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Old 07-18-2007, 01:59 PM   #31
Hadrien
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Quite a number of comments, I notice, center on the size and type of screen that should be used/is preferred.

Maybe modularity won't help matters, but it occurs to me that if the screen was an accessory to the device, users could purchase the screen that's best for them, whether it be LCD or e-ink, large, small, flexible, fast-refresh for motion/animation content, etc.

The device itself, without the screen, could easily be cellphone-sized, easy to take anywhere. You could even buy multiple screens depending on different uses at different times/places.
Sounds good on paper, but it's a pretty bad business idea.
It's a lot tougher to market something divided into different parts + you need a lot more components to create such a device.
The device itself would be more expensive, bigger and heavier than a normal device.

If you change the screen, you somehow need to change the software too. This is quite different from a computer where you always have color, fast refresh etc... These technologies are completely different and you don't code your software the same way for an eInk screen and for a LCD screen.

In the end, you'd have a device that might work with every kind of screen, but don't expect it to work as well than your basic device.
Such flexible design is great for software, where you can basically change every part easily if it's got a good API, input/output etc...
But hardware is something quite different from software !
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:21 PM   #32
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I like Steve's idea. I've had the thought before, that I'd like all of the hardware put into a pocket sized device and have the screen and it's controller chips and battery separated from it, but streamed data via a short range, high-speed wi-fi link. The overall weight would be higher, but the weight in your hands would be less.

An EInk display would be different to an LCD. But, one solution would be to run the display from within a dedicated application which only exposed select elements of the OS to the screen. That technology exists today. This EInk display runs exclusively from within a Vista sideshow Gadget.

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Old 07-18-2007, 03:00 PM   #33
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Quote:
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Sounds good on paper, but it's a pretty bad business idea.
It's a lot tougher to market something divided into different parts + you need a lot more components to create such a device.
The device itself would be more expensive, bigger and heavier than a normal device.
Never underestimate the value consumers put on flexibility. Remember component stereos? Besides, you're putting the central device in your pocket, and carrying around a separate screen. I'm not sure that has to be heavier than an all-in-one.

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If you change the screen, you somehow need to change the software too.
No: You have the book data stored on the central device, in a universal format. The screen carries the software required to translate the stored data into its own display format, and no more. This leaves your display options free of your central device, and almost infinitely changeable!

(My patent filing is in the mail!)

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Old 07-18-2007, 05:37 PM   #34
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No: You have the book data stored on the central device, in a universal format. The screen carries the software required to translate the stored data into its own display format, and no more. This leaves your display options free of your central device, and almost infinitely changeable!

(My patent filing is in the mail!)
Don't fill any patent: I've seen people mentioning this idea dozens of time already (for example the video where an iPod is used as the storage, with multiple screen-docks for it, transforming the iPod into a reading device).

Once again, that's software/hardware designer hell, and I'm against the whole idea being an engineer myself.
Hardware is not as flexible as software, and this idea fall in the same category than the "one device to rule them all" category. One very short example (there's dozens of them): you don't design your UI the same way if your refresh time is a full second or a few ms.
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:15 PM   #35
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Don't fill any patent: I've seen people mentioning this idea dozens of time already (for example the video where an iPod is used as the storage, with multiple screen-docks for it, transforming the iPod into a reading device).
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:47 PM   #36
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You're also not considering other professions, lawyers, office workers ... the potential demand for a well executed device is even more staggering than you seem to think.

Medical professionals (me included) would be all over a piece of kit like this!

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Old 07-23-2007, 11:42 PM   #37
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So out of curiosity, what do medical professionals really want out of an e-book reader? Something to read charts, look at x-rays, etc? What do you need?
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Old 07-23-2007, 11:46 PM   #38
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And out of curiosity, what's the big deal out of having two screens, anyways? There are lots of books that are like...well...two half sheets of paper; most paperback fiction books are, at any rate, and I don't see most people have issues with that...
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:43 AM   #39
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There is already an eink device for medical pros. It is basically the same spec as an iliad except it runs on windows ce, it's washable and it costs $5000. For that price, the difference a larger screen would make to the cost would be small.

As for having two screens, weight is the primary downside. It would require twice as much battery power too. Personally, I really don't see a need for having two screens on an eink device.
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:48 AM   #40
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As I remember from years back (when medical professionals were using devices like Apple Newtons for the same thing), medicos can use them to access more complete hospital databases on patients' charts and test results, up-to-date pharmaceutical data and treatment options, hospital supply and inventory, etc, that would be updated in a central location and accessible by wireless updating at any point in the hospital.

Patient charts are notorious for being incomplete or badly/illegibly filled out in many hospitals, and treatments/options can change so fast that it can be hard for a doctor to keep track and provide on-the-spot diagnosis and proper therapies. UMPCs (or PDAs) would theoretically put more hard data at their fingertips at all times, improving their work, and saving them research time.

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Old 07-24-2007, 07:51 AM   #41
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Quote:
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As for having two screens, weight is the primary downside. It would require twice as much battery power too. Personally, I really don't see a need for having two screens on an eink device.
The idea here was having a component screen separate from the device, so you could choose the screen you wanted to use depending on how you read/what you are comfortable with, or buy more than one if certain screen types were better suited to different uses... say, an eInk screen for daytime reading, and an LCD screen for nighttime use.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:48 PM   #42
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Yeah, sorry I should of been clearer on that since there's been two different suggestions related to having two screens. If your idea were feasible steve, I'd be all for it. I was refering to the idea of having both an lcd and eink on the same device.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:09 PM   #43
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Dual screen implementation

Hi all, my first post here so bear with me.

I've been following the technology for a few years but have yet to take the plunge and purchase a device - I'm leaning toward the Cybook when it comes out but will wait for other's reviews before making the investment.

I've read about flexible e-ink displays but not sure how close these are to reality yet. My perfect device would be be US letter size with a flexible screen so that the device is foldable. I would want the screen to be versatile with the following viewing options:

- Full letter size display in portrait or landscape mode

- Side by side pages in both landscape mode (kind of like holding a regular paperback book) and portrait mode

- Top and bottom or side by side page functionality would display the content on one of the screens with text entry and annotation on the other screen, which may or may not linked to the page being annotated. Would be great to use one screen for writing flash cards or study notes while reading the other screen.

Interested whether people thing this is feasible given the state of flexible e-ink technology.

Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:26 PM   #44
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Hrmm...

|2eason: If you could get a full page for like...a pound - would it be too heavy? A pound doesn't seem like much at all...

If, say, it cost $200 more than an iLiad to slam on a second eInk screen (so it looks like a page of paper), wouldn't that be better? Or is that just the 'better gadget' syndrome?

Also - yes, the power consumption may be doubled for driving two, but isn't the point of the eInk is that there is no constant power consumptions; granted, it halves the total number of page turns, but if you have to only turn half as many pages, doesn't that make more sense?

Furthermore, it seems like you really don't like CE - if you could, like...install MobiPocket reader or something on that medical tablet, doesn't that solve all your compatibility problems? Things for the PocketPC (i.e. WinCE) have been out for a long time...

Linux is great and all, but is Microsoft really that bad of a core? There are always lots of problems with getting drivers for some stuff, and if you've got some weird stuff, well...

Steve - Modularity increases chances for mechanical failure, doesn't it? LCDs also slaughter battery life, but if you don't care... it does sound like a valid point, though...

I've shadowed doctors at Duke University...it personally amuses me how the doctors are supposed to do stuff on a piddling little HP iPaq screen or something. There's no *room*!

Snatchos - Flexible e-ink is gonna be absurdly expensive - and it won't be commercially out for another few years...without including dev time.
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:31 PM   #45
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...More thoughts...

I understand why shell/kernel access is important, but if people like WinCE PDAs, what would be wrong with it?

Linux != easier, right?
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