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Old 07-26-2007, 05:58 PM   #46
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|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...
As Hadrien pointed out, modularity can cause additional problems, but issues of mechanical failure might depend on how the modules connect, or if at all... for instance, if they connect wirelessly, there is no "mechanical" element between them to fail.

The biggest issue in the case of modularity would be the creation of an I/O that all components would understand and could use... in other words, the same text output could be used by a color LCD screen and a B/W e-Ink screen. That is, I think, Hadrien's biggest concern, and in this age of proprietary SW, it's a valid one... but it's one that, I think, ought to be dealt with anyway. Universality is the sister of Harmony.

And yes, LCDs (or any other display tech) won't last nearly as long as e-ink. But again, your typical usage might include regular opportunities to recharge the device, so LCD might be fine for you. Or if you're mostly outside, away from power outlets, use the e-Ink screen during the day, and save the LCD for evenings at home.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:06 PM   #47
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Well, true...

But wireless would be a massive power drain, and the speed of data transfer would be highly limiting....

You'd also need a battery for the screen AND the processor AND the wireless microcontrollers to do the data transfer AND the controller chip and...
Haha - I'm a embedded engineer. If I have enough time on the side, perhaps I might whip up something to make us all happy - that is, if life doesn't swamp me first. ...It's got a rather annoying capability to do that...-_-'.

The only problem is that I looked at the eInk play kits - they're EXPENSIVE!!!

Besides, I/O standards are beasts.
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:31 PM   #48
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You'd also need a battery for the screen AND the processor AND the wireless microcontrollers to do the data transfer AND the controller chip and...
Haha - I'm a embedded engineer. If I have enough time on the side, perhaps I might whip up something to make us all happy - that is, if life doesn't swamp me first. ...It's got a rather annoying capability to do that...-_-'.
I have the same background and a similar urge -- to build something.

I think the dumb screen idea has wider applications. When we attach a monitor to our PC, the OS figures out the available modes through a plug 'n play protocol. Wireless USB will give us the bandwidth to run a monitor with a not-too-outrageous power expenditure. If there were dumb screens available, they could come in different sizes and technologies. They could be flexible or not. They could have touch screens or not. They could be color or monochrome. They could work with pocket devices and desktop devices, and even switch back and forth.

The eReader could come with a screen of its own, but give us the option of using a dumb screen accessory -- or not.

When I add a component to my PC, I have a wide range of prices and technologies. That is why I run PCs, not Macs. That is the issue that killed the Amiga. Creating a world of modularity for eReaders can benefit us all.
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:20 AM   #49
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Well, to some extent...

Wireless modularity is pretty sweet. But then you hit another problem.

As an embedded engineer, you should realize that throwing more power after something isn't the 'best' way to solve it - you give it just what it needs, and a little more. It drives down both cost and power consumption.

The biggest problem with wireless interconnectivity is that sitting there *still* expends power.

In comparison, the biggest *draw* to eInk is that I can flip a screen today, flip it again tomorrow, and ten days from now still have pretty much enough juice to crank through 9,998 more pages...well, that's if the engineer's specs don't lie. =P

Wasn't that the real selling point of e-Ink anyways?
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:20 AM   #50
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I'd call that more of a fringe benefit... the primary selling point was that it was "more like paper" to the eye.

I'm not downplaying power drain, but if it's that important, add the option of connecting the device and the screen via a USB cable.

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Old 07-28-2007, 01:40 AM   #51
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When the Palm PDAs came out in color, they featured built-in rechargeable batteries. I haven't gone that route myself, though I have been tempted by the T|X. Customers seemed satisfied to keep the device on a charging cradle when it wasn't in use.

For those for whom long battery life is important, there would be USB eInk dumbscreens. For those who want backlit screens or wireless, there would be a charging cradle or more capacious batteries.

Open standards, plug 'n play and modularity allow many devices to interoperate. It also drives down prices by tempting more manufacturers to participate in creating peripherals. We are also approaching the day when rapid-charge capacitor storage will be practical for handhelds, giving us practically instant recharges, long battery life and many more recharge cycles. Convergence is another factor that makes modularity more attractive. When your reader is also your handheld PDA and your desktop machine too, the ability to connect to different screens, keyboards, pointing devices, storage, network adapters and printers will be very useful.
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:04 AM   #52
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What he said!
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:51 AM   #53
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I understand why shell/kernel access is important, but if people like WinCE PDAs, what would be wrong with it?

Linux != easier, right?
My perfect device would be my HP iPaq Pocket PC with a large, eInk screen. That would open up a huge range of different book-reading apps, including my favourite "uBook".
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:00 AM   #54
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The Perfect Mediccal eBook Reader...

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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?
For me, I want something that will give me portable, reliable and usable access to the many medical reference sources I use in my discipline (psychiatry). Carrying my T3 lets me pack 65lbs. worth of books in my hip pocket. What gets difficult with the Palm is gathering a collaborative consult with others around it's tiny screen, it's plenty big enough for me when I'm working alone, but often the situation is sharing an opinion or clinical info with three or more staff members at once. Having a large, bright, highly portable screen, something that could be passed around would be great in those situations. It would need to have great battery life, bulletproof construction and an idiot-proof interface/OS...

--ryan
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:17 AM   #55
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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.

How'm I doin', johnnaryry?
Right on the money! Unfortunately, most the admin at my facility are behind the 'technology curve', so they're not willing to subsidize kit like that. Of course they're quite happy to reap the benefits when I bring my high-tech gear to work...

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Old 09-29-2007, 08:29 AM   #56
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|2eason,you just speak out what's in my mind.
I woudn't buy a ebook reader which's screen is smaller than 12"1.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:43 PM   #57
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|2eason,you just speak out what's in my mind.
I woudn't buy a ebook reader which's screen is smaller than 12"1.
Unless you're reading a *LOT* of technical manuals in A4/A5 PDF format, you don't know what you're missing. My Bookeen Cybook Gen3 has the ability to select from 11 different font sizes as well as 7 different font families - all without having to re-create and re-load the ebook. So I can, with a few button presses, format the ebook for just the right viewing pleasure. And I've yet to find a novel which can't display comfortably on the 6" screen.

Really, if you have a chance to examine a Cybook, Sony PRS-500, Hanlin V3, NUUT, or iLiad, take it!

Derek
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Old 10-01-2007, 01:10 PM   #58
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Welcome to MobileRead, cdland!

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I woudn't buy a ebook reader which's screen is smaller than 12"1.

Your opinion is your own, of course, cdland, and I wouldn't try to deny it to you, but, egads! I wouldn't want a book that was 12.1" diagonal! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was plenty big enough at ~10", thank you!

I'm quite content with my Sony Reader (the same 6" display as delphidb96's Cybook), it's not much smaller than a standard paperback, and that's plenty of text in a chunk for me.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:50 AM   #59
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imo, ebook reader will be combined with laptop/pda/phone/media player

there will be devices that will have all those features
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:55 AM   #60
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imo, ebook reader will be combined with laptop/pda/phone/media player

there will be devices that will have all those features
Don't you think that the aims of some of these are rather contradictory? I wouldn't want to carry around an "A4" sized phone, or read on a 1" screen .

The flexible, "roll out" plastic screens we should start seeing in a couple of years will probably make "converged" devices a lot more practical (eg a pocket sized bookreader with a roll-out screen), but as long as screens are rigid, there's a clear separate between devices you want to be very small (phones, music players) and those you want to be large (book readers, video players).
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