Bye-bye Kindle, E-reader Screens Coming for Netbooks

The snippet below is taken from an article on PC World

Netbook makers will soon play a larger role in the e-reader market if start-up Pixel Qi has anything to say about it.

The first Pixel Qi product, called 3qi, is a 10.1-inch netbook screen designed to work in three modes: a black-and-white e-ink mode for reading text documents and e-books, and two color modes, designed for use indoors or in bright sunlight, that are more suitable for Web surfing and video playback.

E-ink mode extends battery life by shutting off the backlight, and is intended for reading e-books, documents, Web sites or blogs and other text-based material.

more info:
Pixel QI Blog
Pixel QI
PC World

Kindle for iPhone

aha looks like Amazon are playing both sides of the fence, they said they’d offer the Kindle services in non-Kindle devices, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be so soon.

The iPhone app is free, so saves you forking out $360 for a Kindle, it can access all of the eBook content available on Amazon (although strangely you cannot do this through the application itself, you have to use the web browser), the application then copies the files from your account. A terrific feature named Whispersync, keeps your current location in a book in sync with the Amazon servers,  so those that own a Kindle can keep both in sync, including notes. Unfortunately it only reads Amazon’s proprietary formats and is limited to North America, but without having to worry about a hardware distribution chain for the iPhone app, this may be a simple way for Amazon to spread their Kindle market share worldwide, let’s hope so!

more info here:

Google
Washington Post
CNET
Mac World
PC World

The Kindle 2 vs Google Books

So what’s changed with the Kindle?

It’s thinner (thinner than an iPhone!), it’s has more memory, a 25% longer battery life, it can read to you (as long as you don’t mind Steven Hawkins or his twin sister reading to you that is) and thankfully, it doesn’t look like it was made in the 1980′s anymore.

What hasn’t changed. It still costs $359, it’s still only available in the USA, it’s still locked to a limited proprietary file format, it’s still tied to a wireless only subscription service.

Then Google come along and launch their GoogleBooks portal. Which if I’m honest is a library of 1.5 million copyright free books or documents that very few will actually read. It’s a bit of a half arsed attempt if you ask me. Books that have been scanned and converted to long bitmaps that you scroll through on your iPhone or Android Phone (ensure you’re on an unlimited data service, as bitmaps are much larger than free flowing text). From a user’s perspective the entire interface, search & delivery is appalling, something you’d expect from a DIY web enthusiast, not one of the world’s leading software development companies.

So all in all a disappointing day. Amazon haven’t given us much except a thinner better looking Kindle, while Google has released a service that is shockingly bad to say the least. Which is strange, as the eBook Reader market is potentially huge, yet neither of these mammoth companies seem ready to cash in on it. Granted Google doesn’t have a hardware offering to worry about, for them it’s content driven, but content nobody wants isn’t going to attract users. Amazon have hardware margins to recoup and make a slice from each book sold or newspaper subscription, but they’re not exactly pushing the envelope, they’re simply staying one step ahead of Sony.

Rather than strangle holding the Kindle with their wireless network & closed file format, they should open it up so users can also put their own content on the device. I know they’re trying to hold onto and control the subscription services, but that’s a very shortsighted approach, they won’t be able to hold onto that for long.

I guess we’ll have to launch our no paper services earlier than anticipated, that might rock the boat a little!

Various News snippets:
Telegraph: Kindle 2
Times online

Tech radar

Google put 1.5 Million books in reach of your iphone

Google Books

Amazon to reKindle it’s love affair with eBooks

Well it’s not exactly new news, but in case you’ve missed it, it would appear that on Monday 9th, Amazon will eventually announce the Kindle 2, whether they announce the much rumoured free “premium subscription” Kindle is anyone’s guess.

For more info, ahem, “rumours”, check out the links below.

Engadget:
Amazon to host press event at library, innocently whistling when asked about Kindle 2

Citigroup analyst says 500,000 Kindles were sold in 2008

Appleinsider:
Amazon rumoured to introduce Kindle 2 next Monday

Boy Genius Report:
Amazon Kindle 2 may be coming on February 9th

image from Boy Genius Report

There’s more to eBooks than Books!

Here’s an interesting snippet of news, Verizon is looking for eBook Reader partners for it’s Open Development program. This approach would of course take Amazon’s Kindle head on, which is great news for consumers everywhere, but there’s a comment at the end asking can anyone take on Amazon, as they have existing relationships with publishers, but I don’t think that’s a problem.

I don’t see the future of eBook Readers as simply devices that hold numerous published books, that’s a tiny market compared to blogs, news, internal company files & manuscripts. Having a device that can remotely connect and download the latest files off your company servers or collate the news for you from your preferred news networks etc when you’re on the road is a great asset. eBook-Readers will be the mainstay for the business traveler, road warrior or remote technician/support staff, that requires up to date information on a device which batteries won’t run out after only a few hours!

Forget literature & published books, think information, think unpublished content, think business documents, think data retrieval, think user generated content, think open formats, think free content! It’s estimated we read 10 times as much business documentation than we do compared to books for leisure, so Amazon may have relationships with book publishers but there’s a huge untapped market out there waiting to be accessed!

Foxit eSlick Reader Announced

Foxit Software announced today that it will be selling it’s very own branded eBook Reader, the eSlick Reader for the amazingly low introductory price of only $229.99 (then $259.99), which is incredible when compared to Sony’s eReader $399 and Amazon’s Kindle $359.

The eSlick has a 6 inch, 600×800 pixel screen, which uses the same display technology as the Kindle as supplied by E Ink Corporation. The unit weights just 6.4 ounces (180g) and is only 0.4 inches thick (9.2mm). It has 128meg of memory, capapble of holding hundreds of books, with a battery life of over 8,000 page turns.

The eSlick is expected to ship in 5-7 weeks, but unfortunately will only be available within the US.

For more details visit Foxit Software

World’s First Five-Inch eBook Reader

BEIJING, Nov 03, 2008, Hanvon announces a new slim 5 inch e-ink eBook Reader. The device includes 1Gig of internal memory capable of storing hundreds of books & documents, mini USB connection, MP3 audio playback and allows text input for note taking. The Hanvon N510 Supports TXT, HTML, PNG, JPG, PDF, XEB, CEB, MP3, MTXT formats on its 167 PPI, SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) electronic paper display and will retail for $295.

further details here (Wall Street Journal)
Hanvon website (NB: link is in Chinese)

Next Gen eReaders Arrive

Copied from Forbes.com the full article here

Amazon’s Kindle was fun. Now it’s time for electronic readers to get to work.

On Monday, Netherlands-based iRex Technologies is slated to unveil the iRex Reader 1000, the first in a wave of e-reader devices that promise bigger screens and improved interfaces and functionality. And unlike Kindle or Sony’s Reader, this second generation of e-readers aims to bring innovative E-ink display technology to the more demanding, and possibly more lucrative, world of business.

The iRex Reader 1000 offers a 10.2-inch diagonal E-Inkscreen, far larger than Kindle’s 6-inch screen or even iRex’s own 8.1-inch diagonal iLiad, its last e-book model. That stretched display is designed to work with any file format, be it an e-book, a full-sized PDF, a Word document or HTML. Like earlier iRex devices, it sports a stylus and touch screen for taking notes and marking documents.


Engadget’s take

Plus Sony Launching reader refresh next month