Cool, although i've always found paperbooks plenty portable, and they have a long battery life too.
January 9th, 2006
Can it show .TXT and plain-text HTML?
It's not so much the e-book idea that interests me -- I tried that with a PocketPC a while back, and reading a book on a eye-straining 320x200 display is far, far, far from optimal -- but rather it's the innovative new display. The electronic paper they've been working on for a while actually changes the reflective surface ("permanently", or at least until the next update), so with each page flip it's like it runs an etch-a-sketch to draw the screen, and then it leaves the screen alone. This gives you a screen that is just like paper in the way it reads, rather than an emissive light technology like CRT, or indirectly LCD. This first generation also features 170 dpi, versus the 72 dpi most PC and portable devices have, so it's much clearer.
Electronic paper looks to be a very interesting technology that's going to have a lot of uses. They're already developing a colour version.
"This first generation..."
Uhhh... Sorry Dennis, but the first commercial e-ink based book readers appeared the better part of a decade ago. :)
The company that made them went bust, and the consortium that holds the patents couldn't be bothered for a long time.
None of the prior initiatives were either strongly backed, or widely distributed (at all), so I call it first generation from a user perspective. This will almost certainly be the first widely-deployed use of electronic paper.
What, like minidiscs were widely deployed? :)
At this point it's still a fancy gadget with 32mb of memory, limited content, proprietary tech and an early-adopter price tag. When Taiwanese OEMs start popping these out for twenty bucks and you can get the complete works of Terry Pratchett off BitTorrent, then we'll talk.
Plus it's from Sony, and they're all assholes.
January 9th, 2006