View Full Version : This generation of ereaders, might as well let it pass by?

07-03-2006, 04:39 PM
Given the many delays and the extremely high price for the current eink readers (and they haven't even all come out yet), does anyone else think it might just be better to wait until next year?

Afterall, flexible screens are coming, and eink has already developed a color display which, they have said will be ready next year--if you look through their press releases.

With more companies on the bandwagon and higher production rates, the prices should come down a good bit as well. So, it seems to me that waiting a year for lower prices and/or color screens and/or flexible displays seems like the wiser course. Heck, by then Irex and other companies could have more polished 2nd gen products having learned from their troubles with this generation.



PS. I know this isn't exactly Iliad discussion per se, but since the Iliad is one of the first and probably the best (as far as features) of this generation, it seemed appropriate enough to post in this forum.

PPS/Edit: I am all for getting new technology early, but given the hurdles the companies are going through, the very high prices (or distinct lack of a features), and how next year will probably have better and more capable devices...seems like waiting isn't such a bad idea.

PPPS/Part of Edit also: Of course, I have to acknowledge that if nobody buys todays models then next years models might not exist. So...hmm....

07-03-2006, 04:47 PM
You are completely right.

On the other hand:
"I acknowledge the fact that the development of the iRex iLiad isn't finished yet, and that I know that its software is still being developed before it can be considered as fully functional as advertised."

We are the one who will shell out too much money and fight with the problems
to make sure there *is* a second generation of eInk readers. Or we can wait another 5 to 10 years until there is the next "first generation" of ebook readers.

btw: the Iliad made it to slashdot.

07-03-2006, 04:52 PM
Yeah, I just thought of that point myself as I was editing. Unfortunately, as a poor college student (who has gotten himself into some credit card debt), I think I am going to have to wait. Also, it seems like the Iliad has just shot up in price from what was projected a couple of months ago (though part of that is how the dollar has been doing compared to the Euro, I think). Even if I had the money, it is hard to justify US$800+ for a device that can do ebooks, but only in grayscale and with a relatively low refresh rate.*


*I think the eink technology is great and all, but a low refresh rate could get more than a little annoying for me, I can easily imagine. It hurts the ability of the device to be used for multiple purposes, imho.

07-03-2006, 06:27 PM
Device prices will drop. Color eink display will not be seen before 2008 i bet. Flexible display probably not in 2007.
And yes, the iLiad is too expensive, but almost what i want. And i am willing to live with a device, that is not perfect, until something better gomes around.

07-03-2006, 07:04 PM
I must admit that i do not hold out any hope on colour eInk devices in 2008. I first heard of the current technology in 1997, so it may take some time if the current generation is not successful sales wise. I just want an eInk device because I have been dreaming of it for 9 years. BTW they also mentioned eInk based paint all those years ago, I wonder how long that will take to emerge :rolleyes5

07-03-2006, 09:02 PM
I can see the attraction of color, but don't consider it essential to most reading - maybe glossy magazines, but that is about it. Even the scientific papers, which I will predominantly read and increasingly use color, can be read in grayscale. So waiting 12 to 24 months is not very attractive.

As to the flexible screens, I personally don't get it. :blink: Sure they are cool, but there is a trade off between size and functionality. There is the battery, the card slots, the WiFi antenna and the touchscreen to be considered.

Then, how robust will they be? I doubt they will be like paper in that you won't be able to fold them and stick them in a pocket like a magazine. If they roll up into a tube then you'll have to hold them open which sounds less comfortable than holding a book like hard case design. If they are the size of a piece of paper and don't roll up, you'll have to put them in a case to protect them in your backpack or case. I saw the man hit one with his shoe in the piece on Channel 4 that was on YouTube (if memory serves), but that was an orthogonal blow while the film was on a flat surface.

I can see the roll ups as add ons for cell phone, memory sticks etc, where you pull it out, look at it quickly and then put it away. For a long read, the old book form factor works so well that it is hard to think of a good reason to get away from it.

Convince me (us) if you can, but as was said above, the iLiad is such a quantum leap in the right direction that it would be a shame to miss out on it. (I should confess that I loved my Rocket eBook too, except that there was so little content... and at the time nothing like the pervasiness of pdf files in science.)

07-04-2006, 03:38 AM
With all the delays and problems that are evident in this crop of devices (iLiad, Sony Reader, Jinke), I seriously doubt that you are going to see rapid development of successor devices. If you think that the delays now are nearly intolerable I would not want to even hazard a guess what it would be for a color display. Flexible displays are well and good, though what's the point? You will not be able to effectively use a touchpad as you can on the iLiad. IMHO flexible displays is just a matter of packaging as the medium is already flexible - it just has not been put in production as a reader in that form.

There is also a larger question in the marketability of the current devices. If the companies are not able to cover at least the smallest modicum of development costs with the sales of these devices I would say that it would be safe to assume that further development on e-ink reader devices may come to a grinding halt. That is at least until a "killer app" or in this case a killer technology comes to fruitition and is viable and strongly marketable.

07-04-2006, 04:46 AM
... does anyone else think it might just be better to wait until next year?
Personally, I'm going to wait to decide until September -- by then, there should be a kind of consensus if the iLiad is good enough for its cost, if the PDF reader can take severe stress, as well as if iRex is good enough.

Afterall, flexible screens are coming, and eink has already developed a color display
The question is, I think: when are eInk displays getting larger? I haven't found any info on how large the actual display of the iLiad is, but from the photos and the device size info it 'feels' as if it is about 15-20 mm short of the typical pocket book page height. That makes it trickier to adapt existing pages to the device, and so may add cost for contents publishers -- the next step is very probably a display that covers some reasonable subset of standard book formats.

The next step beyond that would be A4 or letter size, as that would target a lot of technical documentation -- this is what a lot of large tech companies are today, and there are huge potential sales in this area.

Flexible screens and colour are, I think, mainly for news publishers, but that's on the other hand where a large number of buyers are, though far more difficult to sell to. Flexible readers will require very good user interfaces ... I suspect at least five years before these are reasonably useful: the first generation will almost certainly be ghastly, as well as be riddled with all kinds of branding and DRM problems: the end-user will probably buy a device through a publisher ... will it work for competitive contents?

Of course, I have to acknowledge that if nobody buys todays models then next years models might not exist.
And no-one is going to buy iLiad unless it's useful. Single buyers are probably not important here: it will be the contents providers (today's B2B customers) who sell the device. But if they get all protective, and refuse anyone elses contents on their rebranded devices ...