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Rollable E Ink Displays Get Real

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-don't-crease-it dept.

Displays 116

An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago Philips unveiled a prototype of a functional electronic-document reader, called the Readius, which could unroll its display to a scale larger than the device itself. Unfortunately, that was only a prototype. According to Cnet, however, Polymer Vision, which spun out from Philips in 2006, has redesigned the Readius and turned it into a real product that it is going to be available by the end of this year. There are some notable differences between this Readius and the prototype version, in particular, the ability to display 16 shades of grey instead of just 4 and the connectivity options. What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?"

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Problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18059974)

Am I the only one who has trouble getting jis in their keyboard ? Any solutions ? I've tried licking it out but my tongue can't quite get in those little cracks.

Re:Problem (0, Offtopic)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060032)

Am I the only one who has trouble getting jis in their keyboard ? Any solutions

Put one of those latex things over the keyboard or your Willie.

Re:Problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18060374)

Am I the only one who has trouble getting jis in their keyboard ? Any solutions

How does that have anything to do with E-ink? Are you a squid?

Re:Problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18060262)

try a chiclet [1000bit.net] . works for me.

Why? (2, Insightful)

RootWind (993172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060010)

I'm assuming the other companies don't think the cell phone providers will be willing to provide "low-end" phones that don't have the capability to provide full "nickel & dime" profits. Frankkly, I'm not sure the Motofone will make it to the U.S.

Oh, it's coming (2, Informative)

evil agent (918566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060052)

this summer [suntimes.com] . Everyone who's been saying, "I just want a phone that's just a phone" might just get their wish.

Re:Why? (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060072)

What's more is that cellphone companies (at least here in the UK) are pushing the multimedia aspect of mobile telephony. They probably feel that consumers aren't interested in a "low power" device, and are more interested in watching sports events or viral video clips. I personally don't care if my phone uses more power to display pretty colours. I like the pretty colours, and the phone goes on charge nightly anyway.

Not to say I'm not worried about my power usage, things like my storage heaters and oven truly worry me - they're kicking my ass this winter.

Re:Why? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060192)

Personally I think it's just that the power consumption of cheap LCD's is pretty trivial compared to the milliamps used to send and receive RF signals. Transmission of voice or data is much more expensive than passive receipt. You burn more power in a five minute cell call than your display probably uses in 30 minutes or more.

Re:Why? (1)

Moodie-1 (966737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062578)

That's very interesting. How about providing some factual references to back up that claim?

Re:Why? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062924)

Let's try basic physics. How much power does a 3.5W signal take to produce, for example? Now how many milliwatts does an LCD take in comparison? If you want bean counter references for the obvious, hit the search engines.

Re:Why? (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18064292)

Wouldn't it also be made evident by the shorter "talk time" than "stand-by time" for phones?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Razed By TV (730353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060300)

What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?


E-Ink has yet to be tested wide scale on America's consumers, or any consumers, really. Technologically, for a number of cell phone users (at least in the U.S.), it is a step backwards. We already have bright screens with a number of colors. The cell phone is a show piece, and "Hey guys, look how energy efficient my phone is!" doesn't garner praise in most circles. Sure, some people just want a phone with good battery life and don't want a fancy phone that can do a billion different things, but the vibe that I get is that noone knows just how big that market is, or that noone wants to cater to it because of its size, or they figure that with no alternative, consumers will be stuck buying whatever bloated phone is cheapest at the time.

What doesn't make sense though, is why hasn't the Motofone been released in the U.S.? The Motofone got a bit of hype, and a number of people have said it would be great to have a phone that is a phone and is good at it. A number of articles made the rounds on the net, including at Engadget and Gizmodo. Despite this, Motorola is dragging its feet getting it to the U.S., and if you want to import it, you have spend twice what it's worth. Makes me wonder, what's taking so long?

Re:Why? (1)

URSpider (242674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060364)

What doesn't make sense though, is why hasn't the Motofone been released in the U.S.? The Motofone got a bit of hype, and a number of people have said it would be great to have a phone that is a phone and is good at it. A number of articles made the rounds on the net, including at Engadget and Gizmodo. Despite this, Motorola is dragging its feet getting it to the U.S., and if you want to import it, you have spend twice what it's worth. Makes me wonder, what's taking so long?

As another poster mentioned, Moto is planning to start US sales this summer. Don't know why there is a delay.

BUT, if you choose to buy one overseas, you should know that Motofone only has a 2-band radio, and an Indian/African Motofone will only support 900/1800 MHz, not the 850/1900 MHz bands used in the USA and parts of Latin America. A co-worker of mine bought one on EBay, and it's pretty much a paperweight.

"Who Killed The Electronic Ink?" (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060412)

Don't worry, a conspiracy-uncovering documentary like this one [imdb.com] will explain it all... Only the centralized planning (preferably, in the 5-year periods) can alleviate the so called "free market"'s constant failures and get the real innovations adopted without delay.

Gebyy zr ohggbpf...

One word answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061868)

What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?


Color.

Everyone is taking the backward approach of trying to take a phone and morph it into a complete communications and multimedia experience. Of course, they are being limited by the crappy phone OS, but they just keep cludging onto the phones. iPhone has the potential to be a REAL OS, on a phone... but Apple will drop the ball by trying to monopolize the phone market. As usual, they would rather have all of a tiny marketshare than a piece of the entire market: that attitude made them lose to IBM, it made them lose to Microsoft, and it's going to make them lose to the next group to deliver a real phone OS (maybe Linux, maybe Microsoft, maybe someone else entirely. Palm already lost their chance a long time ago).

But I digress. It's because of the "YOUR PHONE WILL DO EVERYTHING!!!!!!" attitude which prevents the mobile phone industry from, ironically, making good phones. There isn't a single phone on the market which is JUST a phone with an address book. Such a product would likely never be upgraded, and the phone industry has become totally reliant on the idea of making a disposable product.

Scrolls? (1)

dragonrouge (1059352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060050)

Thats definetly one for the scrolls...

Audiobooks (1, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060056)

I used to be really excited about this technology, thinking I could bring a bunch of books and articles in my pocket and read them whenever I needed to wait.

Then I discovered audiobooks. Just put them on your MP3/Ogg player and listen to them everywhere where you need your eyes but not your ears -- in the car, on your bike, cleaning the kitchen, et cetera. I'm working my way through the entire 20 piece science fiction/fantasy book series of Pern [wikipedia.org] , written by Anne McCaffrey. Absolutely great.

Re:Audiobooks (4, Insightful)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060290)

listen to them everywhere where you need your eyes but not your ears -- in the car, on your bike
I certainly hope that's some kind of joke. Do you have any idea why cyclists get hit by cars?

Re:Audiobooks (1)

Renfield Spiffioso (982789) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060384)

It's okay: in this case it assists concentration. The Pern series, like pedaling, is an exercise in repetition.

Re:Audiobooks (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060490)

Because bicyclists are incapable of listening to music and paying attention to the traffic around them?

Re:Audiobooks (4, Insightful)

harves (122617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060664)

Grandparent post has a good point. I'll see if I can add to it.

Most cyclists don't have rearview mirrors; they use their ears. They can tell a car is just-behind-and-to-the-left or riding-my-arse by the engine noise. You can hear that fool doing twice the speed limit well before he passes you, assuming you can hear. Now, yes, I agree: every cyclist needs to look around and be aware of the traffic around them, the same as a driver in a car. But would you drive a car with *no* rearview mirrors at all? By shutting off your ears as a cyclist you are doing the same thing.

Yes, I'm a cyclist. I ride in traffic. I don't wear my iPod unless I'm on a separate cycleway/path. I would use a rearview mirror if I could find one that actually works.

Re:Audiobooks (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060726)

With some open headphones, you could easily listen to an audiobook and hear cars approaching. Sure your concentration might be a bit off, but I'm sure you're generally thinking about things while biking anyway.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061052)

I had a helmet mounted mirror, then moved to the tiny glasses-lens mounted one-- they both worked very well (I abandonned the helmet one after a couple of years though, because it was old and the plastic ball and socket would mo longer stay in the right place).

I don't remember if there was an adjustment period-- but they worked VERY well. It got to the point where I would miss them when I was walking around without my cycling glasses.

Don't bother with anything mounted on the bike though.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061386)

You can hear that fool doing twice the speed limit well before he passes you

And you're one of those fools on a cycle who thinks you can keep a steady pace of 25MPH and any car getting up on your arse and passing you is doing twice the speed limit. Guess what you're only doing about 15MPH and you riding your bike on the road puts you in danger and along with anyone else on the road around you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, share the road, what ever. Move over as far to the right as you can when you hear a car coming up on you because even if the car is doing 25 in a 25, it's still going 5-10MPH faster than you. And for you clueless morons riding your little bicycle in a 30+MPH zone, don't. Find a trail, ride on roads that have bike paths anything, just get of the damn road.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18063042)

Sounds like somebody needs a hug!

Re:Audiobooks (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063176)

Because bicyclists are incapable of listening to music and paying attention to the traffic around them?

They are quite capable of listening to music and pedalling until the day they die - noticing that idiot changing lanes into your kidney is a different story. As a cyclist you need to assume you are either invisible or you have a big target drawn on your back to make it easier for rednecks to run you off the road. Wearing headphones on a bicycle while riding in traffic is stupid and is illegal in some places.

Re:Audiobooks (3, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061520)

'scuse me? I'd rather have a cyclist listen to an audiobook than a driver making a hands-free phonecall. Also, I live in a country where there are separate lanes for cyclists. Keep the volume low and the eyes open.

Re:Audiobooks (3, Funny)

Ztream (584474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062684)

I'd rather have a cyclist listen to an audiobook than a driver making a hands-free phonecall.

I didn't know the two were mutually exclusive.

By the way, you seem to be from The Netherlands, the country that taught me to stop watching out for cars and start watching out for deadly bicycles :). I still do this back in Sweden even though it is totally unnecessary here.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061694)

Oh, I know this one! Is it because they're all listening to audiobooks?

Re:Audiobooks (2, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062252)

Because they have the volume way too damn loud. I ride my bike with headphones on all the time - I just don't use my noise-canceling ones, nor do I put the volume even close to a point where I can't hear cars coming.

I'd be a lot more concerned about drivers listening than bikers. At least on a bike, you have to do something to keep moving.

Re:Audiobooks (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063686)

Because, although they can only do 30 km/hr at the best of times, they feel the need to ride in traffic like they're a fuckin' car.

Re:Audiobooks (1)

espressojim (224775) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063814)

Yeah. I can do over 18.5 miles/hour on my mountain bike, EASY. I can do over 25 miles/hour (40 km/h) on a road bike. Where I ride (Boston, MA), traffic often goes much SLOWER than I do, especially when I'm commuting to work.

The numbers I quote are for an average person who is in their mid thirtys, and not a hardcore rider. Have you seen the Tour de France? Those guys are going WAY in excess of 30km/h, on road bikes. They can average in the low to mid 50's.

Re:Audiobooks (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063864)

It still aint 60 km/hr and if you're in traffic going 60 km/hr then you need to do at least 50+ or you are going to cause an accident.. that's if you're in a car or on a bike. Really, it isn't a matter of velocity, it's a matter of acceleration. If you can't start and stop at the same rate as the rest of the traffic, you're a hazard. This is why bike lanes are a good idea.. and yes, they should be everywhere.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18064270)

The car drivers don't give a shit about the laws - they are bigger and a scratch in the front is nothing - compared to a "scratch" in the bikist.

Re:Audiobooks (1)

cfvgcfvg (942576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060946)

The problem with audiobooks is that there is next to no educational content available. I have searched high and low (mostly high) and found pretty much only "self help" and "personal achievement" material. There are a few Stanford lectures for free on itunes, but mostly current issue type stuff, nothing of real great educational value.

I had a job for 5 years that required driving 1 hour to and from every day. I thought it was such a waste that I couldn't study for some university courses via audio material, but unless I'm blind it really just doesn't exist. I also find my personal informaion retention is much better if the material is heard, not read, so I end up having to read books aloud to myself and then get sick of my own voice.

I also ended up listening to a lot of sci-fi, but would have been much happier with university lectures, scientific papers, or just plain non-fiction books on important topics.

If anyone knows where audiobooks like this could be found, please let me know.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061062)

Try this:

The Teaching Company -- http://www.teach12.com/ [teach12.com]

Re:Audiobooks (2, Informative)

BigLug (411125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062514)

I'm certain LibriVox [librivox.org] would be happy to record some more 'educational' books .. only they only have access to works in the public domain. Everyone else seems to want to be paid for their work. Because of this, most of their books are very old. Educational works that are old enough to be in the public domain will likely teach that the sun orbits the earth :)

If you have a source for public domain works that you'd like to hear as audio books, that's the place to submit them.

Cheers!
Rick Measham
(disclaimer: I'm a volunteer reader for LibriVox)

Re:Audiobooks (1)

SpectralDesign (921309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061710)

As a visual learner, I find audio books to be a complete waste of my time... without a visual aid to help me stay focused my mind quickly wanders when I've tried listening to audiobooks. Sure, some readers can raise the level of interest with a nice reading style, but even then I still can't stay focused on them. C'est la vie.

It'd certainly be nice to be able to go to the library (or library website) to get material for a device like this "on-demand" instead of what can be a long, long, long, wait for the library to share a handful of books among hundreds of people interesting in reading it...

One of my holds at the TPL has been active since Oct. 11 -- I'm now number 300 in a line of 408 people...

Of course, not having to return the book in 1-3 weeks would also be a bonus, since I'm so busy it can be hard or impossible to read a book in that span of time.

Re:Audiobooks (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063438)

I'm exactly the same, every time I've played an audiobook, I find myself actually reading something else within five minutes, as there's no focus on an audiobook, too easy to multitask and lose the thread.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062032)

Audiobooks? $29.95 to listen to 1/5th the text of a book? No thanks. Stick with paper.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062050)

They do make unabridged audiobooks...

Re:Audiobooks (1)

ronrib (1055404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062562)

Audio books are great, until you find one read by Tim Curry
Though remembering the Harry Potter books in a British accent does give it some kind of charm.

Re:Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18063510)

Nope. Reading is best for me. Problems I have with Audiobooks:

Audiobooks are too *slow*. I can read at least twice as fast an audiobook narration meanders along.

Audiobooks are most like radio plays, good entertainment and best enjoyed sitting comfortably somewhere relaxing. Doing stuff at the same time means you miss out on the immersive experience.

Can't find audiobook versions of what I want to read. Currently reading an etext of "Personal narrative of a pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah" by Sir Richard Francis Burton. Gutenburg Project good.

Farenheit what? (3, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060058)

So what exactly is the temperature at which e-books burn?

Re:Farenheit what? (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060112)

So what exactly is the temperature at which e-books burn?

The laser in my DVD burner doesn't have a corresponding black-body temperature.

Re:Farenheit what? (1)

sarge apone (918461) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062812)

If they use Sony batteries, we'll find out.

Re:Farenheit what? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18065058)

Wel, most ICs start to lose their composition around 120C or 250F, So I suppose the updated title would be "Farenheit 250"

You seem to have missed "vaporware" in the tags (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060076)

Because this device isn't there yet.

It has indeed been over 2 years since this was announced. I wonder what is going wrong ? Are these displays too expensive ? Too many patents ? Difficulty in designing ? What is going wrong here ?

Re:You seem to have missed "vaporware" in the tags (5, Interesting)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060440)

It has indeed been over 2 years since this was announced. I wonder what is going wrong ? Are these displays too expensive ? Too many patents ? Difficulty in designing ? What is going wrong here ?

They're not expensive compared to LCDs, but they're expensive compared to paper. Since e-ink is supposed to make cheap and portable e-books a reality, you need to have an e-book that's cheap enough for consumers to want--the technology isn't well-suited to anything but static text and images, so you can't try to sell an e-book that, for example, also plays video games.

Since more people want to make phone calls than read books, e-books need to be pretty darned cheap to sell well (schools could be a prime market, but they're all broke, too). Personally, I wouldn't buy one until it broke the $99 barrier AND was as small and portable as a paperback book, and they haven't gotten to that point yet.

Re:You seem to have missed "vaporware" in the tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061864)

I purchased on of the Sony Readers when they originally hit the shelves last year. Reason? I do a lot of travel, and visit 2-3 cities a month. Trying to take enough books to fill my off work hours, flight time, waiting for flight time, etc, just weighed too much and took up too much space. The laptop was OK, but unfortunately got to the point where a 3 hour flight would drain the battery, and I need that for Streets & Trips on the other side to drive where I need to be. Palm type compact computers don't have screens that are large enough, and cause unbelievable eyestrain while being less portable than the Sony Reader.

The Reader seemed ideal. Not much larger than a paperback book itself, it fits well into the thigh pocket of all my 7 pocket Khakis very well. Lightweight, long battery life means that I can and do carry it everywhere I go. I've even taken to transfering emails to it, before my flight boards so I can catch up on company business.

True, it is fairly expensive. Its also not quite as portable as a standard 60,000 word paperback novel. But considering that I can carry a couple thousand (200 books currently take up 200 megs of a 2 gig SD card) books all at the same time, a days worth of emails and a couple hundred mp3s or voice briefings/audio books in something that's barely less portable than the aforementioned paperback.

The drawbacks? Sony's Connect software sucks, period. Their ebook store for a lot of titles is overpriced, and has a limited selection. Still that's going to be true until publishers really get behind e-books and electronic distribution, which most of them aren't.

Re:You seem to have missed "vaporware" in the tags (2, Interesting)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063878)

you can't try to sell an e-book that, for example, also plays video games.

I would be happy to have sit and read while listening to music. If my music player/book interupted me for incoming phone calls, that would be an incredibly convenient bonus. It's actually something I've complained about before with my phone, that the music player is great, the ability to take calls is obviously a necessity, but the inability to read text without going cross eyed is a major headache, and I stand on the train to and from work, so laptops are pointless there. If I have documents I want to take home with me to read, I print them out.

That's the market for these things, IMHO. People who don't need fancy graphics and animation, but an easy on the eye, foldable and passive display technology integrated into mobile devices.

Is this really new? (0)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060104)

"Two years ago Philips unveiled a prototype of a functional electronic-document reader, called the Readius, which could unroll its display to a scale larger than the device itself...

Type "GPS" and "wireless" into Google. A map is a kind of electronic document that is "a scale larger than the device itself".

Re:Is this really new? (1)

welshwaterloo (740554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060328)

no - you've got it arse-backwards.. It's about having a device, like a Treo say, where the display screen actually unfolds & unfurls to the size of a small jazz-magazine.

HTH

Re:Is this really new? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060720)

He inadvertently makes an excellent point though. Unless you're the captain of a ship, when is the last time you rolled a map? For most people, paper that is rolled is not portable.

Call me when you can fold it, or when they make a device out of it that is a hardcover book you can "reprint" on demand.

Re:Is this really new? (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063570)

If you have a look at the article (tiresome I know), this reader is about halfway between folding and rolling.

amazingly ink-like (4, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060124)

A friend brought over a non-rollable unit (think tablet) that was loaded up with several books. It uses that E-ink also. I don't recall who makes it, (phillips?) but it was easy to read with just ambient light in the room, and had a backlight for low light use. The screen looked like crisp jet-black typeset ink on a slightly off-white page, it was very easy to read and did not put any strain on the eyes. It did take a second or so to switch pages though which I was not expecting. I don't know if that was a limitation of the device or of the screen, but when it switched it was a snap switch, not where you see the text being drawn vertically.

It wasn't very portable in the modern sense though. This unit was about 5.5" x 8", hardly pocket-size. I don't know how portable they will be able to get these - you can only roll it in one direction, so at best that one would have to be at least 5" in some direction. This screen was perfectly flat of course, and I wonder how much it would mess with your vision to read a page with a curl or warp to it? I know it bugs me to try to read a newspaper if it's not laying flat. I suppose this would be ideal for say, a long plane flight or while waiting for a connecting flight at a gate.

Re:amazingly ink-like (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060610)

It did take a second or so to switch pages though which I was not expecting

The burst of incredibly annoying static between page switches is the sole reason I haven't gotten a Sony Reader. I'm hoping someone figures out a way around that issue.

Re:amazingly ink-like (2, Interesting)

wbd (88361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060962)

Actually, it does that intentionally so I doubt there will be a way to "get around it". It's not static, it's the entire page going solid black for an instant. This apparently is to prevent "burn in" of the e-ink "pixels" which definitely does happen. I noticd ghost images of large text from a previous page occasionally when I played with the Sony Reader in the local CompUSA.

But at $350-$400, forget it. I'm getting an eBookWise reader at $124. www.ebookwise.com.

It's a more evolved version of the old GemStar/RCA ebook I have. Better screen and other features, but same case.

I noticed the Sony Reader was hard to hold and felt flimsy. The GemStar/eBookWise unit has a nice raised edge on one side where they also store a LARGE (but fairly light) battery and feels really good and solid in your hand.

Re:amazingly ink-like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061814)

You realize that the eBookWise Reader has a half VGA resolution screen, right? It may be cheaper, but you will not like reading books on this device.

Re:amazingly ink-like (1)

Der Reiseweltmeister (1048212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060906)

I work for the Department of Redundancy Department,where I am employed.

Clever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061580)

Very clever. Personally, I miss the days where cleverness ruled over redundant jokes. Gads, I am sick of seeing about Old Korean people, Overlords, and Soviet Union.

Re:amazingly ink-like (2, Interesting)

vanyel (28049) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061440)

I have a Sony Portable Reader --- in fact since, surprisingly, no one here seems to have reviewed it, I'm trying to find time to write one, but it must use different E-ink technology. It doesn't have a backlight, and the contrast degrades rapidly with the light. If there's a lot of light, it is quite readable, and the background even looks white, but with just a single lamp or a couple normal incandescent lights, it goes gray with a very slight greenish cast. Admittedly, I've been reading most of my books on the very brightly backlit Treo 650 for the last couple years, and I'm getting old enough that my light sensitivity has noticeably diminished (though far from being a problem yet), but I find the Reader to be somewhat worse than a real book. While it's readable if you set things up properly, I still find the Treo to be the best reading device so far. The small size is only a disadvantage for figures and images, and Acrobat Reader for the Palm isn't perfect in its translation, but it works well enough.

Other Devices (1)

uzusan (951058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060144)

First of all, i REALLY want one of these.

Secondly, i think that concentrating on the applications of E-Ink in mobile phones is a bit limited. The capabilities of E-Ink paper are much bigger than just for mobile. Sure, having a clearer mobile display might be great, but i want to see other innovative uses for this technology. I would love to be able to read a paper made of E-Ink paper (a la minority report) and other such things.

color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18060184)

Try remembering when the consumer got advertised a phone without color, or a camera that wasn't also a smartphone. I strongly suspect that with phone companies giving away phones with such capabilities as long as you take a contract, they are not interested in advertising a phone with which you could just tell them:

My phone costs 200$ less than the one you give for free with a 3 year contract, I'm waking the 3 year contract, where's my 200$?

no color, updates slowly (2, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060190)

What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?

It can't display video, or serve as the display for a camera phone. Seriously- the update cycle on eInk is up to half a second or more, something they don't like to talk about. That makes it a pain even for scrolling through your address book.

Related rant: All I want is a phone with a extendable antenna for good reception, a message indicator LIGHT (my SE phone has a message indicator on the screen, but the screen goes blank or to a clock. It even HAS a LED in the joystick, but it's not used for anything!), bluetooth, and a fully functioning address book (ie: I want to be able to see an address, not just a #, and I want the phone to support contact groups in iCal.)

Why won't anyone make it? If they do make it, why aren't they doing a better job of marketing it? I understand all the cameraphone crap is to get me to buy more services; I don't give a shit about video or MMS or cameraphones, and I'm unlikely to EVER buy those services- so just sell me a GOOD PHONE. And NO, I don't want a large phone, even if it does run Linux...

Re:no color, updates slowly (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18060380)

It can't display video, or serve as the display for a camera phone. Seriously- the update cycle on eInk is up to half a second or more, something they don't like to talk about. That makes it a pain even for scrolling through your address book.

Which means people are missing the point. This technology should be set around a different target: the dedicated e-Book reader. I want two pages, the size of a comfortable paperback, that fold together to make an ultra-thin folder-like book. It doesn't have to roll up, it just has to be flat and thin. Imagine having a library of e-Books that are COMFORTABLE on the eyes, folded neatly in your bookbag. It doesn't matter if it takes 1.5 seconds to flip to the next page.

I don't get what this has to do with a cell phone at all.

Re:no color, updates slowly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18064512)

I don't know any eBook readers with two pages (probably because that'd mean two eInk screens, and those are still expensive), but otherwise, the market already has what you want. Have a look at the list of readers here [wikipedia.org] . Personally, I've got a Jinke eReader since it's on the cheaper end of the scale ($350), while still working great and having all the features I really need. As a result, I read more now than ever before, with my whole library with me all the time, readily accessible.

Re:no color, updates slowly (1)

pimp0r (1030222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060774)

About related rant:
For the message indicator light, get a Siemens phone with Dynamic Light.
(I guess second-hand since Siemens no longer makes mobiles... )

Re:no color, updates slowly (1)

1point618 (919730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061082)

I bought one of these [esato.com] , and my god, it's the best phone I've ever owned, having also owned a Motorola Slvr L6 and a V330. It actually has everything you wanted but the extended antenna, but it has great reception. It also has the message indicator light and bluetooth. The address book might not be up to snuff for you though, it was released pre-OS X and I imaging it doesn't support OS X, and putting in address are a bit of a pain. Also, it's GMS, but only a tri-band phone, but won't work some places (like my home in Alaska, damn it, so I can only use it while at college).

It was the phone Ericsson released just before merging with Sony, and there is also a model relased by SonyEricsson, which I believe is pretty much the same phone with slightly updated software and different branding. The phone is light, pretty, sturdy, and useful. It even comes with POP3 email software! My one complaint is that the software sometimes responds a bit slowly compared to modern phones (it was released 5 years ago), and sometimes requires more clicks than seems necessary to perform something. But look into it, you can still find it brand new on ebay for around $50 with shipping, unlocked and everything. Oh, and I only charge it every three or so days, as compared to every night with my other phones. That right there is reason enough to get it for me.

Here's [ebay.com] a link to an ebay auction for it, do a little searching and you can probably find it brand new for about the same price (that's what I did).

Re:no color, updates slowly (1)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061178)

My Samsung SGH-E780 [jucaushii.ro] does quite a few of those.

It's smaller than a Razr (which it replaced, Motorola's software is slow and unintuitive), but has a bigger keyboard. The outside screen is actually a mini-screen and some LED-driven indicators on the top that show you a clock, network reception, battery life, and the presence of an SMS message

It has Bluetooth connectivity, and supports contact groups (no idea about iCal connectivity though). The contact info lets you specificy a ton of info like e-mail, 3 phones number. Not sure about address but there's a "notes" field for text so one could use that. No extendable antenna but I have yet to have a single reception problem with it.

Oh and by the way, even though I hated cameraphones myself, this one's camera is surprisingly good, quite comparable in quality to a good pocket cam.
 

Feep ! Feep ! Feep ! (3, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061712)

Why ?
It's a small creature saying "feep !".

My almost-10-years old Ericsson T39 (dating before "Sony-" started appearing in front). Had and still has today all this : Bluetooth (for being used as a modem on my other equipment) with GPRS, extensible antenna (although as an option), and low power consumption (even had an optionnal huge LiMH replacement for the polymer battery that could last up to one week).

It's good enough and I'm still using up to today. Only now I begin to consider changing it because UMTS sounds interesting...

The reason you can't find such things ?
Feature creep. When everyone changes phones each year for free with his tarif plan, companies have a hard time trying to be "the one" elected by the consumer for the next cycle. So their overbloat their phone with semi-useful functions and then hope that the consumer will pick to one with the most marks in the checkbox on the label at the shop.

Or they go for the cheapest phone, and not only remove things not necessary in a phone (like the webcam) but also functions that could be used to connect the phone to other device that could provide the function (the phone doesn't need internet connection. The Laptop or the Palmtop *DO*) and you get no UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth or IrDA (and sometime, no other connector except a charger port).

So they either produce Everything-including-the-kitchen-sink phone, or the cheap crap-phone, but no "give-me a basic phone and let my use my laptop for everything else".
The one company that gets that right *AND* that use some standart connector (so that we don't have to buy a new round of charger and such accessories everytime a new model is out) would have definitely a market.

Re:Feep ! Feep ! Feep ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062390)

My almost-10-years old Ericsson T39
T39 was released in 2001: http://www.canadiancontent.net/mobile/Ericsson_T39 .html [canadiancontent.net]

Re: kitchen sink is so 20th century (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063328)

Nah, putting a kitchen sink in the phone is so 20th century. If it can make decent frapiccino or caramel machiatto , then you are talking, baby!

The tech isn't ready! (1)

tommyhj (944468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060200)

With refresh times measured in seconds, this tech isn't ready for any mobile phone. Only for tablet readers is it any good, when you actually hae time to wait for the page to turn.

Not as a main display (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061790)

I could be useful for a secondary display, for when the main one is too small.

Think about a GPS.
They usually have small screen (in the phone or palmtop range), which are good at showing an overhead view of the car with only the current intersection visible.
With a second eInk display, if you need a more wide point of view, you could just unroll a bigger (laptop-range of size) blach and white map of the region you are in. If you don't drive at the speed of the jet, the map itself doesn't change that quickly and the slow refresh isn't a problem. In fact, the low power requirement means that the GPS could "print" the map and once you've parked the car you should be able to detach the balck and with map and put it in your pocket for further references.

Same thing could be though about palmtops (manage the e-mails on the smal screen, read them on the big one) etc...

Basically the eInk could be used directly for any usages which makes some people print the thing of actual paper.

What is the deal with e-Ink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18060244)

There have been lots and lots of pre-announcements and announcements and limited-run trials out of the reach of consumers (weren't there some price-changing shelf or store signs at WalMart a few yeras ago, and that was the future?)

What is the DEAL with this company and with the technology? What aren't they saying? These delays have gone on for a very long time, and there are carefully timed releases to keep them in the news, but where's the affordable OEM and end-user products built with even a rigid e-ink display?

Oh great - books with DRM. n/t (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060298)

bleh.

Why is't it used? here's why (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060334)

People like colour, if this tech was introduced 7 years ago it would have been popular. For low end phones it will be useful, it will also be good for devices where colour isn't really needed.

Also, a colour version which could play video would look rather different to a normal computer display. It would be using reflective colours instead of transmitted. Everyone is used to high resolution printouts from their inkjet or fairly low resolution TFT screens. A display using e-ink that is colour would be a mixture of both.

Re:Why is't it used? here's why (3, Informative)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060404)

For low end phones it will be useful, it will also be good for devices where colour isn't really needed.

Like a book, you mean?

The idea of e-ink isn't that it's b&w, but it's very low-power -- you only need to use electricity to update the screen, and after that whatever's "written" on the "page" is permanent until it's updated again. Very useful for e-book readers, not very useful for phones or much of anything else.

\fRist psot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18060368)

[slashdot.org], = 36400 freeBSD

I'll roll my own - thank you (2, Funny)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060436)


Want a Readius?
No thanks -- I'll roll my own.
Why, you must be from Holland.
Sure, aren't you?


Can it run Linux?! (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060630)

:D

I'm not into any paper (3, Funny)

rsanta74 (1003253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18060674)

you can roll, but can't smoke.

call me when... (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061034)

i can get a big screen television that sticks to the wall like a large poster or glued on like wallpaper...

Convertible Displays (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061130)

I want a phone or PC with a small display that rolls out to get bigger when I need it. Like a phone with a 5"x2" screen that pulls out to a 5"x10" screen in the upper half of the clamshell. And a 12-key pad in the bottom half that folds open again sideways into a 4" wide QWERTY keyboard. A WiFi/Bluetooth hub for other devices, like an extra "CPU server" that can sit in a bag, coat pocket, or across a network.

I want to see "convertible displays" destroy the distinction between mobile "phones" and "PCs" forever.

The problem with bringing this to market (5, Informative)

lucyfersam (68224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061262)

The reason none of these rollable devices have been brought to market yet is not the E-ink display, their grey scale display is quite good, and already used in consumer products (the Sony E-reader for example). The problem is the flexible back plane needed to drive the display. Currently, every system demonstrated including the Readius uses organic polymers for the drivers, which have a shelf life of a couple of days if you're lucky. They are incredibly sensitive to moisture, and the only system so far capable of protecting them requires the deposition of many layers of transparent metal oxides, which alone cost somewhere in the range of $60/ square foot. Anytime you see news about a flexible display, look to see if they are using organic drivers, if they are and they don't explicitly address the moisture issue, the product will never reach consumers.

Re:The problem with bringing this to market (1)

Moodie-1 (966737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062688)

Very informative. This should have been modded much higher than a mere 1.

Dumb questions strike again! (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061600)

What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?"


1. This sentence is a little run-on.

2. This sentence is a declarative ("What doesn't make sense..."), so it should not end with a question mark.

3. This is another stupid question at the end of a summary. People want color (preferably at least 32,000 color) displays in their phones. Few manufacturers are going to pay for premium new tech in what will be one of their bottom-of-the-barrel/developing country and grandma-and-grandpa handsets.

This is not an english test (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063228)

While we are correcting things from my point of view the above poster cannot spell colour correctly. As you can see from that statement correcting grammar and spelling on an international forum like this is offtopic, pointless and annoying. So long as people have interesting things to say why bring out the red pen?

Re:This is not an english test (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18063478)

While we are correcting things from my point of view the above poster cannot spell colour correctly.

The spelling I gave is most certainly correct. [reference.com] It is the American spelling of color and has been in use for over a hundred years. Ironic note: Firefox's spell checker is flagging your spelling of color as incorrect right now as I type this. But I'm not going to make the same mistake you are, because I actually recognize that "colour" is the British English spelling of color and that Firefox is flagging it because it is referencing an en-US spelling dictionary.

So long as people have interesting things to say why bring out the red pen?

Because what you were saying wasn't interesting. There seems to be this trend when people write stories to end them with a question to start discussion. But quite often the question is so obvious you don't need to discuss it [slashdot.org] to get the answer.

Cell phone manufacturers are not rushing to adopt grayscale screens with patent lists a mile long. Gee, I wonder why? I mean, they've been working to cram full color QVGA screens into most of their products for the last couple years, obviously 4-bit grayscale is the next step after that! Do people need full color displays to make phone calls? Absolutely not, but its a whiz-bang feature that sell phones, and it is needed when you have a built in camera on the phone (which most do now). Even if the camera was grayscale the e-paper display would not be appropriate, as the refresh rate would not be able to keep up with your movement as you framed the photo subject in the viewfinder.

E-ink is a great technology, but not for cell phones. It would only be usable as a main display in bottom-end handsets, and that is a market segment the industry as a whole tends to ignore. They can make do with cheap monochrome LCDs and get the same usability for much less money than paying the licensing cost for something new like E-ink displays. I can see a place for it in external displays on high end phones, but even those are moving to color now.

Re:This is not an english test (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18064016)

I think the point was completely missed - please read it again and note the word "international". You are also correct that this entire grammar checking thing is intensely boring, pointless and offtopic - which was my other point. Please give people a chance to write text without pointing out errors in their grammar.

Because... (0)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062066)

grayscale porn just doesn't cut it.

Show us your pink bits! (1)

ICantHearYourMusicAn (1044614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062958)

> grayscale porn just doesn't cut it.

Why not make them in shades of pink, not grey?

Phone displays? I think not. (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062330)

What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?"

Phone manufacturers are more interested in bright, vibrant, color displays that look attractive. The efficiency gains aren't a big advantage given the frequency with which people are used to charging their phones, and the readability is only an issue when reading large amounts of text, which isn't (yet) something that cell phones are often used for.

Why should it makes sense for cell phones? (1)

stickb0y (260670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062396)

What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?

Why would it make sense to use e-paper (or e-ink, whichever term you prefer) for cell phones?

How much energy do you think the LCD screen on a cell phone consumes? Keep in mind that for most people, the LCD screens and their backlights are on only a fraction of the time. I would think that most of the energy consumed is by the radio. Also, backlit LCD screens are easy to see in the dark. LCD screens also display color, which is good for camera phones.

That's not to say that e-paper-based displays can't overcome those issues, but I don't think it's there yet. And if an e-paper display isn't cheaper to manufacture than an LCD display (which I assume to be true since it's relatively new), I see no compelling reason for cell phone manufacturers to switch to them right now. Maybe in a few years, though.

Re:Why should it makes sense for cell phones? (1)

lucyfersam (68224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062770)

For refence, E-ink is the name of the compnay that makes the front plane display, rather than some general term for the technology.

why it won't fly on a massive scale (2, Insightful)

Kashgarinn (1036758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062466)

The reason why it won't take off is because there isn't an easy way of getting to a vast dump of intellectual property to start the wheels going.

If every textbook in the world would be available, then only maybe it would sell (unless it would be very, very cheap.. like $10-20.

If every textbook in the world, as well as every picture book would be abailable, then there's a small chance people would be interested as both porn and manga would open up for these devices (and the price would have to be lower than $50).

If every textbook, picture book, and animation would be available, then you've got a device which people would be really interested in owning, and would be then worth a pricetag of $100.

Of course now you're talking about the capabilities of cellphones and computers. why not just wait until you can get your hands on a OLPC? should meet your needs.
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