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.
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!
Fujitsu Ltd are testing coloured ePaper readers in a cafe in Japan.
Customers of “Termina Kinshicho Fujiya Restaurant” can pick up the terminals equipped with a color electronic paper module on the tables and browse newspapers and advertisements wirelessly sent to the terminals. The four companies will verify whether the electronic paper module can be accepted as a terminal for reading newspapers and other content, and whether the service can promote sales and boost customer satisfaction.
Users can read the newspapers by operating the terminal while waiting for their orders, or enjoy viewing the advertisements and timetables that are automatically switched to a different screen every several minutes when the terminal is not being operated, such as when the users are eating.
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!
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.
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 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.
The following is an edited version of a post from my personal blog
I recently found my notes from a presentation I gave 13 years ago, at the time upon seeing it, everyone I knew thought I was nuts, as the basis of the presentation was simple “All music will be available online for free, or so cheap that it might as well be” as the distributors and artist will make their money in other ways, concerts, t-shirts sales, merchandise etc in essence giving the customers what they want.
Look at the music industry in the past 10 years then think about what I said back then, just how crazy was I? The labels tried DRM, it didn’t work (DRM free did), they tried to keep prices high, that didn’t work either, they were too slow to move with the tide. You only have to look at the likes of Jamendo to see the predictions coming to fruition, entirely free, good quality, legal music downloads.
The movie industry is doing the same, they think they’re safe due to movie file sizes, but they’re not, data speeds are going up, compression improving, portable players increasing… DVD’s have a 2-3 year life expectancy, HD-DVD & Blu-Ray was undoubtedly the last physical format war, everything will be online & instantly available very very soon!
As they say, “Shift Happens”, the newspaper & journal industry in it’s current form is on it’s last legs, they appear to have forgotten what they’re really about, which is delivering “News” not newspapers, paper is merely the delivery mechanism, but it’s days are numbered, newspapers & books are a dying format, there will be those that will cling on to the printed page as long as they can, but sooner or later you have to face up to the tide of change.
So there’s a mindset shift that needs to happen with those that like to read paper now, but the next generation won’t have the same limitations, they’ll simply want whatever is most convenient and most up to date, as we say, no paper is the future. Although a limiting factor currently is the hardware, reading on a computer screen or an iPhone isn’t great, eReaders that use e-Ink like the Kindle are so like reading paper, you hardly notice you’re not, and their costs are tumbling. It’s time for the publishing houses worldwide to wake up, accept the sea of change, and prepare for it, otherwise they better be ready to move over when the flood happens & those ready to embrace the advantages of the new formats and market space out pace them. If the old guard don’t step up to the plate, new ePublishing houses will appear on the scene giving the audience what they want (now where have I heard that before?)
Will eBooks, replace paper books & newspapers? absolutely… but at the end of the day, does it really matter which format prevails, as long as more people are reading & writing, who cares how it’s delivered, we’ll all be winners!
UPDATE 5th Feb 2009:
I just noticed the video below on Jaculynn Peterson’s old blog (she now has a new one!). It’s a video clip of Michael Rosenblum at The Society of Editors conference 2008, it would appear that we are kindred spirits!
Plastic Logic profiled on CNN (it’s a shame we’ll have to wait until 2010 for the Plastic Logic Reader)
Embedded video from <a href=”http://www.cnn.com/video” mce_href=”http://www.cnn.com/video”>CNN Video</a>
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)