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Old 03-15-2006, 05:25 AM   #1
Nick Hampshire
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Review of the iLiad

Since I wrote the review for ePaper.org.uk that has been mentioned in other posts on this forum I have had the loan of an updated version which is now sitting in front of me, if any readers have specific queries please let me know and I will see if I can answer them.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:31 AM   #2
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Nick, welcome to this forum!

I have two questions to start with (if you don't mind).

1. How well does the E Ink display of the iLiad work under low-level ambient light, for instance when you're reading with bed lighting?

2. I've heard speculations that the picture of the iRex depicting the New York Times frontpage is a photo montage, since, so the argument goes, the resolution of 1024x768 would be too small to hold all this information. How well does the iLiad display newspaper (multi-column) content?

Thanks!
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:43 AM   #3
Nick Hampshire
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Have tried the iLiad under both very bright sunlight and low light levels - such as your bed lighting and it is perfectly readable in both. I would say that if the lighting is good enough to read a paper document then you will be able to read the iLiad display.

The New York Times display is in fact part of a drill down information access technique. One cannot read the body copy of the page only the headlines, click on the drill down button and these headlines are displayed as hot spots click on one of these with the stylus and you bring up a page, or sequence of pages, with the article text. Note that this too can have hot spots linking to further pages of text, ther can be up to 16 levels of drill down.

Adverts can also be hot spots, if you click on one of these then the request for further information about the advert will be sent to the IDS server next time you enter a WiFi hot spot which will allow the reader to connect to the Internet. This is a secure link that relies on the fact that each reader device has an inbuilt unique ID code. so it can also be used for e-commerce payments.
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Old 03-15-2006, 06:01 AM   #4
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Welcome Nick. I just received your *excellent* preview!

I noticed that you had experience with the Sony Librie before. Did you also have a chance to look at its successor, the Sony Reader, and compare it to the iLiad?
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Old 03-15-2006, 07:41 AM   #5
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Yes had a brief look at it, but not yet been able to play with it. The bigger display on the iLiad is definitely better since it essentially allows the same size page, layout and typography as a conventional A5 book. The iLiad also seems to largely have solved the problem of 'ghosting' that was such a feature of the LIBRIe, and seemed also to be present in the Sony Reader.

The iLiad is expensive, but I am assured it will quickly come down to under Euro500, however, the addition of a touch screen, and the ability to add hand written annotations to a document make it, in my opinion, well worth the extra money.
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Old 03-15-2006, 07:49 AM   #6
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Welcome to the Forum Nick!

Good work on the Preview...some questions...I just can't remember them all just now...but one springs to mind:

Does the Iliad come with a "Cover", and if yes, how well is it constructed, how well does it "latch" on to the front of the device when closed and how can it be fastened when open. The Cover on the Hanlin v8 (as far as I can tell form the video) is pretty thin but seems to work well.

Can you add books in .txt, .html and other formats to the book section or do they all go under notes or something.

Is the writing/drawing on screen implemented now and how well does it work?
Could you use it to "scribble" a shopping list or something? Can you transfer your scribbles, drawings and stuff from the Iliad to the Desktop and what kind of format do you get?

Does the Iliad contain anything like a calender or contacts, at least in rudimentary form...I think the Hanlin V2 has a calender at least...I'll have to ask their nice customer representative about it...but I believe I read about that somewhere...that would make it the ideal device for me...^^

That's all for now...

Thanks for your time and effort.
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Old 03-15-2006, 09:03 AM   #7
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The iLiad I have in front of me has not got a cover and there is no sign on the casing of any provision to fit one, I suspect that it will simply be provided with a slip in pocket type case.
Yes .txt and .html content can be added, content stored on the iLIad is divided into four categories - News, Books, Docs, and Notes, and from what I can understand of the system (no documentation yet) it seems that these are simply the equivalent of folders in the iLiad's file management system. They can be accessed by pressing the appropriate key at the bottom of the display. Although I have yet to see the PC based download software I would assume from what I have been told that it will simply be a matter of placing the pocument into the appropraite file folder.

The writing function is not yet implemented on this machine, but I am informed that the you will be able to easily input hand written annotations, drawings, even shopping lists. These can then be transferred to a connevted PC. I asked about the image format for the handwritten input and answer I was given was simply that it would not by either JPEG or GIF.

The iLiad does not yet have any contents like calenders or address books, but I am sure that these will be added in the very near future since they are essentially just publications.
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Old 03-15-2006, 10:49 AM   #8
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It sounds very cool and promising. (i'll read the review in a minute)
I'll probably get one in the future when the price has dropped to a significant level.

edit: GREAT review, Nick. I'm impressed, but as you've stated the price is damn high. another problem is that i'm located in south east asia.

Last edited by luag; 03-15-2006 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:29 PM   #9
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Hello Nick, thank you for your offer to answer our questions! I only have one question so far, and it's related to the online capabilities of the iLiad. It was states elsewhere here in these forums that the iLiad could go online and "download" Web content (its screen updates too slow for real-time browsing). Have you tried this, and if yes, how does the software exactly work?
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:20 PM   #10
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One of the "annoying" things in the Librie is that it doesn't properly paginate text, making the text box very irregular, apparently Sony reader also does it...

Does the Librie repaginate text in a uniform way? or does the text box also end up irregular?

How does the Iliad handle picture files? Automatically convert them to 16 levels of gray? converts them on the fly so the original picture isn't changed.

Can it display images with more resolution than the 1024x768?
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:57 PM   #11
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I have not been able to test the Web capability of the iLiad because all communications to the Internet are made via the IDS server which is currently being set up by iRex. It is definately not designed as a Web pad, all content is downloaded either wirelessly via the IDS server or via a linked PC.
When the WiFi button on the front of the device is pressed the iLiad will automatically try to make a wireless Internet connection to the IDS server, it will use its own hardwired ID code as an identifier. In theory it could be used as a portable e-mail or fax terminal but not as a Web browser.
When the iLiad makes a wireless connection any communications going from the iLIad to the IDS server, such as a request for further information, or an e-commerce order form are sent. Any content waiting on the IDS server to be delivered to the reader, identified by its ID number, is then sent to the reader and placed in the appropriate file folders.
The iLIad is a push content delivery device, not a pull content device like a Web browser. This is an important difference and one that will facilitate new applications for this device, in particular the delivery of subscription content.
Actually the screen updates are quite quick compared to the LIBRIe, taking just 0.9 seconds to do a full screen rewrite and only 0.2 seconds to do a partial screen rewrite.

I think that part of the LIBRIe problem with pasginating text is that both it and the Jinke are designed for Chinese or Japanese script which go in lines from top to bottom and left to right, as opposed to most other calligraphies which mostly go from left to right and top to bottom. With the example text I have the repagination caused by increasing point size seems to be OK.
All picture files on the Iliad have to be first converted to an iLiad compastible format and size, either on a PC or via the IDS server, conversion can not be done on the iLiad itself. It was after all designed as a document display device and not as a general purpose computing device.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:16 PM   #12
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Perhaps I misunderstood Nick's last post, but it appears that the IDS server acts as a remote proxy used whenever the iRex goes online. In addition, given that a hardwired ID is transmitted each time, I'd be very hesitant to access any kind of private content, including e-mails, which I figure could be easily "pushed" onto the device (if software is available). And of course, being a Dutch company, iRex could potentially face problems with (corporate) customers from the States who don't want their data being transmitted to a European server (or the server of a European company in general).
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Old 03-15-2006, 06:18 PM   #13
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Have you tried reading a pdf?
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Old 03-15-2006, 09:47 PM   #14
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device says that it supports html files. can it read chm files ?
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:11 AM   #15
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Interesting comments from TadW about US vs Europe and push content, will try to find out answer to this, maybe they will have one server in Eirope, one in Us and one in Asia, to cover all three markets they are aiming at.
I would doubt that the whole of the hardwired ID is transmitted, it is instead used as a means of verifying identity, It is I believe more in the form of a hardwired decryption key that allows documents to be unlocked and viewed. Push delivered subscription publications sent to the iLiad from the IDS server will be encoded so that they can only be read on the device belonging to the subscriber.
The transmission of data from the iLiad to the IDS server is probably encoded and uses the reader ID as the decryption key. I was informed that it uses full 128bit encryption.

Yes it does suport viewing PDF and from what I have seen it would seem to support PDFs created at least up until Acrobat 5.0, since it fully supports hyperlinks within a PDF. This is significantly better than the Sony which only uses the mobile version of PDF which does not support hyperlinks.

I am uncertain about whether it can read chm files, it can certainly handle HTML and XML.
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