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Old 09-13-2007, 10:51 PM   #1
NatCh
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ETI (makers of the EB1100) may indeed be working on an E Ink device!

It's been rumored before, but I think we can call it confirmed (now that ETI's President has dropped by and remarked on it today). Besides, we now have photographic evidence that conclusively proves that ETI, makers of the venerable EB1100 are, in fact, working on an e-ink reading device.

If you're wondering why there are no specs included, it's because there are none provided by ETI at the present time, but don't take my word for it, see for yourself.

As you can see, it looks an awful lot like the STAReBOOK, and presumably the Cybook3 (since those devices share roughly the same hardware). There isn't a lot of detail given on it, though it's probably also safe to assume similar hardware capabilities.

I think the real news here is that ETI is looking at making an e-ink device at all.

The EB1100 and its various half-siblings are so beloved by those who use them, that it should be very interesting to see what sort of functional features ETI puts in the accompanying software for the device.

So, what does this do to the e-ink race?

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Old 09-14-2007, 12:19 AM   #2
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The left icons look remarkably similar to the ones on Ebk1150

If these guys make a device as functional as Ebk1150 and with decent conversion tools, it's something to look for. Even though it's passed from an image quality point of view and I rarely use it for myself these days, I am still amazed at how functional, fast and efficient Ebk1150 is. Sony is so far behind it and even 770 while much better than Sony from the functionality point of view is not as good as old Ebk1150.
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:53 AM   #3
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That's the thing that strikes me as noteworthy too -- I've never used one of the older devices, but they have such a loyal fanbase that I figure they must have done something right with them, and I'm interested to see what they do with this one.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:08 AM   #4
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That's the thing that strikes me as noteworthy too -- I've never used one of the older devices, but they have such a loyal fanbase that I figure they must have done something right with them, and I'm interested to see what they do with this one.
If you use a device like Ebk1150 you get spoiled for functionality. You have to do a bit of upfront work to convert to imp (presuming you do not have the file directly) but with the Librarian that is fast and you put all the metadata easily, but then everything is fast, opening, sorting, navigation, text search, moving between books, bookmarking, hyperlinks if any.

Sony is so clunky, the direct page hack helps somewhat but still I avoid using it unless I read a book end to end. Many times I switch between 5-6 books before deciding what to read, or maybe I read 3 pages from book 1, move to book 2, then 3, then I remember I want to read a little from book 4, maybe the next story in book 5, and you simply cannot do that with the Sony. With the 770 it's relatively easy because of the recent booklist feature so you move easily between the last 100 books or so, but with Ebk1150 it's even easier...
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:20 AM   #5
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When I'm switching between multiple books in my Reader, I use the "All Bookmarks" menu (hold down the Mark button to get to it, or click the menu button once if it's the last menu you were on). Of course, that only works if you set bookmarks at your stopping place, and also if you remove old bookmarks as you go. I'm a bit compulsive about my bookmarks (only partly because I use this technique), so it works well for my purposes.

However, I don't mean to detract from what you were saying -- the "Last Read" feature alone would be a big improvement, I can see that easily.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:25 AM   #6
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I'm hoping we wouldn't need to convert to .imp format. If this is the usual hardware being bandied about these days, some form of linux should be used, and I'm hoping for a more open set of formats (including ePub, naturally).
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:53 AM   #7
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I am surprised that everyone is surprised. That picture and info has been on that site since last May.

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Old 09-14-2007, 09:57 AM   #8
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I wondered how long it had been there, I didn't think it was a recent addition.

I checked before posting it, and until Garth Conboy's comment yesterday, all we had was a vague rumor dating back to last December. We may be late to this particular party, but we're reacting the way we are because we did just arrive.
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:48 AM   #9
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So, what does this do to the e-ink race?
Not enough!

See, it gives up on the biggest advantage of the REB100 and 1150 -- their superior physical design. I DON'T WANT another box with buttons in inconvenient places. The REB1100 sits in your hand really really well. The LARGE, WELL PLACED buttons fall naturally under your thumb, almost no matter how you hold it.

This prototype loses all that goodness, in exchange for looking like a near-clone of the other eInk boxes on the market. Why would I replace my PRS500 with this box? I'm not seeing a reason at the moment...
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:03 PM   #10
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This prototype loses all that goodness, in exchange for looking like a near-clone of the other eInk boxes on the market. Why would I replace my PRS500 with this box? I'm not seeing a reason at the moment...
Maybe because of it's unique user interface? From what little I see in the picture the UI looks decidedly different than any of the others out there. Never having used an EB1100 maybe somebody who has can comment on the UI aspects of it? A great UI can make a huge difference in a device- iPod case in point. In any case, the more competition the better- lower prices, more media exposure, more users, more push for common standards and interoperability. It's all good!
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:23 PM   #11
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Not enough!

See, it gives up on the biggest advantage of the REB100 and 1150 -- their superior physical design. I DON'T WANT another box with buttons in inconvenient places. The REB1100 sits in your hand really really well. The LARGE, WELL PLACED buttons fall naturally under your thumb, almost no matter how you hold it.

This prototype loses all that goodness, in exchange for looking like a near-clone of the other eInk boxes on the market. Why would I replace my PRS500 with this box? I'm not seeing a reason at the moment...
Here, here. The only software feature I liked is annotation and exporting it later with rbmake. The rest where all in the shape and buttons. It was a device to fit in your hand, not a rectangular pad you handle with the tips of your fingers. If reading with REB1100 can be compared chopping the fire wood with an axe, the Sony can be compared with doing the same using the axe without handle.
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:23 PM   #12
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Device comment

I certianly agree with many of the above comments. The pictured device is, as advertised, a prototype. From a firmware/software perspective it might be close to what we could consider a "real product." But, from a mechanical design perspective it's not there -- the button placement is not viable, page turning is non-obvious, no touch input, et al.

So, while potentially interesting -- allowing us to experiment with new platforms and technologies and demonstrate some of our forthcoming standards work (http://www.ebooktechnologies.com/press_2007050901.htm) -- it's not a product!
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:32 PM   #13
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I certianly agree with many of the above comments. The pictured device is, as advertised, a prototype. From a firmware/software perspective it might be close to what we could consider a "real product." But, from a mechanical design perspective it's not there -- the button placement is not viable, page turning is non-obvious, no touch input, et al.
GOOD!

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So, while potentially interesting -- allowing us to experiment with new platforms and technologies and demonstrate some of our forthcoming standards work (http://www.ebooktechnologies.com/press_2007050901.htm) -- it's not a product!
Now get out there and start shipping a device like the one I really want. All the yummy handheld goodness of the mechanical design of the REB1100/1150, but with the readability of the eInk displays. By the way, touch input matters far FAR less to me than the two above attributes.

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