRM --- there's plenty out there without DRM (and a lot more with crackable DRM, but that's a last resort --- I'm voting with my $ on that issue as well).

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101208)

Personally, I think the convenience of global wireless access to new books is worth the price premium, but I also think launching a lower cost model with just WiFi was good business sense. There's a market for both.

Same thing goes for the DX versus the regular size Kindle. I already own a DX, but have a Kindle3 preordered. The DX is fantastic around the house, but I want a smaller one for when I need to carry it around. I do wish they had done even more to cut the size (those damn keys still appear to take up way too much space), but they did enough to finally warrant the purchase in my case.

As for the Kindle as tablet... I dunno. Personally, I don't see _why_. E-readers and tablets are separate devices in my mind. But once they can squeeze enough processing grunt into the form factor of a Kindle, and add responsive color screens without glare or killing battery life, I don't see any way around feature creep.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101414)

Interesting, but FYI by the 80's calculators were already at near-commodity pricing. The Casio Mini [oldcalculatormuseum.com] came out in 1972, and was priced at under $100. (One source has it at Y12,800 which at that time was the equivalent of about $45.)

Oh, sorry, never mind, rereading your sentence I see it was just a simple typo and you meant "early 1970s" for the first reference.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101616)

$149 would be my sweet spot for a kindle DX (a.k.a. "full size") with a smaller bezel. Living in the city, 5 min from a computer at all times, I'm not really that interested in 3G for a book as a feature.

The Nook wifi-only is a full-sized Nook, and $149. I don't know how that compares to Kindle size, though.

The 3G model might make more sense to a parent who has a kid but can't afford to, or they're not old enough yet to buy them their own separate computer.

3G makes no sense at all unless it lets people randomly surf. (Which, in turn, would require a monthly plan.)

We're at the point in society where we can assume people buying $150 electronic devices have some access to a computer with an internet connection they can get to once a week to get new books. (In fact, we can almost assume everyone has that.)

I'm not even sure wifi makes that much sense, frankly.

Put more memory on the device, have a catalog built in, and let people select books to buy. Then make the USB interface smart enough that people can plug it in and have a program popup and prompt you to complete the purchase by the program logging into your account, and downloading the books, and an updated catalog. Aka, make the entire thing usable from a public terminal, or any other computer with an internet connection and USB. (Alternately, a USB networking connection might work better.)

There's convenience, and there's 'convenience'. I read faster than anyone I know, I read more than anyone I know, and I've never been wandering around in public, wifi signal or not, and said 'Hey, I should buy a book right now! Forget going to a book store or waiting until I get home, I need one this very second!'

Seriously, our 'immediate gratification society' is getting a bit obsessive. We used to have to buy things in stores, and then we could buy them at home and have them shipped, then we could buy them at home and get them instantly...but are we really at the point where we can't even wait until we get to a random computer to buy them? Just because it is possible to give books (and mp3s, while we're at it...I'm looking at you, iPhone.) to people instantly as they wander around in the world, is this really a sane business model to spend money on and build into devices?

If people randomly find themselves without books, I suggest they, duh, buy some extra books in advance.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101958)

The normal nook has the same screen size as a "small" Kindle. The Nook itself is larger than the Kindle.

He wants a much larger screen than the Nook at the $150 price point.

I know it sounds insane that you might need more books "now" but I often feel that way about music. I hear a song somewhere and I want to grab it, but my player doesn't have 3G. I often forget what it was before I get home. Very frustrating.

You might not understand it, but it's clear the market does and loves it. With the Kindle, you never need to connect it to your computer or wifi and many people don't. Ever.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103770)

The normal nook has the same screen size as a "small" Kindle. The Nook itself is larger than the Kindle.

Ah, okay.

He wants a much larger screen than the Nook at the $150 price point.

I'm with him. Give me a big screen. That's it. Just a damn screen I'm carrying around. I don't need the ability to buy books with it at all, that's what my damn computer is for.

I often forget what it was before I get home.

Wouldn't a better solution be to take a note?

Seriously, we've not only turned into a society where we must have things the instant we want them, we've turned into a society that can't remember things. Which is strange, because we're constantly carrying devices around that we can record memos on or type notes to ourselves.

I have an iPhone, and my iPhone has an app that fingerprints music (Yes, it's that by that patent idiot Shazam). And I can, in theory, buy it and download right then, although that's not really an 'extra' feature, cell phones pretty much automatically have 3G built in.

But I've never actually done that. It does keep a record of what you identified, so I don't have to take a manual note, but that's all the convience I need. (Which is good, because I can't ever figure out the names of songs.)

I'd certainly not want to pay extra for the ability to do that.

cheapskates and liars (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103512)

Why not just ask that the device be free?

A hybrid car should cost under $15k too, because I want one but don't want to pay $40k for it.

For the most part people that say "I'll buy X when it is such-and-such price." are liars or non-consumers. What I see is that people buy devices because they really want them, and when the price is lowered just a tiny bit the sales double. Eventually people who make grand claims about a price point give in when the price lowers a little bit and even more people are using it. It's like bartering really, I say $180, you say $99, eventually we get to $139 and you buy it. For the people who want a Kindle for $80 or less, I don't think Amazon needs you money at this time. They can do just fine without you selling it for $140.

Re:cheapskates and liars (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103822)

What I see is that people buy devices because they really want them, and when the price is lowered just a tiny bit the sales double.

You realize the two halves of that sentence make no sense together, right?

According to the last half of that sentence, half of people don't buy devices because they want them, they instead wait until the price is lower.

This, of course, assumes that their valuation of the device stays the same, which is sorta silly. Of course if they see a lot of people using and apparently liking it, what they think the value of it is will go up, and hence their price point.

That isn't 'lying', it's 'recalculating', and it happens just as much in reverse, if people see it's not as good as they thought.

Re:cheapskates and liars (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33104538)

For the people who want a Kindle for $80 or less, I don't think Amazon needs you money at this time.

Nobody said they expected Amazon to drop the price to $80 tomorrow, or even this year. One could reasonably expect the price to drop that much in two years however. At which point I'd probably buy one. None of that makes me a liar. Unless of course, the Nook hit that price point first.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103920)

$149 would be my sweet spot for a kindle DX (a.k.a. "full size") with a smaller bezel. Living in the city, 5 min from a computer at all times, I'm not really that interested in 3G for a book as a feature.

The Nook wifi-only is a full-sized Nook, and $149. I don't know how that compares to Kindle size, though.

The Nook has a 6" screen, same as the Kindle 1,2,3. I've seen a Kindle 1 & 2. The screen is too small. That is why I say it's 30% too small. The DX (9.7") is the size the device should have debuted with (full size), but the 9.7" e-ink display would have cost a fortune in 2007. Same reason why it took so long to see a 15" LCD Laptop (a "full size" laptop screen) in the 1990's, and we call 10" netbook screens "small" or "ultra-portable".
 
 

If people randomly find themselves without books, I suggest they, duh, buy some extra books in advance.

This is what I do. I always have 10-15 books that interest me sitting on my shelf at home, waiting to be read at any one time. When I got on trips I bring 2-3 extra paperbacks with me.

My experience after one year with the DX (3, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100916)

Is anyone able to comment on what the browsing functionality actually does for them? Is there news that you actually digest in a productive fashion? Certain news sites that work flawlessly? Blog technologies (like Wordpress or something) that always work? And how is the 3G coverage and reliability? I have so many questions about these devices and can find so little on reviewing this web browser functionality on the Kindle.

I can't speak to the new one (or even the software upgrade, since I haven't used it extensively since it was installed), but I had the original Kindle DX for over a year. Critical new features in the software upgrade include "collections" (a way to organize documents you've loaded onto the Kindle, which was probably the number one feature request and something I can't believe they didn't originally include) and improved PDF handling (basic zoom/pan ability - before your only option was to flip the device to get a larger view).

As for web browsing... it's always been slow and unimpressive. My expectations aren't even that high, since I don't have a data service for my phone or anything like that. On the other hand, it came in handy when I was visiting my parents out in the boonies... jumping on the Kindle to check Wikipedia was faster than dialup. Sometimes I had to go outside to get a good signal, but we have to do that with cell phones anyway. Specific mobile sites I've bookmarked, like mobile New York Times, are fine... for me, though, it makes more sense to use an application like Calibre that will automatically download all the news you want in the morning and sync with the Kindle, rather than just relying on the 3G. I've used the web browser to get on Facebook and Slashdot from trains... again, better than nothing, but not exactly pleasant. I've gotten a few things directly from Project Gutenberg as well.

One great thing is that I've written up some scripts that use the command-line version of Calibre to watch a directory on my home server. Instead of having to e-mail documents to Amazon and pay for conversion (or carry around a sync cable and software capable of converting), I just e-mail my documents to a special address. The scripts check the e-mail, download the document, convert it, and upload it to a web server. A few minutes after sending it, I log into the web server from the Kindle and download the converted document. This is actually what I probably use the web browser for the most.

For reading text... IMO it kicks ass and bests any other style of device (netbook, tablet, etc.) currently available. But I also always carry about my 9" netbook with Ubuntu.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101012)

Already on this topic last year: http://www.changeist.com/changeism/2009/8/31/e-readers-the-new-tablet.html

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101198)

So, like you note, the purpose of 3G really boils down to selling books while you're sitting around -- which is nice but not a crucial need.

In all honesty, built-in wifi has pretty much the same purpose. My wife bought me a wifi-only Barnes & Noble nook when they introduced them at $149; I find that I just leave the wifi turned off. I download content to and manage it with calibre, and copy/share things with the nook using it as a USB device. Other people might be more spontaneous than I am, but I've always got at least a half-dozen unread things stored on it. So far, I've never run out of material on the road.

I have to say that I've been astounded at the range of pirated stuff available through bittorrent. Somehow I thought books wouldn't be pirated as much as other media. I was wrong.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103866)

So, is it already to the point of "the scene" taking titles sold by Barnes & Noble or Amazon, stripping away the DRM, and...releasing something just as good on the level of publication quality?

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33104862)

I haven't been systematic about checking, but it appears to me that old stuff and very new stuff that's not released in an ebook form yet are scanned and OCRed. Those are pretty easy to recognize: the OCR will make consistent mistakes, such as converting the word "service" to two words "ser vice". It's not hard to do, and it's getting cheaper. Slashdot has run stories about DIY rigs [slashdot.org] that take pretty minimal manual effort. The errors are irritating, but not horribly so.

The pirate version of most stuff that's available in ebook form with DRM appears to be decrypted from the ebook. It's essentially perfect (other than the crappy job of proofreading many publishers do these days). Adobe Digital Editions has been cracked, which lets you make a clear copy of most things you can get through your local library. I've argued for years that copyright holders can't win that technology war, the publishers have to freeze their algorithms so that older readers continue to work, and that encryption will eventually be broken.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

cain (14472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101324)

The 3G is very useful for newspaper subscriptions, which are downloaded automatically to the device daily. If you're going to be out of WiFi range, say on vacation, you can't pre-download the newspaper as it published every day.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

Dharh (520643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102232)

As far as using the browser as an actual browser. I think its rather cumbersome. But using a true HTML render engine to render HTML made specifically for the e-book format I think is a great idea. Right now we have to deal with html to epub converters (the few there are) and they are all rudimentary. The 3G in both the Kindle and the Nook (id have to double check though to be sure) I believe use the spring network, so the coverage is good. But I actually agree that 3G is truly not necessary for most people.

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103682)

New Kindles use AT&T for some time now, IIRC...or some other US GSM carrier. Which is, frankly, a grat change - even GPRS speeds are good enough for something like Kindle; but now the free web access can function in quite large part of the planetary surface. It's getting really close to your own h2g2... (Nook in comparison is quite limited)

Re:Agreed, 3G Value Is Not Clear to Me (1)

radish (98371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102808)

It's not made for web browsing, I can't see it getting beyond a novelty in the sort to medium term. I carry my Kindle for reading, and my phone for web/email/gaming/etc.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100630)

I want one of these, and think it's a great idea (de-innovation?) to remove the 3G support. I'm often in wi-fi areas, but don't really see the need to download books while I'm actually AT the beach. I can download enough when I'm at home (or at McDonalds, at Starbucks, etc...). Save money, save power, save bandwidth. I'm getting one!

What you said + the price drop down to $139 for a brand new eReader. It's almost at that magical $100!

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100666)

I want one too but only if it is hackable. Anyone know what these new Kindles are going to be like? Can I break it open and play with the guts? (metaphorically; ie. the software/OS)

Can the Kindle display _any_ PDF/etc? I hate that DRM crap.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (2, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101868)

Get a Nook then. You can root them (they run Android, and thus the software innards are well known), and there are several interesting 3rd party kernels out there right now.

They also have less DRM than the Kindle, using the fairly open epub format (versus the closed mobi format), which doesn't have as much up-front lock in as the Kindle and Amazon. Yes, an experienced person can switch formats at will, and remove pretty much all the DRM from things, but the Nook pretty much wins on this from an ease standard. Because of the default formats, the Nook works with any online store, where the Kindle REALLY wants you to only use Amazon.

PDF support on all of them suck. Bad.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100692)

I thought that, but the screen is small especially compared to the size of the whole thing. I like the fact that it's quite cheap, but for me the screen isn't significantly larger than my HTC Desire - at least, it's not large enough for me to want both of them. Also - and this is the killer for me - there's no backlight. This is simply ridiculous. I want to read on bed/plane etc and not have to deal with lying down with a light angled correctly every time.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102614)

Since around a decade ago, for a few years, there were lots of e-book readers with backlight screens. They were promptly ignored, and for good reasons.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103134)

Maybe they did, maybe they didn't, but I've yet to read a review of an ereader which doesn't lament the lack of a backlight, and for good reasons - they're useless to a lot of people without them. The excuses about battery life don't wash - my phone has a backlight, as well as gps, wifi, 3g etc etc etc and it goes a day on a single charge. I'm pretty sure it's possible to backlight something which just displays black and white text for a few hours, and which can then be charged (overnight if required) ready for the next day.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103290)

Then perhaps you're stumbling upon not exactly a representative slice of reviews. Anyway, why those people weren't buying ereaders with backlights? (which didn't completelly cease to be available until few years ago...tells a lot about their uptake)

Oh, and check how long your phone goes with backlight constantly on (plus - really, a day? That's a benchmark?)

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100722)

I have, and love, a gen-2 Kindle. Use the 3G support all the time, but not for the general purpose browser.

I travel extensively (100,000 miles a year or so), and us the Kindle as my primary method of reading books (1-2 books a week on average). I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting in an airplane seat while they finish boarding the plane, and remembering that I'd like to read a particular book - or see someone carrying a book that I'd like to read - or see a review of a book in the in-flight magazine that I'd like to read - and I can jump on the Amazon store, purchase it, and have it downloaded in less than a minute. That's a big feature for me.

Admittedly, there are others that can get by without the 3G support, so it's great that they're offering both options.

what is a kindle , ipad and iWhat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100728)

don't have need or use any of these wastes of your money or mine.
go ahead go stupid earth they need your money

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

tabdelgawad (590061) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101108)

I agree. When B&N launched the nook (supports epub!) sans 3G a couple of months ago, I took the plunge ($149). It made sense that Amazon would follow. $50 is not bad for lifetime 3G, but I personally wouldn't use it - at least with the current state of eReader hardware. Of course, when the predicted 'tablet convergence' occurs, free lifetime 3G will disappear, to be replaced with iPad-type monthly data plans.

Re:Wi-Fi-only Kindle (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102526)

Though with cellular access, it is pretty much h2g2 [xkcd.com] (finally); and with "article mode" in the browser it might be even decent non-hitchikng scenarios.

Yadda, yadda, yadda (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100596)

"Waah. The iPad sucks for reading." says the commentator, typing away on his LCD-equipped PC that, oddly enough, always worked just fine for reading before.

(Oh, and don't read in direct sunlight, it's bad for your eyes regardless of the display medium.)

Re:Yadda, yadda, yadda (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101032)

LCDs do suck at reading, although admittedly less so than CRTs.

Why not pixel qi? (5, Insightful)

dredwolff (978347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100616)

Mirasol? Really? A technology that's not even on the market yet? Why not go with the already available and commercially viable pixel qi screen tech? It' the best of both worlds, a dual mode screen for indoor and outdoor use! And you can already get one! Just add touch-screen capabilities and you have the perfect tablet.

Re:Why not pixel qi? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100862)

Because Mirasol is bistable (zero power on static images) and uses less power than a refreshing E-Ink display while playing video, while Pixel Qi uses at best a quarter of the power of a LCD all the time, even with the backlight off, since it's pretty much a transflective LCD. When the backlight's on, the Pixel Qi advantage is minimal. It is not revolutionary technology by any stretch.

The difference in power consumption is orders of magnitude. Since batteries lag behind pretty much all other tech these days, and LCD screens suck down massive amounts of power for both backlighting and the pixels themselves, true revolutions in battery life (like a week plus for a smartphone or tablet vs. maybe a day) will depend on Mirasol or related tech. There are a few other contenders, but Pixel Qi is not one. They do seem to have an excellent marketing department though, because the same misconceptions you have are quite widespread among people that should know better.

Re:Why not pixel qi? (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33104952)

I don't know how far you have to travel to find a power outlet; or how long you like to read for in one go, but a 20+ hours pixel Qi should be plenty for me. but look mate if you want keep using your nokia 5110 just so you don't have to pick up the power cord an extra one or two times a week, then go for it. Personally though bring on the dual core phones I’ll make it work. mirisol will be great when they get the colour version out there (when ever they plan to do that); but its success will be due to its flexibility (bendable), strength and style; not how often they have to plug it in. Also for anyone that wants a game of quake 3 between books, it’ll be a very long time before you get comparable refresh rates to that of an lcd.

Re:Why not pixel qi? (1)

googlesmith123 (1546733) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100990)

As "Anonymous Coward" points out the Pixel Qi screen is no real competitor to E-Ink screens because it still draws a lot of power with a static image. What "Anonymous Coward" does not mention is how long a computer would last with such a screen.

The iPad lasts for 10 hours straight, and i reckon atleast 50% of the power draw comes from the screen. Since a Pixel Qi screen draws only 1/4 of that power the iPad should last for 15.7 hours. Considering that those 10 hours are with wifi ON i reckon book reading would be closer to 20 hours.

Re:Why not pixel qi? (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101304)

I'm not sure why the iPad is ever talked about in the context of e-book reading. It's a tablet, not a book reader. Sure, you _can_ read books on it, just like you _can_ read books on your phone. Doesn't mean they're any good at it.

Even if the iPad could get a month or more out of a single charge like the Kindle does (with wireless off), it doesn't make up for its enormous size/weight and horrible (for e-book reading) display.

I don't think there can be much doubt about convergence in this area. It looks pretty inevitable. Display tech will improve, tablets will shrink, and that's all there's to it. But, for now, they're different worlds. And I think it'll stay that way for a few more years at least.

Re:Why not pixel qi? (1)

JynxMe (1652545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101542)

Without wanting to compare Mirasol and Pixel Qi (they are very different ideas after all), Pixel Qi does have a touchscreen prototype out there [networkworld.com] .

Umm...fix the article (0)

Kashell (896893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100628)

>> One current problem 'is that TFT displays like the iPad uses suck for reading because they aren't outdoor viewable and are very power hungry.

It's not a TFT display. It's IPS.

Geez...and this isn't news either.

Re:Umm...fix the article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100672)

IPS displays are TFT displays. TFT means Thin Film Transistor. Before TFT displays (and in small LCDs), the pixels were/are activated by voltages which are delivered by a lattice of rows and columns directly. In TFT displays, there's a transistor at each pixel which amplifies the signal. Passive displays are slow because the voltages can't be increased without causing artifacts throughout the rows/columns. TFTs eliminate this problem. IPS is the way the liquid crystals are arranged and moved to change the display content. IPS means In-Plane Switching. The most common arrangement is TN, which means Twisted Nematic.

Re:Umm...fix the article (-1, Troll)

Kashell (896893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101232)

...aaaaand anytime you're looking at monitor specs, it says TFT or IPS. Not "TFT-TN" or "TFT-IPS".

TFT implies TN. Editors should know these things.

Re:Umm...fix the article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100686)

haha - you're an ignorant douchebag!

Re:Umm...fix the article (4, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100700)

It's not a TFT display. It's IPS.

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

Types:
Twisted nematic (TN)
In-plane switching (IPS)
Advanced fringe field switching (AFFS)
Multi-domain vertical alignment (MVA)
Patterned vertical alignment (PVA)
Advanced super view (ASV)

CC.

Kindle my TITs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100654)

So instead of Flying cars, nuclear fusion, space elevators and teleportation you wasted the future on stupid litle eBook readers.

You stupid nerds, this is why you don't get laid and why Linux still has 1% market share. Troll and Truth rhyme you know.

Re:Kindle my TITs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101054)

Troll and Truth are alliterative, asshole. Problems in electronics are easier to solve than problems in fundamental physics, where most of the technologies you want would get stuck, buttplug. And before you get flying cars, you will need to get a whole new traffic flow system that has to take into consideration A WHOLE NEW DIMENSION, you steaming pile of dogshit.

Does not follow (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100712)

I don't follow that. The Kindle is a reading device. They took an update from Safari that makes reading web pages easier. They improved it's reading abilities. That doesn't make it a more general purpose tablet.

If they add a touch screen, that will make it more of a "tablet in training". Refining a feature that was already there? Seems like a stretch.

That said, those new cheaper Kindles look really enticing, and the fact they have this mode only makes it more interesting.

Re:Does not follow (4, Interesting)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100780)

I agree that the new kindle is very enticing, and I also think the article is stupid: the kindle is definitely not a "tablet computer," nor should it be, and the two markets are not going to "slam together" any more than people are going to start replacing their cellphones with ipads. The ipad, at least, is a very different thing, with very different strengths and weaknesses and it's useful for a very different set of tasks. Trying to make the kindle into one would be stupid, because it would entail giving up most of the advantages of the current kindle, regardless of new display tech. Even ignoring the non-optimal-for-reading display, the size of the ipad, the weight, the CPU power necessary to run general apps, the battery power required to run it all, and the high price, are all attributes that make some sense given Apple's target, but which do not make sense for an e-reader.

Luckily Amazon (unlike Rob Enderle) is smart enough to realize that, and seem to be focusing relentlessly on making the kindle as good an e-reader as they can.

Re:Does not follow (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102002)

I agree. I'm not anti-iPad, but I don't think the iPad is quite a great e-reader. There's definitely still room for a dedicated e-reader. Make it as simple, light, thin, and cheap as possible.

I hope they don't sacrifice those things in favor of making them into iPad knock-offs. Apple will beat them in that market.

Re:Does not follow (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102146)

But perhaps some "evolved Kindle" is, in the end, all the tablet many people would need? TFS speculates about new, "faster" screens; size / weight / CPU / battery life / price - things influencing this will improve. Throw in a good browser (what Amazon seems to be starting to do), and "even" with webapps you might end up with good enough tablet.

Yeah, it's too early to push Kindle that way; but perhaps Amazon is eyeing on it after all, in the long term?

Re:Does not follow (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100824)

I agree. In business you can only do one of three things.
Be First
Be cheaper
Be customized

If you do more than one, you will fail. Amazon missed the cool or nerd boat (iXXX, Android).

It would have to come in a cereal box for me to buy a kindle at this point.

Help motorists [wikispeedia.org]

Re:Does not follow (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101058)

. They took an update from Safari that makes reading web pages easier.

It's unclear to me if the "reader" feature in Safari 5 is implemented primarily in open source code in Webkit or one of the the other OSS components of Safari, or in the closed source front-end. This would be the difference between Amazon "taking an update" and Amazon coding a clone of the feature. Anyone know?

Re:Does not follow (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101240)

Good point. I'd assume that to be able to hook into page rendering and pulling multiple pages it would have to be in webkit, but I suppose it could be some sort of layer in Safari its self, using all the various webkit notification callbacks.

It's a great feature in Safari, and I'd imagine that having something like it would make the Kindle browser much better for reading articles on the web.

Re:Does not follow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33101636)

The kindle is missing several things if it wants to be a tablet. A touch screen is one, but a screen the screen will also need to be improved if you want the color, resolution, or refresh rate that is required for the device to be acceptable for general computing.

Better, "faster" screen + webapps? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102082)

Aren't webapps all the rage now, supposedly? With a better browser (I think it even wasn't Webkit previously?) and "more interactive" screen in the next version, we would have basically the Google tablet...certainly quite general purpose.

Endrool was a SCO supporter. (0, Troll)

eddy (18759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100774)

This man is a blight upon humanity. Example:

eWEEK.com columnist Rob Enderle is here to tell you that he has evidence that SCO has rights to Unix, that IBM's error in releasing Unix (AIX) code into Linux violated those rights and that IBM used the Linux community in an attempt to cover up that mista -- [eweek.com] eweek

He wasn't just some tangential person either, he was deep into that shit running their propaganda errands. Explain to me why we'd ever listen to this analcyst?

Re:Endrool was a SCO supporter. (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100938)

This man is a blight upon humanity... He wasn't just some tangential person either, he was deep into that shit running their propaganda errands. Explain to me why we'd ever listen to this analcyst?

Sure Rob Enderle is a world-class idiot, but are there any "analysts" which aren't idiots?

Pretty much everything I've ever seen attributed in the press to "an analyst," was quite clearly clueless bullshit puked out by someone who's figured out that the press isn't picky about certain subjects, and that he can just randomly spout whatever nonsense he wants without any research or thought, and get paid for it.

predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100782)

Has it not been obvious all along that the primary reason for the distinction between ereaders and tablets are limitations of current technology (screen readability vs battery life)?

Besides Mirasol there's also electrowetting technology by U of Cincinatti, and Liquavista (Philips).
http://www.physorg.com/news199330889.html
http://www.liquavista.com/default.aspx

And not to forget the Pixel Qi screens, which are already on the market.
http://www.pixelqi.com

YO DAWG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100814)

I heard you like browsing so we put a browser in your e-reader so you can browse while you read.

No? (4, Informative)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100918)

So... if they got a much more powerful processor, a completely different display (color, fast refresh, touch screen) and an entirely different operating system... it might be like a tablet?

It's a lot more plausible that tablet display contrast will improve, and people will tend to use a tablet where a Kindle isn't enough for them. Kindles aren't ever likely to develop into the tablet space.

Re:No? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101020)

I'm sure someone will hack the kindle to do their bidding over 3G in ways the device wasn't designed to do, albeit in a very awkward and mostly unusable manner. I mean, they got linux and a host of shells to run on the nintendo DS, right? Someone managed to load linux on the ipod, although the replacement GUI was never as good as apple's. They "hacked" the full version of OSX onto the Apple TV, but it wasn't really powerful enough to be used as a primary PC/lowcost Mac.
 
You could hack a proper OS onto the Kindle, but the device isn't designed to do anything beyond display books and perhaps news articles. The Kindle is the literary equivalent of a calculator.

Re:No? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102010)

That's one device where I wouldn't like such hacks - free 3G in many countries (finally, since quite recently) is way too nice. Also a possible impediment to "full" tablet - Amazon would have to suddenly move away from free 3G, somehow, for bandwith-heavy uses.

Re:No? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102046)

For some time, probably. But while you still can get dedicated calculators, portable audio players, lowest-end digicams, dedicated GPS units, "dumbphones"...those things seem to start fading away for general consumers, in the long run. Would Amazon be content with such fate for Kindle? (they did improve the browser this time, apparently - to be fair largely also because it was far from good - but hey, with some future version with "faster" screen + webapps?)

Enderle (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100940)

The fact that Rob thinks it will be tells me it will not. The man has never made an accurate prediction. He is a total whore for $'s and says whatever he is paid to say. He was the point guy for SCO.

Re:Enderle (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101096)

I think he's here moderating people, I just got modded 'troll' (really?!) for explaining the same thing.

iPad will win... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100968)

...once it gets a 300 DPI ("Retina") display like the iPhone 4.

Just sayin.

Re:iPad will win... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101010)

I don't think so. Even with high resolution, the iPad display will still use more power. And it will still be harder to read in sunshine.

Power down attitude control? (0, Offtopic)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101044)

... Once awake, space station astronauts powered down some attitude control systems .... to balance the heat loads on the outpost's backup cooling system, which is working well.

I would have guessed the most important part of the thermal control system was the attitude control system, because the station does not approximate a sphere very well and its got about one hemisphere pointed to cold space and another pointed to "room temperature" earth. But I guess whatever works for them.

Re:Power down attitude control? (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101080)

Maybe the reason the space station article has so few comments is because they're appearing in other articles instead?

This is the reason for iBooks I suppose. (2, Insightful)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101064)

Apple must have seen the inevitable convergence of the tablets and dedicated ebook readers.

Amazon will probably want people to be locked into their software platform as much as possible, and they have quite a userbase already, as well as the ability to provide a lot of content.

When they control the software platform, they can easily extend the control to hardware.
Apple with it's iPad platform will not like that.

Hence introduced iBooks to hopefully turn the tide against Amazon.
Or at the very least allow them to stand on equal footing, where iBook is an equally established platform, with a large enough userbase that publishers cannot do exclusives without hurting themselves.
With both having a more or less similar selection of books, there will be no difference between the two platforms.

Re:This is the reason for iBooks I suppose. (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101372)

Apple introduced iBooks because they want people buying content from Apple, not from Amazon. That way Apple makes more money. Much the reason why they wanted people to buy music from iTunes and not completed uninhibited MP3s from Amazon. Simple business, nothing more.

Re:This is the reason for iBooks I suppose. (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101436)

That is the "simple" explanation.

But IMO Apple current leadership is pretty sharp, and I have seen games like this played before - look at MS and IE.

Starting early is best, it's easier. Also there is less of a chance of accidentally running afoul of anti-trust laws when you push your product "too hard" - again MS and IE.

PS:I thought iTunes was a cost centre, that they only started it up so people can fill up their iPods.

Uh oh - Enderle sighting! (1)

the saltydog (450856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101226)

The guy is only the biggest tech whore this side of Maureen O'Gara; his opinions are worth exactly what I've paid for them... nothing.

Mirasol - 8 colors (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101408)

After going through two articles and a blog, we get to the Mirasol site. [mirasoldisplays.com] Mirasol is straightforward - each pixel is a flexible membrane in an air gap. It's bistable; either the membrane is against the front plate (dark) or against the back plate (light), pushed there by an electrostatic charge. So it's either monochrome, or an 8-color technology if RGB pixels are provided. By putting in more pixels, they can dither their way up to 3 bits of color per pixel, for 512 different colors. This costs resolution, of course. Their technical paper talks about dithering over time at 50Hz to get more even shades. But if they do that, they lose their power-saving advantage. It costs power to change a pixel.

This is one of many bistable persistent display technologies. Kent Displays [kentdisplays.com] has had a similar technology, cholesteric LCD devices, for years, used mostly for big display signs and military applications. Until recently, Kent's displays were very expensive, but they've finally solved the cost problem. This year's DEFCON badge has a built-in Kent display.

Re:Mirasol - 8 colors (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33104516)

After checking out the DEFCON badge, I noticed Kent had single (giant) pixel displays coming out soon, which look awesome. Get it cut to fit your device, laptop/phone/etc, and you can change its color at will. Can't wait until the devkits are available.

Alas, most of the higher pixel count screens are all glass substrate instead of plastic, so no dynamic camo cases.

Re:Mirasol - 8 colors (1)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33104558)

Indeed, behind the gorilla that is E-Ink (which seem the only ones to have successfully industrialized an e-paper technology so far), there are many innovative display technologies competiting. Another interesting technology that comes to my mind is Liquavista [liquavista.com] which uses electrowetting. And we shouldn't forget that iRex is also working on its own color e-paper technology for the next generation iLiads.

Lack of capabilities of current e-readers (1)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33101592)

I agree that display is what keeps both apart at the moment, but even with a slow e-ink display, e-readers could do so much more. Personally I want to read scientific papers. So the basic features I'd be looking for are excellent pdf support, and very good search, tagging and annotation capabilities. Give me this and I will buy one. Nice extras would be a very simple, text based access, to some online scientific paper databases. We're not even close though.

Unfortunately don't think it's ever going to happen on the e-readers side, so my hopes lay on the tablet front.

They are not tables and will never be one. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102470)

1. The most important thing for a Kindle is BATTERY LIFE. For the foreseeable future, tablets will be power hogs and book readers will be power misers that care more about battery life than features. This prevents what you can add to the e-reader, stopping them from becoming tablets (and prevents tablet netbooks from becoming effective e-readers.

2. Money. I would rather have a $10, disposable e-reader than the $35 computer India is offering. Cheap computers will never be viable because we always upgrade the stuff we want to do on them, while e-readers don't need to do that.

3. Upgrades and Viruses It is fairly easy to create a safe, simple OS for an ereader simply by limiting what you can do with it. Upgrading them really is unnecessary. A tablet OS on the other need much more variability and upgradeability. As such, tablets will be MUCH more susceptible to viruses, while the tablets can be locked down a lot more, preventing viruses.

Net results = tablets should be cheaper, longer battery life, more stable, and last longer (less upgrades).

It is a tablet; you can write applications for it (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102748)

I would argue it's already a tablet proper - there is after all already a Kindle SDK [google.com] . I was mulling over writing some things for it, but the bandwidth requirements for application development were too stringent (since the KIndle apps have to care mighty about not using too much of the 3G bandwidth that Amazon is paying for, I think you need to be accepted to read the details).

supporting different formats (1)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 3 years ago | (#33103362)

My major problem with *any* e-book reader is a limited format support. I have lots of books in pdf format, no problem here, but I also have quite few in djvu and fb2 formats. Yes, I can convert them to pdf, but I guess I'm too lazy. On a laptop you just install the fb2 and djvu readers and here you go.

So the e-book reader I have in mind would allow me to install web-based readers, for reading additional formats. Plus, of course, other applications of your choice. That, of course, makes it somewhat closer to tablet. Whatever. I still want it to be mostly a reader. B/W is OK, very light, long battery life.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...