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Old 10-29-2012, 07:02 AM   #1
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E-ink readers a "transitional" technology?

http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-e-rea...--finance.html
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:12 AM   #2
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For me, yes.
They offered enough battery life to get through a transatlantic flight, which no LCD device at the time could do.
Now I can get that sort of battery life from tablets, which also offer a lot more functionality, so I have no need for the eInk device.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:16 AM   #3
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Again? Wasn't this a story from like six months ago?

In the end, technology itself is transitional.

Many klds won't want this until they start actually reading instead of Facebooking or playing games. The replacement cycle for most users is not like standard technology. Mine flips plenty fast, stores plenty of books (more than I'd ever read in a decade) and has easy on the eyes resolution. I don't need or want it to do anything else. I'm sure many readers are the same. Outside of device failure, I would probably never replace the reader or buy another one.

Tablets are a different beast. They do many things and in some instances can be used for reading, but for me, they suck at reading. I read on the bus and the glare renders the device useless. At home, it's a different story.

e-ink as a company does have issues. How do they grow when their target market doesn't need to upgrade and there are some devices better for some documents like LCD for PDF? It's not a company I would invest in, but they should be healthy in the long run if they don't believe they have a pure growth market.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:21 AM   #4
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Personally I think the article is nonsense, e-ink is better for reading full stop although do wish they would beef up the specs of them a bit it would make all the difference in usability.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:57 AM   #5
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The media has rehashed this story for years. And yet somehow, dedicated e-readers keep getting better, keep getting cheaper, keep getting longer battery life, keep selling out, keep getting made. Go figure.
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:03 AM   #6
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I got a Sony Pocket and a Galaxy Note and I strongly prefer the Samsung; granted, in full sunlight with th light on the screen the Sony is better, but in all other situations I prefer the Note; very pleasant reading (btw, AMOLED is not a backlight technology), with a reader like Mantano that lets me customize the colors, fonts, gestures etc. etc.
Got profiles for sun, normal, and night and with one swipe I can adjust the screen intensity further.
And it makes sweet music, is a good GPS, nice for a break with Freecell, Whatsapp, SMS, there is even a phone in it somewhere. Battery life is decent, more then enough for a transatlantic flight reading and listening to music, and it is much compacter then the Sony, while the screen is roughly the same size.
At home I prefer reading from the Ipad; nice large screen, with Bluefire reader I made a very friendly to the eyes perkament background, again, one swipe gives the right amount of light.
I do not find e-ink devices are more easily readable and give less eyestrain, and I'm 54.

So IMO I prefer tablets/big smartphones above dedicated readers, equally readable, much more versatile.
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
The media has rehashed this story for years. And yet somehow, dedicated e-readers keep getting better, keep getting cheaper, keep getting longer battery life, keep selling out, keep getting made. Go figure.


I don't care who else e-ink readers may be 'transitional' for but not for me.
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
The media has rehashed this story for years. And yet somehow, dedicated e-readers keep getting better, keep getting cheaper, keep getting longer battery life, keep selling out, keep getting made. Go figure.
Yep.

Slow news day...
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
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I have been using an ereader for years now, and I like it very much. For me it is really as good as a paper book to read from, both in low light and strong daylight. Moreover, a real-world battery life of weeks means that I can forget about charging the reader until it tells me to.
All this is still very, very far from being possible for tablets. Their screens are somehow better now, but still unusable in strong daylight; while battery life is still pitifully short.
Conclusion: today, the "high-end" reading device is still very much the electrophoretic screen.

That said, in the last couple of years, progress on electronic ink screens has almost stopped. Today's screens are not better than those available two years ago, except that (I suppose, given the falling prices of ereaders) they are cheaper to manufacture.
I can see how this can be considered a sign of a decline if you look at it with the eyes we use for the PC/tablet/phone market. However, doing this is misleading. The simple truth is that current screens are very good at what we need them for: reading books. We don't really need them to get better. (Yes, availability of more robust and maybe larger screens would be welcome... but not crucial.)
I think of electrophoretic displays as a mature technology.

On the other side, given the continuously increasing demands on computing power, connectivity and so on, the companies producing tablets need continuous innovation just to stay afloat. This is a sign that such product category is immature, not that electronic ink is going to die soon. Analysts are not saying that the bycicle is a "transitional technology" just because the basic design and components are decades old...

I can see why E Ink is looking for alternative applications for their products: the ereader market is not going to grow substantially, and the customers for screens are too few and too strong (Amazon in primis).
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:39 AM   #10
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eInk or LCD can both be considered transitional, the moment a display is available that has LCD quality but eInk outdoor readability.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:53 AM   #11
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eInk or LCD can both be considered transitional
...but their use cases do not overlap completely. They can coexist easily.
(Unless, of course, E Ink decides that the margin on ereader screens is too low and switches off production. However, if this happens the cause will not be that the technology has become obsolete.)
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:23 PM   #12
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In the end, technology itself is transitional.
I was going to say the same thing. This is especially true with electronics.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:59 PM   #13
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I find eInk much more suitable for my usage. I want the device that is best for reading books, not some compromised jack-of-all-trades. Well, okay, I want that too (I have an iPad, I just don't use it for reading books unless I absolutely have to (ie. it's a PDF)).

Obviously, if I'm outvoted, and can't buy a new ereader economically when my current ones die, then I'll have to move on, but ereaders are still the cheapest option right now.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:22 PM   #14
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Just a few years ago, e-ink was right out of science fiction. The future is very bright for e-ink. The lower power consumption may be the biggest plus, my e-ink device can run for days without needing a charge. The e-ink devices are lighter, cheaper and work better in bright light.

But there are other applications of e-ink. How many times have you seen a TV used in a kiosk to display a static image? That's an area ideal for e-ink: put the image on the display once and it can sit there indefinately without needing to be refreshed.

Flexible e-ink displays are working their way to the market. The benefit of these is not that you can bend them, but that they can flex without breaking. With a display that can flex, you can make the device even lighter, as the device doesn't need to be build to prevent flexing.

I expect that in the long run, e-ink will win out over LCD. E-ink has to do a few things first. One is color. I don't think that any color e-ink has actually made it to the market yet. Another is faster refresh rates. And another is lighting: you can't do backlit with e-ink (I won't say it is impossible, but it would be quite difficult). Sidelit screens are still a very young technology. LCD is a fairly old technology, e-ink is young. If these three factors can be improved upon, we may see e-ink tablets replacing dedicated e-ink readers. It would give us tablets that used less power and didn't suffer from the same glare problem as LCD. LCD could go the way of CRT monitors.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
...but their use cases do not overlap completely. They can coexist easily.
(Unless, of course, E Ink decides that the margin on ereader screens is too low and switches off production. However, if this happens the cause will not be that the technology has become obsolete.)
I may not have made my point clear.

Whether eReaders can be considered transitory depends on whether you're looking at it from the point of view of multi-functional devices vs dedicated devices, or from one of technology, quality of display/motion of LCD vs outdoor usage/low power of eInk.

In the case of multi-function vs single, then yes they can easily overlap, some people want a single dedicated device for a task even if a multi functional device could offer the same display in which case dedicated readers are not transitory, some people will always want one.

In the case of those who buy because of the display though (be it outdoor reading or they find it easier on the eyes) yet would love a multi-functional device if it offered the best of both display wise, then the technology is imo transitory. LCDs are terrible outside, eInk is terrible at motion and the full quality colour display you get with LCD. Hence both technologies could be considered transitory should a way be found to offer the same quality as LCD provides but with the same outdoor readability and low power of eInk.

I was referring more to the technology side as the original post says "E-ink readers..." rather than dedicated vs multi-functional readers, which I believe (could be wrong) most people buy because of the display technology been seen as easier on their eyes or can be used outside or doesn't need charging as often. I know some buy because they want a dedicated device, but in that case the display tech isn't the issue (if a hybrid display becomes a reality) they'd still buy a single use device. Where as for those who say the display is the reason for buying, a hybrid screen on a multi functional device would suit them just as well, which would make both LCD and eInk transitory.

tl;dr

Are dedicated eReaders transitional tech? No. Some people will always want a single use device for reading imo.

Are eInk readers transitional (dedicated or multi-use)? Yes. But so are LCD based devices. Both would eventually be replaced if a hybrid display tech becomes available that offers the quality of LCD and the outdoor usage/low power of eink. Until then though, both will co-exist.

Last edited by JoeD; 10-29-2012 at 01:46 PM.
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