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Old 09-06-2006, 12:43 PM   #1
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So is the Iliad really production ready and is the market ready for e-readers?

Probably a well worn set of questions ... but as I'm a newbie I'll make apologies if I get flamed ...

I received my shiny new Iliad today, after a frustrating ecommerce process. I'm having lots of fun with it giving it a real testing.

I've been taking a straw poll of normal people during the day, some of whom I saw as potential users in vertical markets (such as doctors) asking would they use a device like this and what for, also what they would pay for it, if it fulfilled their needs...

The conclusion I have come to (after a few hours, enough to run the battery down!) is that the current software stack is absolutely for early adopters only, and the device as it stands would only really be interesting to very early adopters and vertical markets with a real need to fill with money available to fill the need not being an issue.

Who will buy these devices amongst the general consuming public and at what price point? Without a significant price drop, some of the rough edges knocked off (which the current patch release suggests is happening) and extra functionality added (like annotations for PDFs) I can't see this generating a big market ... I can't see people buying it to read newspapers or journals for instance.

I'd be interested to get the views of early adopters also - Who do you believe will use (and pay for) the device at say a $300 price point? And what are the factors that will start to drive mass adoption other than price?
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Old 09-06-2006, 02:17 PM   #2
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Well...I'll try to give you a brief overview of my opinion as an early adopter...

The Iliad, as it is at the moment, is not suitable for the mass market. This mainly due to the software. The menu structure is a nightmare, the whole process of finding something takes ages, the startup time, the power-down time, the low battery life and the counter-intuitive "automatic note naming" routine are all things that frighten even me sometimes, and I'm not easy to frighten when it comes to gadgets...

However, the Iliad has a lot of potential. It can be put to use for numerous ventures, it can benefit a lot of people in different situations. I use it as a book, I just load my content onto the internal memory or the CF card and read novels, first page to last. I've read that some of the early adopters here on the forums use it to take notes during lessons. also a cool option, especially with handwriting-recognition now available (at least as a PC app, not directly on the Iliad (yet)).
IF iRex manage to get their Software and their Service going, it could become posible to actually offer the device to the general public.

Then of course, you need content, the IDs is supposed to take care of that, so far there is nothing at all there, but since irex is a member of the IDPF, maybe that'll help them in getting publishers onboard.

Pricing is also a big one...for 670€, nobody in their right mind will buy the device. Offering it cheaper with Newspapers bundled (Subsidy) could work, making production cheaper could also help...but it's a long way from 600+€ to the 150-200€ that should be the max. I could imagine Joe Average paying for a reading device...

So, basically it's all potential and no reality at the moment. The software is progressing, but FAR too slowly, there are still a lot of device failures and service hassles and the pricing won't drop for a while yet if I'm not completely mistaken. If They get all the right stuff together and the software guys work real miracles in the next few week (unlikely unfortunately) they COULD manage to get a toehold on the market. If Sony manages a good launch with their Reader,the US customers at least will probably decide they prefer the cheaper and easier device, they'll continue using their PDA or Tablet for Note-Taking and stuff. If the Hanlins (especially the new V2) get their Software going before iRex does, and if they get some content and distribution lined up, then the lower price will again lure many people that way. If the DRM discussion doesn't go well, all ventures might fail like those before did, so it's all still undecided.
We'll see...

I like my Iliad despite it's many shortcomings, and if the handling improves a little and battery life improves A LOT I won't regret buying it. Joe Average however won't be satisified so easily, and he's the one who's going to decide whether ebooks will work this time...
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Old 09-06-2006, 02:30 PM   #3
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I think the whole process will work like it worked in the music buisness.
More and more people will buy such devices an therefore more book will get scanned.
The devices will become cheaper and someday it will become a boom and the bookpublishers will also have missed the step into the digital world.

I don't believe, that the ebook through official sources will work because the publishers arn't interested in it and therefore the prices and DRM-limitations are so harsh nobody really want's to buy these things. Why should I pay the same price for an ebook which I can't even loan to a friend?

I also think, that the publishers are too confident in the "security" of a paperbook. Digitising a 300 Page Book only takes about 2h with the right device (bookscanner for about 300$) and there are more then enough people in the internet who are willing to spend that amount of time.

So I think the ebook-boom won't come in the next 2-3 years. Allthough I think the ebook will become commonly used by techfreaks and early adopters in the next year or so because I believe the devices reached a development state where they are really handy and usable.

I myself bought an iLiad and even with the actual software I think it is fully usable and it became one of the most important devices for me in only about 1 1/2 month.
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paethon
I myself bought an iLiad and even with the actual software I think it is fully usable and it became one of the most important devices for me in only about 1 1/2 month.
Same to me.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:44 AM   #5
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I'm not sure it'll work like the music business - part of the reason for this was the target market and the fact there was a huge volume of p2p usage and copying - I'm not sure that target markets for readers are going to buy the device on the strength of available content any time soon.
In terms of bundling deals with newspapers - I also struggle to see the economic model - you'd be talking about a multi-year subscription to fund the device, even at €150 (although now I have mine it'd be great to subscribe to an Iliad version at the same cost as the paper version!)
Perhaps Libraries or Universities? But then again students won't buy a laptop AND an Iliad ... and they'll need the laptop...
ComanderROR - I fully agree about Joe Public deciding the fate of eReaders, and don't see anything yet to make him shell out €150 on this type of device sadly ...
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Chupacabra
Same to me.
Ditto. The more I read on it, the more I like it. I really didn't buy it with the thought of using it as more than a book reader.

Software clean up will come. I hope DRM is resolved. But I have enough books & magazines on it now to keep me going for a very, very long time. If the DRM doesn't come, hey, I don't need to spend my money there. Fictionwise multi-format has captured a nice chunk of my book money over the last month.
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:48 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for the info.
Since most of us don't have an Iliad, I've been wondering what to really expect from it.
Positive use did not reach us as frequently as the bad. Keep us posted we're really curious. We don't need a big report, snippets will do.
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Old 09-09-2006, 11:50 PM   #8
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Hi - these were all posted 9 July (or was that 7 Sep?).

Simple questions - do these comments reflect the latest model with R6.2 software download released mid-August?
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Old 09-10-2006, 03:14 PM   #9
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Hey, ozeast. Yeah those are from September 7th. I'm pretty sure the iLiad owners who posted are on the newest OS rev. (based on other comments by them) but they'd have to confirm it, of course.
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Old 09-10-2006, 04:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozeast
Hi - these were all posted 9 July (or was that 7 Sep?).

Simple questions - do these comments reflect the latest model with R6.2 software download released mid-August?
Was that 2.6?
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Old 09-10-2006, 10:36 PM   #11
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Yes R2.6
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Old 09-11-2006, 02:51 AM   #12
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I thought the latest release was 2.6.1.
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:27 AM   #13
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we're probably all using 2.6.1 by now...so the comments are all "up-to-date" I guess. Don't let the "negative" air of some of the comments distract you from the benefits of the Iliad.
I think we all agree that the device is far from finished, but I also believe that almost everybody here is uing his/her Iliad daily and already can hardly imagine life without it.
I know that's the case for me.

On einteresting thing is...once you've gotten used to it (which takes a couple of hours or a day or two at most in my estimation), you'll no longer "feel" any difference to reading a paper book...believe me...^^
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:44 AM   #14
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Yep 2.6.1 for me. The views in this thread hopefully aren't negative, we all have a vested interest, they are critical as we all have a view about the direction for improvement for the Iliad.

Another interesting aside - When I show the device to people - the hardest thing for them to overcome is the fact that the "screen" is different. It is hard to break away from what they know screens to be ("why isn't it backlit?", "when will it have colour and moving images?", "but I don't like reading on a screen" etc) - I agree with CommanderROR that it does take about a day, and a fair bit of actual reading, to get used to the device ... I'm already on my 3rd book!

Last edited by pdam; 09-11-2006 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 09-11-2006, 05:44 AM   #15
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2.6.1 for me :-)

And within only a week or 3 of having a working one I have already managed to devour 9 books.

Gutenburg and the Baen Library (and the,legally, distributed CDs) are a godsend.

The reaction of people on the tube is always fun (from the people giving obvious sidelong glances, to those that come out and ask what it is). The reaction is almost always positive.
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