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Old 10-11-2012, 04:35 PM   #61
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Come now. Considering that they plan to make money by selling books from their store, I'm willing to bet that they're trying to keep the competition at bay by disallowing any third-party content. And, no, nothing about monthly subscriptions as such, but telcos don't offer free hardware just like that.

If they are able to offer it for anything near like the 13$ quoted there are going to be monthly charges, no two ways about it.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #62
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It looks pretty crippled. This $13 reader seems to be priced $14 too high.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by AJ Starr View Post
My thoughts....

Looks like a great "library book". The libraries have the books loaded on with their code and check them out to their readers.

The libraries don't have to worry about the books being stolen because it is read only. It's cheap enough to buy this with the books instead of the hard back books.

That is, if this reader actually arrives at $13 or so dollars.
Similar to my thoughts. I think a device like this has potential if it's cheap enough. A read-only eReader could have its uses in this pirate-sensitive landscape.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:29 PM   #64
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At $13, setting aside subscription costs, it'd be worth it for the e-ink screen. People who want to build their own from scratch would be happy for that--and if there's no subscription required specifically for the reader, people who are getting/updating a phone subscription plan could get the reader for maker/hacker friends who want to play with the hardware.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:23 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
...Technically speaking, the txtr beagle uses the same technology as a digital picture frame. And since it cannot display text files, each page needs to be converted to an image....
This is just lovely. An ereader that has no way to highlight or copy text and can only hold 5 books. $13 is far to steep a price for such instantly outdated technology. I will personally strangle any person who dares to put one in my stocking this Christmas.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:30 AM   #66
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I wonder how taxing it is for the phone to convert all books to a new format..?
Should be no more difficult than scanning the text of each book one page at a time, running it through some OCR software, then proofreading the results and correcting all the errors. Shouldn't take but a few hours work or so on each average sized book before you have a text file that can then be converted to other formats.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:14 AM   #67
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I don't think that's what he meant. But given this technology, and the necessity to pair this txtr Beagle with a BT-enabled Android device, the text is apparently rendered on the device, than copied over to the reader. How long does this rendering take, how much power does it consume? Can I buy a book and read it instantly, as it were, or will the upload take all night?
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:43 AM   #68
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It's my hope that this technology will be so commonplace that even NORMAL e-readers will go down to that price in the longer run.

For example. I can't begin to remember how many hours I babysat as a teenager to save up for my first calculator (very basic) for over a hundred dollars (and it had gone 'down' in price by the time I could afford it). And I had to carry a suitcase of AA batteries to make it work!

Now you can see them in dollar stores.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:59 AM   #69
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What's the file transfer speed of Bluetooth? 5 files in 4Gb = 800Mb each. Transferring 800Mb over Bluetooth is going to be slow I would have thought. Unless it transfers them compressed and uncompresses them before use. But it obviously can't uncompress on-the-fly otherwise you wouldn't restrict it to 5 books, you'd have however many compressed versions you can fit. So if it can't do on-the-fly uncompress then it's going to take an appreciable amount of time after transfer to uncompress.

Either way I think they're counting on transferring books being an occasional activity. I think this is aimed at the casual reader who might load up a couple of books, read them and then a few days/weeks later, load up a few more. Those of us who load up a significant proportion of our entire library "just in case" probably aren't going to find this a useful device.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:19 AM   #70
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It's my hope that this technology will be so commonplace that even NORMAL e-readers will go down to that price in the longer run.
The thing is, there is no *new* technology in the Beagle and the price reduction that is catching everybody's eye is a mirage. (It is a telco-subsidized price. The real, unfettered, price is signifcantly higher.) Even the screen is dated Vizplex eink film.

The thing is just an eink file viewer with no user controls on it; you can achieve the exact same thing yourself on any of the zillion China inc, dirt cheap media players with JPG display capabilities. And you don't have to sign up for a telco contract or rely on a cellphone.
All you need is to use calibre to convert an ebook to pdf and then use Acrobat to save the pdf as a folderful of jpgs. Then you copy the folder to the media player and run a slideshow: voila! Instant "ebook reader".
People have been doing that for ages. There aare even programs that take in txt and HML files and render them out.
The only thing Beagle does is replace the LCD media player with an eink slideshow viewer.
Technologically, this is a dead-end detour for consumers.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:12 AM   #71
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The thing looks pretty much like a toy for me. But since it's that cheap, I'm going to get it.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:29 AM   #72
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What's the file transfer speed of Bluetooth?
If I read the wikipedia article correctly, the best you can hope for is 2.1Mbit/s (that'd be Bluetooth v2.0), or 721 kbit/s (Bluetooth v1.2). The newer Bluetooth standards actually don't use bluetooth for file transfer, but only negotiate faster protocols via Bluetooth. So actually it's using 802.11 or wifi. Which won't be in this reader so...

Transfering 4GB would take 12+ hours with Bluetooth v1.2 and 4+ hours with Bluetooth v2.0 if I haven't miscalculated it somewhere (which is entirely possible, I'm not good at math).

But according to some reports you can start reading while it's still transferring stuff, so it probably won't matter much in practice unless you want to start in the middle of a book.

Also, I guess that most books will be considerably smaller. Especially if you read at a normal font size, which will use considerably fewer pages and therefore images and storage space, than a large font...

Also, even if the reader stores the images uncompressed, the transfer itself may be compressed somehow. So it may transfer files much faster, and the above estimate is just the worst case scenario...

Last edited by frostschutz; 10-12-2012 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:07 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by frostschutz View Post
But according to some reports you can start reading while it's still transferring stuff, so it probably won't matter much in practice unless you want to start in the middle of a book.

Also, I guess that most books will be considerably smaller. Especially if you read at a normal font size, which will use considerably fewer pages and therefore images and storage space, than a large font...

Also, even if the reader stores the images uncompressed, the transfer itself may be compressed somehow. So it may transfer files much faster, and the above estimate is just the worst case scenario...
Thanks for the figures.

Fair point about the file sizes being smaller I guess but then why not have the restriction be based on space available rather than a flat 5 books?

Also, if the transfer is compressed then the device has to uncompress it and then we're into questions of how fast the CPU is. As I said before if the CPU was fast enough to decompress basically in the screen refresh time them you could store the books in compressed format. So let's assume it's slower than that. The next question is how many pages can it decompress in the time it takes to read one? If it's >=1 then you can have a reader that's reasonable for page-by-page reading but slow for random access or skipping back and forth. Which for a cheap reader might be a trade-off some people would accept.

But clearly it doesn't work that way. The only way to make sense of that 4Gb-5Book combo is the way you describe. It's just a shame to waste so much space.

I wonder if the conversion process indexes the pages. It would allow for some level of searching.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:50 AM   #74
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Fair point about the file sizes being smaller I guess but then why not have the restriction be based on space available rather than a flat 5 books?
It may work that way, we just don't know, right?

Depending on how far they took it to make the device stupid, it may simply not be able to handle more than 5 books.

Maybe you could put more books onto the reader if you merge multiple books in one file? Or what happens with that monster of "winter is coming" 4 in 1, you could probably fit 10 regular books in there...

We'll see how it works when the device actually becomes available.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:55 PM   #75
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Either way I think they're counting on transferring books being an occasional activity. I think this is aimed at the casual reader who might load up a couple of books, read them and then a few days/weeks later, load up a few more. Those of us who load up a significant proportion of our entire library "just in case" probably aren't going to find this a useful device.
^ this.
As their page says 'raw image data' I'm not expecting a iota of support of someting more sophisticated than crudest bitmap.
The previously used comparison with an lcd picture frame is IMHO the best guess.

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We'll see how it works when if the device actually becomes available.
Taking into account which company is announcing it...
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