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Electronic Paper's Past and Future

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the updating-in-your-pocket dept.

Displays 154

Iddo Genuth sends us to TFOT for his extended series of interviews around the question of how electronic paper will change our lives in the next few years. The article leads off with the "father of e-paper," Nick Sheridon, who came up with the idea almost 35 years ago at Xerox PARC, and goes on to explore how e-paper may evolve past its current incarnations in the likes of the Sony Reader.

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SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21005581)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
stick your head in there [goatse.ch]

E-Readers (1)

imstanny (722685) | about 7 years ago | (#21005635)

I've heard good things about them, specifically the battery life. Does anyone own an E-Reader? I was thinking of getting Sony's. Any thoughts?

Re:E-Readers (4, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | about 7 years ago | (#21005729)

My main thought is that since it's by Sony it'll be drenched in poisonous DRM.

I owned a Newton Messagepad back in the day. I've read fiction, non-fiction, short stories, novels, news articles and heaps of other stuff on everything from a PDA to one a laptop connected to Second Life. The only place ebooks have a decent chance of success is to replace the two tons of textbooks most schools require their students to carry. Otherwise it's hard to beat the convenience of Dead Tree Format.

Re:E-Readers (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#21006173)

The latest incarnation of the Sony Reader plugs in to a USB host and shows up like a drive, to drag files over. It can handle .txt and .PDF as well as JPEG and MP3. Feel free to totally ignore installing their software and never using DRM. I have one and it is fantastic for taking with me when I travel.

Re:E-Readers (1)

AVee (557523) | about 7 years ago | (#21007099)

So what is it, did they screw up on there DRM scheme once again or did they finally make one properly usable device?

Not that it matters much, it will take a lot more before I start buying Sony again. For starters, I'm not going to spend a single cent on a company that calls me a thief [arstechnica.com] for making a legal copy of legally acquired music. That's just sponsering an upcoming lawsuit against myself, which to me seems really stupid.

Re:E-Readers (1)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#21008743)

I was amazed that they didn't find a way to screw this over in the end. The only thing I can think of is someone messed up. :-)

Anyway, Sony Music != Sony Electronics, but I understand your point.

Re:E-Readers (2, Interesting)

dioxide (149116) | about 7 years ago | (#21007825)

The latest incarnation of the Sony Reader plugs in to a USB host and shows up like a drive, to drag files over. It can handle .txt and .PDF as well as JPEG and MP3. Feel free to totally ignore installing their software and never using DRM. I have one and it is fantastic for taking with me when I travel.


Eh, you can, but you're going to get the best results regarding display quality (because you can control font and size), as well as not waiting (feels like an eternity) for the reader to format the file itself.

If you do want to just drop books in, at least convert them to Sony's native book format. They really do tend to be better. The tool I use for this purpose is called BookDesigner, and it makes for some very comfortable reading. Still have the formatting wait though.

While I'm at it, PDFrasterfarian can format your PDF files. You can crop the pdfs, force one pdf page to use two frames (thats usually what i go for) portrait or landscape modes, all free stuff. Google should lend you a hand finding these.

for the record, i own one of these, and i absolutely love it. my only real gripe is the lack of backlighting, but i think i might be able to hack something up to make a frontlight that wont send a glare back at me.

Re:E-Readers (1, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | about 7 years ago | (#21008127)

Can it handle cbr/cbz files for comic book reading like CDisplay does (besides the fact that it's only B&W) ? Heh, that's literature too !

Re:E-Readers (1)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | about 7 years ago | (#21006329)

I'd say the vast majority of the personal reading I've done over the last few years has been in ebook form. It's a shame there isn't a better outlet for them, at least that I know of. Your probably right about the text books though. Like for my history class this quarter were given a textbook/ebook option, and its alot cheaper to get the ebook, making my choice pretty easy. If we could have everything on some kind of e-paper device (or maybe i just need a laptop?) it would be even better though.

Re:E-Readers (1)

Technician (215283) | about 7 years ago | (#21006421)

Otherwise it's hard to beat the convenience of Dead Tree Format.

For many things, the dead tree format is obsolete. The obvious is simply missed. Newspapers and other formats for distributing the current events is old by the time it's printed. Get a newspaper if you want yesterday's news. Go online (a form of e-paper) and read Google News, Yahoo news, MSN news, API, etc. An offline publication in either a dead tree format or e-paper format is by defenition a record of history, sometimes as recent as a day or two ago.

Re:E-Readers (1)

Kris_J (10111) | about 7 years ago | (#21006599)

Browsing a dozen news sites on a PC is not the same thing as an ebook.

Re:E-Readers (1)

trenien (974611) | about 7 years ago | (#21007593)

I read as much news on line as the next geek (many hours a day). However...

Thinking that instant news is the only valid news is a huge mistake IMHO.

Having news that have taken a while to be gathered and properly studied and presented by the reporter is very important. Sometime you have to take the time to think.

Having said that, this kind of news I'm talking about can perfectly be delivered through a computer's screen or that of a mobile reader of some kind (e-ink or otherwise).

Just don't confuse the stream of data you can get from any website such as Yahoo - the same way you could from Reuters - with real news. I thought it was worth pointing it out.

Re:E-Readers (3, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | about 7 years ago | (#21008191)

The obvious is simply missed. Newspapers and other formats for distributing the current events is old by the time it's printed. Get a newspaper if you want yesterday's news.
Much of the stuff in papers (or at least the few proper newspapers that are still available here and there) is way beyond the one liners that passes for instant news nowadays.
I regularly read newspapers that are days old and never minded their lack of "freshness".

Apart from a few very specific things (maybe stock markets or the weather), freshness has no impact on the interest or validity of news.

Re:E-Readers (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#21006471)

Actually IMHO college textbooks are the LEAST likely place for ebooks to take off. College students like myself, being poor as we are, like to sell their books after their courses are done. There have been eBook initiative tried in some schools, but the lack of resale ability really killed it. I can get about 70% retail value for my books after I've used them, why would I pay something like 50% of the dead-tree price for something I can't sell later on?

Re:E-Readers (3, Interesting)

Andrew Aguecheek (767620) | about 7 years ago | (#21007609)

Depends on the subject. One of the most irritating things about being a law student is that by and large your books go out of date really fast. Almost every book from my undergraduate degree, which I only completed earlier this year, is now in a different edition. E-books would be really useful from our perspective. Not to mention the fact that libraries can only stock a limited number of journals and case-books.

Re:E-Readers (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | about 7 years ago | (#21008259)

I am currently a college student (Electrical Engineering).
I currently buy all of my books (and keep most of them), seeing as I am in my senior year.
I currently have electronic copies of more than half of my books (running around 80%).
I currently have electronic copies of ALL of my in-class materials (lectures are recorded for graduate-level classes, notes are PDF or PowerPoint format on-line, research papers are PDFs on-line, homework is written in and submitted in electronic format).
Many students around me take notes in electronic format (laptops or the fancy kind you can write on).

I think that e-books are just waiting to take off here.

Also, given the amount of piracy on campus, I would not think the re-sale value would come into question (or, indeed, the sale value).

Re:E-Readers (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | about 7 years ago | (#21008275)

I can get about 70% retail value for my books after I've used them, why would I pay something like 50% of the dead-tree price for something I can't sell later on?

But who says you would pay 50% for the digital format? Lots of e-books on your favourite torrent site. I have just about every physics and math text I've ever heard of in pdf or djvu format. If a student doesn't have an ethical problem with that then surely paying nothing for something they get to keep is better than paying 30% for something they don't. And then there's the weight benefit of these readers.

The only problem I have with these things is that you can't write on them like with a real book.

Re:E-Readers (1)

Tejin (818001) | about 7 years ago | (#21008301)

If we switch to PDFs we can finally get out of the scam that is university textbook pricing. If textbooks were priced rationally, students wouldn't be quite as poor. If you grab the textbook PDF off the iniversity's network share then you don't need to resell it.

Re:E-Readers (1)

IndieKid (1061106) | about 7 years ago | (#21008791)

I don't think textbooks are that overpriced. The market isn't as big as that for your average novel, and the quality of the paper and binding tends to be a lot higher as the book is likely to be re-read a lot more.

Your average [insert topic here] for Dummies or Learn [insert programming language here] in 21 days book is usually just as expensive as an average college textbook. Colleges tend to get discounts for course books too (at least my University over here in the UK used to) - of course that raises issues about whether the best books are being used as course texts or just the ones the college can get a discount on.

I think college books as eBooks are a good idea as long as they are priced appropriately (i.e. the price takes into account the reduced publishing and distribution costs). Personally I didn't re-sell any of my Computer Science course texts and I've found some of them useful over the years since I graduated. I didn't bother buying the ones I didn't think I'd use again and got them from the library as I needed them instead.

Re:E-Readers (2, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 7 years ago | (#21008369)

I can get about 70% retail value for my books after I've used them
Can I come visit your planet?

piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21008417)

I get 100% off college eBooks.

Re:E-Readers (3, Informative)

rthall (240128) | about 7 years ago | (#21008447)

I once got 17 cents for a textbook I paid $50 for.

If I had the choice, I would go e-book all the way.

E-piracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21007167)

"My main thought is that since it's by Sony it'll be drenched in poisonous DRM."

As opposed to the analog DRM that books presently enjoy. Yes one can copy books, but technology makes the copying of digital media much easier than analog.

"The only place ebooks have a decent chance of success is to replace the two tons of textbooks most schools require their students to carry. Otherwise it's hard to beat the convenience of Dead Tree Format."

As someone who had to move and give up a lot of books in the process. I'd say it's for more than just textbooks. Bibliophiles would enjoy the convenience of E-books and E-paper. The effects piracy will have on that dream remains to be seen.

sony is not the only option (2, Informative)

randuev (1032770) | about 7 years ago | (#21007445)

I personally own an ukranian Jinke Hanlin (http://www.jinke.com.cn/Compagesql/English/index.asp [jinke.com.cn] ) clone - Lbook (http://www.lbook.com.ua/ [lbook.com.ua] ).

I have two models, V8 - which doesn't have an OS and runs on Epson cpu and V3 - that runs LINUX and runs on ARM 200mhz processor.

Both are great. Both have MMC/SD card, no DRM. V3 can display PDF and DJVU files. Both have SDKs for you to tinker with. While V8 is very basic and you have to use ANSI C to code your things, V3 is somewhat more powerful.

Nevertheless, as a reader, I prefer V8, because it has cover built in and an additional small display :) and I do most of my reading in FB2 and TXT.

Other devices might be better (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21005785)

Rumors are flying around that Amazon is going to release their own e-ink device any day/week now. A version of it went through the FCC a while ago since it might have a wireless modem in it. It will probably be more expensive than the Sony, but might have the ability to download newspapers and magazines directly.

Bookeen is coming out with their own device any day now that's really similar to the Sony reader but will use different file formats. They all read RTF, TXT, etc... but if you want to buy a new book, it's likely to have DRM in the file. The DRM file format that the Sony uses is different from the DRM files that the Bookeen and Amazon Kindle will use.

The Iliad is bigger and can render letter size PDF files without the hassle of the smaller devices. It has wifi and a writable screen that you can take notes with... but it's supposed to be slower and more than twice as much money.

I want one really bad, but I'm waiting to see what Bookeen and Amazon finally release before I throw down my cash. Sure they're all kind of expensive, but you can load up with free classic books from Project Gutenberg and you'll save money in the long run (if you read a lot and are too lazy/busy to make trips to the library).

http://www.mobileread.com/ [mobileread.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/11/amazon-kindle-meet-amazons-e-book-reader/ [engadget.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/03/kindle-edition-books-appear-on-amazon-reader-launch-imminent/ [engadget.com]
http://www.bookeen.com/ [bookeen.com]
http://www.irextechnologies.com/ [irextechnologies.com]

Re:Other devices might be better (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 7 years ago | (#21006311)

I hope that's not it. That is one ugly beast. And what's the deal with all the buttons? Do they seriously expect people to want to type on a 1 hz display?

Re:Other devices might be better (2, Interesting)

Maximilianop (903017) | about 7 years ago | (#21006903)

Sure they're all kind of expensive, but you can load up with free classic books from Project Gutenberg and you'll save money in the long run (if you read a lot and are too lazy/busy to make trips to the library).
QFT, I'm a novels enthusiast but books costs, difficulty to take along and lazyness to go to the book stores makes me read one to two books a year tops, I don't read on a PC cause it really messes my eyes and I don't own a laptop.

I'm waiting for e-ink based devices to grow in popularity, include an optional back light for night reading as the ones I've seen don't come in such a flavor, and for virtual libraries becoming popular web 3.0 era e-businesses. Once all this happen (and we know the last one WILL happen), I will buy oneof this devices and be happier than kid in a candy store.

Re:E-Readers (2, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | about 7 years ago | (#21005835)

Sony's e-paper reader is a disaster, I looked at it at Fry's and couldn't force myself to like it. Ghosting, low contrast, and most unpleasant is the low speed of updates (about 1 second to flip the page, with awful flickering all the way.) It is also a single purpose reader, nothing more. I ended up buying a Sansung Q1 Ultra, it is not perfect but at least it is a usable tablet with a Windows OS so you can load stuff onto it, run Mozilla, do things (802.11 + Bluetooth) and in general I like it. The handwriting recognition is excellent, though it has a keyboard as well. Some say it's slow, but as long as it's not your primary gaming box you would be OK :-) A tablet has many uses, and speed is not needed for any of them (as long as it's fast enough to decode MP3s.)

Re:E-Readers (1)

Moonwick (6444) | about 7 years ago | (#21006045)

Have you thought for just a single moment that maybe you're not the target audience? Maybe not everyone needs a fucking web browser in every gadget they own.

Re:E-Readers (2, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | about 7 years ago | (#21006177)

I am the target audience. I read many books, I read every day. Many books are available on the Internet, so a browser is not a caprice, it is a necessity. Besides, right now I am reading a book on my Samsung tablet and also replying to you - so it is practical as well.

If you believe there is some other interest group that would favor e-books over paper, I can't find one. Every "normal" book reader would pick a paper book without thinking. That's what libraries have, right? Only a geek would choose an obscure electronic device for such a mundane use.

Re:E-Readers (1)

Maximilianop (903017) | about 7 years ago | (#21007289)

I am the target audience.
No, you're not. You are not interested in just reading a book. You are insterested in much more at the same time.

Have you taken into account the ecologic impact paper books have? or paper(even recycled) printed newspapers?
Any "normal" book reader as you said, with a little ecologic conscience would choose an electronic paper device, even those who just want to save money on the long run.

Also, you seem to expect a full grown product from a child technology (it's still in pretty early development).
I share your vision, on tablets being practical, just as much as any modern cellphone, blackberry, laptops, etc. But sometimes it's more comfortable a just for book reading device when you want to read a book.

Re:E-Readers (1)

JavaManJim (946878) | about 7 years ago | (#21006475)

I kind of agree in theory with tfip here. I have not seen an eReader but a couple of prototypes.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to meet the MIT team that developed eInk. At that time, I saw their little proof of concept device. It was a thin copper strip about four inches long and half an inch wide. Mounted on the strip were four or five square plastic covered blobs that enclosed the eInk ping pong type balls. The balls were half white and half black. There was soldering here and there around the copper strip. Again, not really a prototype but a test of concept.

Then four years ago, someone made a large eInk sign for JCPenney. A little further up the food chain to the prototype stage. This is probably the granddaddy of eReader. Here the little dots flipped quite nicely.

I am screen resolution driven. 170 DPI is great for a store sign (ignoring expenses) but hmm, for a book? I wonder what eyestrain might be after a couple of evenings spent eReading (posterity watch, first verb form of this? Naah.). Then is it possible to get 1200 dpi. Those are teeny tiny little ping pong balls there.

I think eInk technology is kind of neat. Neat in a kind of Luddite back to simplicity sense. Reflectivity is its strong point. It may occupy the same niche that those old flip digit alarm clocks used. Digit flip alarm clocks worked like a rotary Rolodex file except the outside face had numbers on it. Each number was a little plastic card that pulled up and over to reveal the next digit. Digit flip clocks were on a time-line approximately between Nixie tubes and later LED & neon based displays.

Thanks,
Jim

Re:E-Readers (1)

trenien (974611) | about 7 years ago | (#21007671)

I have one (first generation screen from E-Ink)

170 dpi, 6 inches.

The way it feels is incredible. Sure, the letters aren't as crisp as those you get from 600 dpi (and above) print. That said, you honestly have no strain reading it.

Overall, it feels like you're reading some kind of print out made on a plastic sheet.

Re:E-Readers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21005839)

> Does anyone own an E-Reader?

I don't, but I have an Nokia N800 that I use sometimes as an e-reader. The default reader software sucks, but there are some MUCH better ones available as open source. Battery life is excellent as long as you don't go wild with the display brightness - which means in effect, indoor use only.

It's shirt-pocket size, so there is always the tradeoff between "small enough to carry anywhere" and "big as a page". The n800 tends more towards the small-enough-for-shirt-pocket end of it. Oh, and it runs Linux :D, so in addition to e-reading you also get everything from bash to gnumeric.

Re:E-Readers (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 years ago | (#21005857)

I've heard good things about them, specifically the battery life. Does anyone own an E-Reader? I was thinking of getting Sony's. Any thoughts?


They're actually quite nice.

The e-paper screen is *beautiful*. The only thing you'll miss is a book light. It's very nice and contrasty (but more like black on a dull grey background), and the text isn't buried under glass, but appears on the surface, like real paper. It's a nice matte surface, so glare is a non-issue, and is extremely readable in all lighting conditions except pitch black (like a regular book).

The bad thing - if you want to use its internal memory, you need to use Sony's software (a poor imitation of iTunes). But luckily, it accepts Memory Stick and SD cards. Just plop in it text files, RTF, or PDF files onto your SD card and away you go (making this the OS agnostic way of using it - just need a card reader and external card). The other issue is ghosting - when the screen updates, the parts that were black don't return all the way to background color, but leaves an imprint. Not to worry - another refresh will fix it. Might be slightly irritating if the book lines alternate.

The other bad thing is when it needs to refresh the area - what happens is it inverts the entire screen, then writes the new image to it (in an effort to alleviate the ghosting).

But the screen is really nice, you can easily forget about such issues. Just remember the flashlight if reading beneath the covers.

Re:E-Readers (3, Informative)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#21006189)

The new model will show up as USB Mass Storage, so you can just plug it in and drag files across. No more Sony software.

Re:E-Readers (1)

NickCatal (865805) | about 7 years ago | (#21006241)

One thing that is worth highlighting is that the display looks absolutely fantastic. The new reader supposedly has a much faster refresh rate (I'm sure this will speed up even more over time) and it is very easy to read off of. It is somewhat nice not having to look at a bright backlit display to read books and such.

Look for a reb1100 (1)

Hecatonchires (231908) | about 7 years ago | (#21006393)

Best gadget I've ever bought. _SO_ good. Fictionwise have the rest of the stock and they've rebranded it, but its the same (awesome) device.

Mine has been a trooper (2, Interesting)

Calledor (859972) | about 7 years ago | (#21006435)

First of all the PDF functionality is non-existent despite the claims. However the .doc .txt translation is fan freakin tastic. Pictures are pretty crisp and the major bugs with it were patched. I imagine sony has some evil rootkit what have you on my computer, but quite honestly the program hasn't done anything I can think of as invasive, and other than being a little slow it's ok. Right now I have a slight gripe with the browsing ability on the reader itself when there are lots of books or documents on it. The ability to magnify documents and books is also really nice and it is really easy on the eyes. This is definitely still first gen hardware, so you can wait for better, but honestly this thing keeps me sane on train travel, airplanes, etc. I often just copy whole online articles, paste them in word, and then browse at my leisure on the go.

Re:E-Readers (2, Interesting)

supergnom (802002) | about 7 years ago | (#21007293)

I am a happy owner of an iRex iLiad, which has a fairly large display (8" vs the Sony's 6, 16 gray shades vs 4), and it is absolutely brilliant for reading. I used to read some books on a Sharp CL860, but the eInk is so much better on the eyes it's hard to describe. I can write on it, which makes it excellent for academic purposes - I read and make changes to quite a few papers and articles. And it is excellent for Sudoku solving. :-)

The sweetest thing though, is that it runs Linux and has an increasing amount of community applications. It uses GTK, so quite some apps have been ported, and several nice changes has been done to the in-house PDF viewer. Together with some scripts on a PC, the iLiad can wake up in the morning, download the newspapers off the WIFI for me and turn itself off.

Only bad thing (except for the steep price tag) is that the battery only lasts for about 10-12 hours on a charge, as they in one way or another managed to not make it able to suspend...

Re:E-Readers (1)

dedo_jozef (660189) | about 7 years ago | (#21007301)

I have an iRex iLiad (V2) and while the battery life is very, very bad (10-20 hours, but may be better in future if they get the kernel right), the display is the best I could wish for. It is bigger than Sony's (8" vs 6"), runs Linux, supports CF, MMC, SD cards, has wifi, ethernet and 2 USB slots and some internal memory also. A great device. Not cheap, though.

Re:E-Readers (2, Informative)

cafard (666342) | about 7 years ago | (#21007603)

I'm the happy owner of one. After years spent looking at e-books and never finding one whose functionality/price was good enough, i almost found the holy grail. Battery life is brilliant, though something like 10 times less than advertised (i think they advertise 7500 page turns of autonomy, and my experience is that i can read books up to 800 pages on a full charge).

On DRM, the reader's best supported format is the sony one (.lrf files), which provides the best rendering, and which *can* support a DRM layer. It also happens to be a trivial format that also works without embedded restrictions. Therefore, you can download many books from the Gutenberg project in unencumbered lrf format from Manybooks.net [manybooks.net] . You can also convert many document formats (txt, rtf, html, doc) to unencumbered lrf. PDF support is not good though, as most A4 formatted pdfs will be too small when read in portrait, and will require you to scroll when in landscape. Good enough if you really need to access a pdf from time to time, but there's no way you'll ever read a book that way.

Finally, on accessing the device, mine doesn't work as a usb mass storage device, and i don't know if that's going to happen in the next models (sure hope so, obviously). However, there's a cross-platform open source driver [kovidgoyal.net] available, which means that since i have the reader, i never had to use the crap software sony provides more than once, just to have a look. Never bothered again, and it doesn't run on my linux box anyway. That driver also comes with a GUI software, and many basic command line tools to access the device (cp, rm, ls etc), and to convert file formats (html2lrf being one of the most useful).

In the end, i really love that 'toy'. The hindrance of not having a backlight on the screen makes it more comfortable on the long run: no more visual fatigue than reading paper. The battery life is good, it is small enough to be carried comfortably (i'm looking at you iLiad), it can read most of the free books out there on the web. The main downside of course, is that you won't get access to the most recent books, as they're only sold with DRM, and usually not in Sony's format. Personally, i wasn't looking for that, so i'm fine, but this *is* a hindrance, and will be until ebook shops change their policies, which could take many years... Ah, and also, it's an ebook reader, nothing else. Well ok, it can display images and play mp3s, but that's really a waste of battery life. It doesn't browse the web, it has no wifi. It's only a book reader. But it's a damn good one.

it's really one word, (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | about 7 years ago | (#21005657)

the question of how electronic paper will change our lives in the next few years.

Two words: porn.

First Porn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21005751)

You missed a great opportunity, so I had to correct it for you. :)

Re:it's really one word, (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 7 years ago | (#21005959)

wait wait wait, come on...porn AND ads. Maybe even porn ads.

hip (0, Troll)

sh3l1 (981741) | about 7 years ago | (#21005669)

personally, i'm really interested in this whole e-paper movement, whatever it is. It has an e at the front so it's hip.

One Question (4, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 7 years ago | (#21005677)

Can I still write on it?

Re:One Question (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 7 years ago | (#21005831)

Can I still write on it?
Of course you can! But I'm afraid James Spader beat you to it in the first Stargate movie.

Re:One Question (4, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#21006219)

Yes, but it costs a bit [irextechnologies.com] more.

I want some... (0, Offtopic)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 7 years ago | (#21005679)

...electronic rolling paper. Maybe some electronic hits while I'm at it. Creepy, it's been years since I've seen stamps dancing on their own...

Well, (5, Funny)

K.os023 (1093385) | about 7 years ago | (#21005727)

From TFA:

Q: When do you predict we will see the real e-paper revolution?

A: It has already started but will become a real mass market in about 2012.


So that 's what the Mayans were worried about!

Re: Well, (1)

Maximilianop (903017) | about 7 years ago | (#21007469)

From 2012 predicted and scheduled events [wikipedia.org]

February 6 -- If she is still on the throne, Elizabeth II will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. A series of festivities across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations will likely run throughout the year.
There won't be enough e-ink to fill in that many billboards.

May 20 -- Annular solar eclipse, a Sunday.
Batteries won't suffice to let us read that day.

October 19 -- at 1:36 UTC, the Earth will be home to 7 billion people, according to the US Census Bureau.
7 billion people will mean 7 billion readers... come on, Dead Tree Format won't suffice.

November 13 -- Total solar eclipse (visible in northern Australia and the South Pacific).
Good luck I'm in South Atlantic, I'll be able to keep reading.

December 21 -- The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, notably used by the Maya civilization among others of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, completes its thirteenth b'ak'tun cycle since the calendar's mythical starting point (equivalent to 3114 BC August 11 in the proleptic Gregorian calendar, according to the "GMT-correlation" JDN= 584283).[7] The Long Count b'ak'tun date of this starting point (13.0.0.0.0) is repeated, for the first time in a span of approximately 5,125 solar years. The significance of this period-ending to the pre-Columbian Maya themselves is unclear, and there is an incomplete inscription (Tortuguero Stela 6) that records this date. It is also to be found carved on the walls of the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque, where it functions as a base date from which other dates are computed.[8] However, it is conjectured that this may represent in the Maya belief system a transition from the current Creation world into the next. The December solstice for 2012 also occurs on this day.
Yep, they were right... no more ink over paper just flipping ping pong balls from now on.
Based on the Bible being the first mass printed book, it will be a total new era.

# December 23 -- The alternative date for the completion of the thirteenth b'ak'tun cycle in the Maya calendar, using a version of the GMT-correlation based on a JDN of 584285 (a.k.a. the "Lounsbury correlation"), which is supported by a smaller number of Mayanist researchers.[9]
Also, my 30th birthday. Of course it's the most important fact.

Can't be had by mortals. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | about 7 years ago | (#21007743)

Having recently tried to find a company that could sell me any economical form of electronic paper I can tell you it's damn near impossible. I had a special project I wanted to use it in. I didn't need color or high resolution. I just needed a really cheap, low power, thin, flexible, screen. The best response I got offered me a tiny bit of paper for around $3500. Hardly the stuff they could be making cereal boxes out of. *sighs*

Re:Can't be had by mortals. (1)

smallfries (601545) | about 7 years ago | (#21008153)

Yeah the prototype kits are pricey. I've wanted to play with some of these panels for a while, but not at the current prices. If you go to E-Ink's website and follow the links through to the store they have kits with the 5/6" screen for $2000!! and the 8/9" screen for $4000.

Not quite as pervasive as paper just yet...

at least 5 years away (2, Insightful)

vlk (775733) | about 7 years ago | (#21005733)

When the display can be folded and put into a pocket, when I am able to read all of it on a single charge, when I can effortlessly pull down background info from varied sources - let me know, I'll be buy 10 of them.

Re:at least 5 years away (1)

cjp (624694) | about 7 years ago | (#21006305)

They're already very low power usage, since epaper only uses power when changing the display - there's no passive power usage. Define "effortlessly"? Copying your text onto a flash card is pretty slow effort. Hanging out for foldable, for sure.

Re:at least 5 years away (1)

vlk (775733) | about 7 years ago | (#21006699)

Foldable is pretty important though - it's one of the most convenient qualities of paper. Otherwise, you have a stripped-down PDA, no matter what the marketing department says.

"Effortlessly" for me would have to involve some sort of wireless, and, being USA-centric here, the only *currently* reasonable solution is Ev-Do. Which is a pig relative to power, though Wi-Max or municipal Wi-Fi (yeah, right) are even worse (and have another fatal flaw in that they don't exist).

Re:at least 5 years away (2, Interesting)

cjp (624694) | about 7 years ago | (#21006781)

I was envisaging something with the same reading qualities as a book, not the same qualities as a piece of paper. So something that folds once to fit in a (large) pocket, opens up to the same dimensions as a paperback, has switches for page flipping or whatever. Maybe I'm married to the past and have to move beyond the book paradigm, I don't know :) Wireless for the win, I guess. I just carry USB to mini-USB cables everywhere though, which has the added advantage of charging the device while I'm transferring.

bookster.com (1)

Damon Tog (245418) | about 7 years ago | (#21005745)

I see that bookster.com is already register. Even the pirates are planning ahead.

Hopefully, this copyright/piracy controversy will be straightened out by 2012, or authors will be joining musicians in the welfare lines of Tomorrow.

Re:bookster.com (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21005875)

Because musicians are hurt so much by piracy. Oh wait, no they're not. The small ones freely allow others to copy and distribute their music while the big ones are still making more then enough to support their coke habits. Guess authors don't have so much to worry about then.

BSter.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21007259)

"Because musicians are hurt so much by piracy. "

It's not about "hurt", but loss of trust and respect. That "hurts" enough.

"Oh wait, no they're not"

No one here has been able to conclusively prove that it benefits either.

"The small ones freely allow others to copy and distribute their music while the big ones are still making more then enough to support their coke habits."

Piracy is based upon "lack of permission". The big one's have a big stick and lots of padding that the small guy doesn't.

"Guess authors don't have so much to worry about then."

If an author decided to go into another line of work due to piracy?* Then everyone should worry instead of assuming that authors like being treated the way piracy treats them and they will continue to accept it no matter what.

*Much like a FOSS author no longer writing due to repeated license violations with a "whack a mole" attitude public.

Re:BSter.com (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21007979)

Piracy is based upon "lack of permission". The big one's have a big stick and lots of padding that the small guy doesn't.
And yet its the big ones that don't allow distribution via p2p and bittorrent while the small ones do. It seems like this big stick and padding only lets them bully their fans.

If an author decided to go into another line of work due to piracy?
How many times has this happened to musicians? I'd certainly love to hear it.

Re:bookster.com (1)

benow (671946) | about 7 years ago | (#21005955)

Yeah, cause we all know how dynamic and personally relevant the financial system is. I hope a trust based barter system emerges so we can rid ourselves of negative reinforcement backed, centralized (corruptable), bottlenecked, legacy systems. Piracy is a the death cry of scams that have been routed around... this too shall pass. The treasured will always be rewarded, in one form or another.

Re:bookster.com (1)

Damon Tog (245418) | about 7 years ago | (#21006387)

"a trust based barter"

Don't we already have this? Isn't this the point of currency?

Fragility (1)

Merovign (557032) | about 7 years ago | (#21005787)

I think durability will be the biggest problem.

People are rough with things. Especially students, one of the ideal user groups for this kind of thing.

The low-power portion is desirable, but my guess is that most of these things will end up in frames.

Re:Fragility (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 7 years ago | (#21006039)

If you make them inexpensive enough, I'm sure its a good tradeoff. Besides, this time we only need to replace that single paper, the data is tucked somewhere safe unlike ordinary paper where the data is destroyed with the paper.

But I still like to brag my game manuals or books around though. You see books are not only meant for reading. If one thinks of it as only a reading material, I believe that person had never owned a book. (Cue: Internation Space Station moisture problem :D )

Giveaways (1)

Merovign (557032) | about 7 years ago | (#21005805)

Oh, and if, as is mentioned in the article, they have some sort of promotional giveaway of e-paper with ads/slogans etc... grab one quick!

They'll stop giving them away when a "hack" appears online to add battery life, memory, rewrite the OS, etc. :)

I don't know... (4, Interesting)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | about 7 years ago | (#21005893)

I'm actually not sure that stable-image type displays (what I would generically consider e-paper) are going to be the first widespread paper-replacement. As nice as their low power consumption is, their bit depth, color, contrast, and refresh rate are all horrible at the moment. And while they are certainly improving in those areas, things like LCDs and OLEDs are improving in power consumption and form factor as well.

I came to this realization when I looked at the new 505 revision of the Sony Reader's marketing, and it occurred to me that I'd rather get an iPod touch. Recharging every few days instead of every few months is a sacrifice I'd be willing to make for real web content and video (while Sony could probably put some sort of basic very-static web browser on it's reader despite the display's low refresh rate if they wanted to support HTML, video and quick interactivity are going to be out of the question until there are fairly major changes in the display technology). And, as more and more content moves online, from static paper to dynamic computer screens, moving content is only getting more prevalent (rollovers, pull-down menus, AJAX widgets of all sorts, and even content in flash and other plug-ins)...

I kind of suspect that e-paper has missed the window where it could have widely succeeded with a refresh rate measured in seconds rather than milliseconds. Stable-image type displays may have to get their refresh rates down into the low-double-digit milliseconds (and coincidentally gain high bit depth color and decent contrast) before they can take on to the mainstream.

Re:I don't know... (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#21006165)

Really? Then you don't read. The Sony Reader's screen is 100x better than an iPod for reading something like a book.

The Sony screen is 6.9" x 3.9", whereas the iPod Touch's is like 3.5" x 2.2" -- not even close. Add to that it is usable in full, direct sunlight and has an almost 180 degree viewing angle and much higher contrast ratio and for READING, not browsing, ePaper blows the iPod (and iPhone) out of the water.

Screw web content. Believe it or not there are people with attention spans not defined by MTV. Try a few of these [literature.org] on the iPod Touch and then the Sony, then get back to me.

Totally different targets.

Re:I don't know... (1)

m2943 (1140797) | about 7 years ago | (#21007151)

I read a lot on mobile devices and I find that screen size and screen resolution makes little difference for reading literature; they are only important for diagrams or reference works.

In fact, what matters most for reading is that the device is pocketable, and a small screen device is far superior to imitation books.

Re:I don't know... (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 7 years ago | (#21007831)

That doesn't seem right. My experience is that if the screen is twice as big, one only needs to press the scroll button half as often. There's nothing more annoying than trying to read a novel while pressing a button each time one has read 5 or 10 lines of text. It's an optimization between portability factor and annoyance. There's a reason books come in standardized sizes.

It's called e-paper for a reason. (3, Insightful)

Gadzinka (256729) | about 7 years ago | (#21006511)

You missed the point. E-paper as the name implies isn't a replacement for computer screens. It's a replacement for a printed paper as in newspapers and books. Most of the people still get their knowledge from dead trees and e-paper for them is more or less just like paper, only better, since you can "print" on it many times.

I am an avid ebook reader using Palms for the purpose for years, but as soon as I can get an e-paper reader without stupid limitations at a reasonable price (which for me is anything south of 250eur), I'll go that route. I mean, that would be the best of both world: paper book with the ability to (non-destructivelly) bookmark, annotate, search, copy text at will.

Robert

Re:I don't know... (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 years ago | (#21006711)

There are two significant advantages to epaper that LCDs and OLED's simply cannot match.

One, epaper is a reflective technology, rather than emmissive, so the brighter the area in which one views it the better (just like a book).

Two, epaper draws no power whatsoever to maintain a static display, none, zero, zilch. It only requires power to update the display. Once changed to what is desired, the power source could be disconnected entirely and the last image stored on the display would remain. No powered display technology can top that.

Refresh rate is not a huge issue for epaper, as long as it is geared towards displaying content that is relatively static.

So the biggest problems with the technology are just poor resolution and the price for color displays. Even more unfortunately, these areas do not seem to be improving at a promising rate.

Who cares? (2, Insightful)

bm_luethke (253362) | about 7 years ago | (#21006727)

Other than a specific crowd that will purchase anything neat (and I am very much in that group) who cares about any of those issue?

To largely replace paper books we need a minimum of large size, lots of contrast, rugged construction, light weight, and generally usable anywhere for long periods of time. We are no where *near* that. Add in cost and being able to make marks on it being a requirement for many applications and we have some real issues.

Size, rugged, and battery life do not go together. I need something I can carry in my car, backpack, or just mostly leave lying around and not have it break or get scratched to the point of unusable. I need to be able to expect to take it to most places I go and have it work *and* be readable at the same time - having to have it plugged up every 10 hours is, in many cases, unacceptable.

That is only concerning replacing books, let alone paper. Can I fold it and stick it in my pocket? Will I care if I happen to destroy it? If I can't stick it in my pocket what good does it do me? If I can't carry it in any place other than carefully controlled environments due to its cost - again what good does it do me? Heck, if I can not make a note and give it to someone else that doesn't have one what good does it do me? Everyone on the planet isn't going to carry around their e-paper (which can not be folded, carried in their pocket, exposed to water, exposed to much shock, exposed to high/low temperatures, and all the other things any current or foreseeable future technology has to offer).

E-paper has not come close to its window - it hasn't even come close to the point that most people would seriously look at it. Heck, even the totally made up stuff we saw in Star Trek didn't really replace paper books, let alone paper. That's not to say it will not happen (I think it will), but anything I have remotely seen companies working on do not come close to meeting the requirements to replace paper. They are trying to force books/paper into existing technology and technological paradigms instead of trying to make electronics work like books/paper.

Re:I don't know... (1)

battjt (9342) | about 7 years ago | (#21008787)

I'm ignorant of most of what you describe, but bit depth?! Newspapers are 1 bit. The original NeXT was 2 bit gray and beautiful. Looking at my screen right now, the only color is in my RSS icons, the scroll bar and just a few other hot controls. I remember that making the jump from 2 bit gray on the NeXT to 24 bit color wasn't nearly as useful as we thought it would be. The first time someone showed me a color NeXT and said "Look!", I couldn't figure out what was different.

I thought these epaper devices are reflective and of very high resolution. I would think that those benefits would compensate for a low bit depth.

I'm surprise that today, the low refresh rate is a big deal. Must the device refresh the whole screen? Can it just update changes and if so, does it keep up with typing? Most of what I do is text (code and terminals). A portable device with a reflective screen would let me work as a passenger in a car on a sunny day or at the ball diamond during my son's ball practice.

Joe

Price (2, Interesting)

Fengpost (907072) | about 7 years ago | (#21005897)

The Sony's PRS-505 is at $299. I will wait until the price drop to 199. I have seen the epaper made from E Ink, it is very easy on the eyes and the latest Sony ebook has made a significant advancement in the refresh rate.

There are tons of copy right expired content online. I can't wait to curl up on the couch and read a good classic novel.

Re:Price (1)

clickety6 (141178) | about 7 years ago | (#21008413)

here are tons of copy right expired content online. I can't wait to curl up on the couch and read a good classic novel.

Go to Amazon and check out something like Dover Thrift editions and for your $199 you could have around 80 - 100 good classic novels right now to curl up with.

The Pros and Cons of Epaper (2, Insightful)

billy901 (1158761) | about 7 years ago | (#21005915)

I don't think epaper will make a huge difference in our life in the years to come. The biggest reason is that it's overpriced. A laptop is a good example. Laptops go from $400 to thousands. On the upside, they will save you money after you have used at least 400000 (four hundred thousand) sheets of paper roughly. It is also more environmentally friendly and efficient. Not to mention more organized and smaller! However you've also got battery life... It works just as well without the price and no batteries required. If you could make some sort of pocket book that had an easy input method such as a widely sold stylus and a battery life lasting at least 200 hours on full power. I think for now I will stick with good old fashioned paper.

Re:The Pros and Cons of Epaper (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 7 years ago | (#21006357)

We already have that, it's called a Palm IIIe. It's smaller, more organized, has great battery life, oh and it has some sort of widely sold stylus type input device. Just don't drop it.

It is also more environmentally friendly and efficient. Not to mention more organized and smaller! However you've also got battery life... It works just as well without the price and no batteries required. If you could make some sort of pocket book that had an easy input method such as a widely sold stylus and a battery life lasting at least 200 hours on full power.

Re:The Pros and Cons of Epaper (1)

Verte (1053342) | about 7 years ago | (#21007125)

they will save you money after you have used at least 400000 (four hundred thousand) sheets of paper roughly
Unless you get some monetary benefit out of having several hundred pieces of paper organised and indexable. Having all your documents neatly stored and easy to carry around could make this electronic paper pay for itself.

Gimmie it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21006001)

Quit telling me when it's coming, gimmie it now.

Dropping E Paper (1)

jflo (1151079) | about 7 years ago | (#21006101)

Personally, I am waiting for Sony to release their clear plastic imaging technology for this purpose. I believe that once the Japs get their DRM controls a little more liberal, then all of can start making leaps past the wet dreams of an iPhone.

Backwards (2, Interesting)

rgaginol (950787) | about 7 years ago | (#21006249)

Great, we've managed to replicate yet another crappy input device which is still many levels below direct neural interfacing. Seriously, we're almost 2010... c'mon guys, I'm not lashing out until the Logitech (TM) Direct Neural (TM) connection hits the shelves. And cerebral subprocessors... I mean, I'm still trying to do maths with my woefully inadequate brain - and why can't I use Google by thinking about it??

People from 20 years in the future will laugh at us for our crappy IO devices. Still, they'll all be wearing badly done external implants. Now the people of 100 years in the future with internal bio-processor implants, I'm really jealous of.

e-Paper is like Linux on the desktop (1)

tsa (15680) | about 7 years ago | (#21006725)

I've heard about e-paper and the way it's going to revolutionize our lives for about 5 years now. I've never seen one device that has it, and I've only heard about this Sony thingy so far. If this stuff was really so good other manufacturers should have embraced it by now and we should have a hard time avoiding it, no? For me e-paper is just like Linux on the desktop: always just around the corner.

Re:e-Paper is like Linux on the desktop (1)

MythMoth (73648) | about 7 years ago | (#21007275)

I don't really understand why the Sony Reader isn't more popular. It's infinitely nicer reading text on the reader than it is trying to read it on a laptop. You can use the reader outside in direct sunlight and the screen is clearer than in dim lighting conditions. And unlike a paperback (otherwise the superior medium) you can carry thousands (literally) of texts in a pocket and still move.

I own one and use it constantly for reading project Gutenberg texts (pre rendered for the device and downloaded from http://www.mobileread.com/ [mobileread.com] and http://manybooks.net/ [manybooks.net] ). Like any early generation device, it has some rough spots, but none of them seem sufficient to explain its relative unpopularity.

For me it would attain perfection if O'Reilly integrated it with their Safari online technical catalogue so that I could replace my physical technical bookshelf (now approaching critical mass) with something a little more portable.

Re:e-Paper is like Linux on the desktop (1)

elp (45629) | about 7 years ago | (#21008205)

I also don't understand why the demand for ebook readers aren't higher. I'm going to get one as soon as they arrive in my country (they are still too new and expensive for me to take the risk importing from the states).

I think that long term epaper readers will really boost the publishing industry. Lower costs means lower prices = more sales= more incentive to publish more books. Also the barrier to publishing a book will plummet which means more books will get published.

As much as I love dead tree books, I'll happily switch to ebooks if they are cheaper and I can lie in bed or on a hammock in the middle of the bush and still read. In my day job I'm forever using reference books which are a pain to use in ebook format if they take up the same screen space that I'm busy working on, and dead tree can REALLY waste desktop space. The size of the actual reader isn't that critical, I even think the bigger the screen the better for the most part. No one complains about the size of the latest chunky bestseller or the size of a reference book.

Well, it might (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 7 years ago | (#21006973)

Change our lives in the next few years (hey that is what the article says, blame the editors)? Might be tricky, since we don't actually have e-paper available right now, and no clear date when it will be either, how exactly is it going to chance our lives?

THE BLOODY STUFF DOESN'T EXIST YET.

I am sure a cure for cancer will change our lives, but it doesn't exist yet, so it won't be in the next few years.

Real paper is incredibily cheap and can be easily recycled, do we really want to replace it with something that is more expensive, and can't? I for one can't really see the benefit of having e-paper used to package my groceries.

As for e-books, well we all know how well those worked right? The problem is simple, the readers just ain't books (too expensive and well just not books) and the contents are too fucking expensive. Just because we pay a premium for paperbacks does not mean we will pay the same for a tiny amount of data.

Books unlike say CD's got tremendous extra value for some reason. Maybe it is because most bookstores don't blast our ears with crap music that the idiot behind the counter happens to like, and most bookstores actually bother to hire people who like their job. I like going to my local bookstore, the musicstore BAH.

Simply put the problem is that we don't "mind" the price we pay for our fiction right now. Especially since the alternatives ain't realistically priced. Uploading less then 1/10 of a MB to me does NOT inspire me to pay EXACTLY the same amount, if not MORE then for the dead-tree version. Why yes, I do think the Apple is ripping people off with iTunes, why do you ask?

I can see the costs of producing a dead-tree copy I buy in a brick&mortar store, I can't see them in e-book websites. WHERE ARE THE HUGE SAVINGS GOING? Savings in having to print books, stock them, distribute them, stock them again, take unsold copies back, etc etc. WHO IS RAKING IN THE CASH? Wanna bet it ain't the author?

So I am left with a very expensive reader, that can't stand being wet, or being sat on or having the cat sleep on it (my cat is a bit old and sometimes wakes up a bit too late), I don't think bleaching the wet spot works well on electronics) that if I forget it, I am out NOT just the reader but ALSO the collection of books, so I have to rebuy them at EXACTLY the same price as the dead-tree versions.

LOWER THE GODDAMN PRICE! That is when e-paper will change our lives.

The only way I can see this taking off is combined with the move to make textbooks freely available. Give each student an ebook reader, publish the textbooks online for free and voila, huge savings to education.

But if e-books continue to be sold at 20 bucks for fiction, then no, it won't take off.

Re:Well, it might (1)

Maximilianop (903017) | about 7 years ago | (#21007727)

THE BLOODY STUFF DOESN'T EXIST YET. Yes it does, a few products are already out there.

I for one can't really see the benefit of having e-paper used to package my groceries.
Have you thought of taking your own bag to the store? maybe a ecologic one?

Just because we pay a premium for paperbacks does not mean we will pay the same for a tiny amount of data.
I totally agree with you on this one.

Books unlike say CD's got tremendous extra value for some reason. Maybe it is because most bookstores don't blast our ears with crap music that the idiot behind the counter happens to like, and most bookstores actually bother to hire people who like their job. I like going to my local bookstore, the musicstore BAH.
Forget it, non consumables stores are in for fast disappearing.

WHO IS RAKING IN THE CASH? Wanna bet it ain't the author?
I will bet you, and win.
How many Authors do you know who has the printing facilities, warehousing, distribution and publicity logistics for mass selling books? It's the Editorial the one ranking up the cash. Maybe the author will see a little increase in his royalties, but pretty much sure it will be VEEERY little.
I agree with you, if they save this much money... I wanna save it too.

LOWER THE GODDAMN PRICE!
third time is the charm, So I'm quoting your price rants for the third time :D

e-voting? (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 7 years ago | (#21007023)

So in the future, we can have e-voting machines which leaves an e-paper trail for accountability!

Laptop E-Papper (1)

XavidX (1117783) | about 7 years ago | (#21007055)

The prefect situation for me would be to have a e-paper module added to the top of a small laptop lid. That way i can read any documentation off the back of the laptop without having to even turn it on. You can cache emails, webpages or anything that you need to read from the laptop while its on and read it later from the lid.

sweet. I'm gonna love this e-papper era.

We've heard this before and it means.... (2, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | about 7 years ago | (#21007081)

... we are going to cut down even more trees...

I'm not a tree hugger as trees are just crops that take monger to harvest, but the point is clear.

Fire (1)

hernyo (770695) | about 7 years ago | (#21007295)

I bet you won't be able to light a campfire with your e-paper.

Another Reader (1)

CMan0 (191677) | about 7 years ago | (#21007353)

There is another Reader [lbook.ru] on the market, though it's much less famous. I can't find an English page about it. But it's cheaper than the Sony PRS.
And a review says its functionality is also better. Unfortunately the review [exler.ru] is also in Russian

Re:Another Reader (1)

tryfan (235825) | about 7 years ago | (#21007499)

> And a review says its functionality is also better.
> Unfortunately the review is also in Russian

No problem - BabelFish makes it perfectly clear:

"1. In one electronic chitalke can be stored although entire Leninist library".

Anything else you wonder about?

waiting for ePaper....... (1)

bukuman (1129741) | about 7 years ago | (#21007587)

ePaper etc always seem 'just around the corner' - until then a cell phone works great as a book reader. The screen is 'not perfect' but the ubiquity sure is.

Stuff e-books, I want e-wallpaper! (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#21007909)

Seriously. With e-wallpaper I could change the entire look of my house without having to pay decorators, move furniture or get paint/wallpaper paste all over the carpets.

With the added bonus that if I don't like how it looks, I'm not stuck with it until I can afford the time/money to do it again.

e-face (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 7 years ago | (#21008025)

this world needs it. or the cheapo version, d-face.

We won't know if this technology wins out until... (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 7 years ago | (#21007913)

,,,somebody invents electronic rocks and electronic scissors.

"epaper" == "Polavision" (3, Interesting)

knorthern knight (513660) | about 7 years ago | (#21007971)

Just as VCRs were starting to take off, Polaroid launched "Polavision" [wikipatents.com] . It was a moviecam that used a one-shot film cartridge that produced rather grainy movies. Polaroid always compared the low-cost moviecam against $2500 VHS moviecams. Main problem... the 10-minute film cartridges were damn expensive. By the time you bought enough 10-minute cartridges to equal a 2-hour VHS cassette, you'd spend more on the cartridges than the cost of the $2500 moviecam... ouch. AND THE VHS CASSETTE COULD BE ERASED AND RE-USED, while the Polavision cartridges were one-shot devices, like 8mm and "Super-8" film. Polavision was intended as a competitor to 8mm and "Super-8". 8mm and Super-8 were anihilated by VHS moviecams, and Polavision also fell victim to VHS moviecams.

Fast-forward several years. "Browsing devices" are the "VHS moviecams" to epaper's version of Polavision. Before anyone starts ranting against web-browsers, let me point out...
  1. the ORIGINAL web, as developed at CERN, was text-only with browsers like lynx
  2. you can read files on your local drive with Firefox or IE or Lynx
Note that I said "browsing devices", not PDAs, or micro-laptops. I think that cellphones with browsers are going to be far more of an epaper-killer than laptops...
  • there are a lot more people already lugging around cellphones/smartphones than will ever buy single-purpose "ebook readers"
  • many cellphones/smartphones already have browsers built-in
Which do you think the average person WHO IS ALREADY LUGGING AROUND A CELLPHONE/SMARTPHONE more likely to do for casual reading...
  • buy yet another $200 device that they have to lug around, or
  • use the cellphone/smartphone THEY'VE ALREADY PAID FOR AND THEY'RE ALREADY LUGGING AROUND to accomplish the same task
In a world where cellphones/smartphones/PDAs do not exist, a $200 stand-alone "ebook-reader" might have a market. In today's world, fuggedaboutit. Most people will end up sticking a USB stick into a cellphone/smartphone/PDA and reading text directly with their browser. Verizon subscribers, however, will find that their cellphones are crippled, and they have to upload the file to their account, and Verizon will charge them by the kbyte for the uploads.
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