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Old 06-12-2011, 11:56 AM   #1
J. Strnad
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Have ereader development peaked?

With the new Nook and Kobo touchscreen readers, I'm concerned that we're going to look back and decide that ereaders peaked in their development with the previous generation.

Are we now in a race to the bottom, where features like physical page turn buttons disappear (as in the Kobo, not yet in the Nook) in favor of a bunch of hoo-hah like finger swiping to turn a page that doesn't even exist?

Will quality of construction suffer in that race to be the cheapest?

I saw this happen with VHS recorders back in the day, where prices went down and so did picture quality until I found myself longing for my old, heavy machine that actually delivered a decent picture.

Maybe I should be stocking up on K3's.
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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oh, I don't think so at all. I think the future of e-readers is as far off from the current kindle and nook as current computers as far off from the old building sized computers
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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Room for advancement is somewhat limited with a dedicated purpose device, but there's still progress to be had. Display quality and cpu speed are where the advancements will likely be focused, along with software tweaking.

We can speculate about uber-devices that provide displays that can both simulate paper and provide full motion multimedia etc and so forth. Short-term, though, I think we're gonna see contrast/resolution improvements, speed improvements, and then a brief plateau until a major display tech evolution occurs. Color e-ink will be somewhere in there, after a generation or two of monochrome improvements. imo.

Touch/button navigation is a design and ergonomics issue, not so much a result of technology advancements. The decisions there are gonna rest on consumer preference, which itself is in a stage of development.

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Old 06-12-2011, 02:20 PM   #4
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Maybe I should be stocking up on K3's.
I'm hording K2's, myself.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:25 PM   #5
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Lots of room for advancement.
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #6
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As I've said several times before, 10 years from now, people will laugh at what slow, expensive, clunky, primitive dinosaurs today's best ebook readers are, the same way we see the laptop computers of 10 years ago and the desktop computers of 20 years ago.

The ebook reader of 10 years from now will have:

A bistable color display with the battery life of current eink but the refresh speed and resolution of "retina" LCD.

At least 32 GB of internal memory (because nobody will bother to make chips much smaller, the same way you would be hard-pressed to find an 8 MB flash drive today.)

It will be half the thickness and half the weight of today's readers.

It will cost less than $100.

The only place you will find Kindle 3s 10 years from now is gathering dust on the shelves at Goodwill beside the 8-track players.

(Oh, and if advances in use of graphene continue to advance, that reader will likely have a CPU at least as powerful as today's desktop computers, without drawing more power than the turtles used in today's ebook readers.)

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Old 06-12-2011, 04:01 PM   #7
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I know there was a news report about electronic paper, which used e-ink, and could be used as a phone, or e-reader, or computer. It was a prototype if I remember correctly but I can see them appearing in 5-years or so. One piece of paper with all your e-books on.

Here is one of the news articles: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sec...ogy&id=8121952
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:18 PM   #8
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As I've said several times before, 10 years from now, people will laugh at what slow, expensive, clunky, primitive dinosaurs today's best ebook readers are
Maybe. But other than screen clarity, I can't think of one technological advance that would improve my current ebook reading experience. How will faster, thinner, and more capacity enhance my "Buy Book, Turn pages" habits? To be perfectly honest, I think we've already blown past the Rube Goldberg point with todays eReaders.
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:29 PM   #9
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Maybe. But other than screen clarity, I can't think of one technological advance that would improve my current ebook reading experience. How will faster, thinner, and more capacity enhance my "Buy Book, Turn pages" habits? To be perfectly honest, I think we've already blown past the Rube Goldberg point with todays eReaders.
Oh, come on. I strongly prefer eink to a backlit LCD, but that large fraction of a second to change a page-- and even larger one to change a greyscale page-- makes the reader look like something out of the Flintstones. Are you really saying a page change time of 1/30th of a second instead of a change time of 1/2 of a second wouldn't improve the quality of the reading experience?

And beyond the page turn speed, the CPU speed-- when I place or remove a bookmark on a page, it takes probably at least 5 seconds for it to appear/disappear. On any computer you use (even single purpose ones) if there is a noticeable delay between choosing "do this" and "this" being finished, then there is room for a quality-of-use improvement in the technology. There will be future CPU speed improvements without sacrificing battery life.

And when I went from my 300 to my 350, I just wasn't willing to put up with the 300 anymore-- it felt like a brick in my hands after using the 350. I'd love to have a few more ounces shaved off the weight of the 350.

Current eink based readers are a clumsy cludge that are the best we can currently do with delivering a "paper-like" reading experience, but I refuse to believe that current eink is the best that is physically possible, and that we have already discovered the optimal combination of atoms for a "paper-like" display. I fully expect new discoveries to be made that allow for much faster page refreshes, much whiter whites, and high-resolution color without sacrificing battery life without relying on unobtanium-- this isn't building a space elevator.


I'll resay it-- people of 10 years from now will look at the best eink reader on the market today-- and laaaaaaaugh.

"640 KB is good enough for everyone."

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Old 06-12-2011, 04:49 PM   #10
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Brief preface: the Kobo "page turn tap" seems to work really well; no swiping required. It's a knack, but you master it quickly; just as you did the funny square ring navi pad of the K3 which the first few times seemed awkward. I can easily turn pages tapping with the side of my right thumb.

It has taken four years of development and we've come to a happy place: always connected via "free" wifi; touch screen; deep libraries of books to purchase in Kindle and ePub; Pearl screen; evolution to an "ideal" form factor somewhere in the single-page quality paper book dimension; light-weight; long battery life; pretty much no brainer every day usage including purchase flow. Not bad. I expect "customer satisfaction" for today's mainstream ereaders is pretty high -- great tools and priced affordably with "all the bells and whistles" available for under $150.

Lots can still be done: better screens; colour; variations for picture books and magazines without needing to go whole hog to tablets; better on device content management; enhanced text-to-speech; enhanced notation and shared notations; much deeper social media integration; on device on the fly translation; faster processors ... lots of goodies to come.

Hopefully, in the eink end of the spectrum, the industry will keep an eye on Kobo. Their schtick has been: Simple. At first that meant small feature set but barely a year later they have dramatically enhanced the ereader and the Kobo platform without sacrificing Simple. Amazon has done a great job with Kindle 3 yet to get to some additional features is not as simple.

In short: we've got to a great place and there is almost certainly more to come. I suspect 24 months from now we'll be applauding the progress of 2012 and 2013 even in the eink end of ereaders.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:18 PM   #11
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Are you really saying a page change time of 1/30th of a second instead of a change time of 1/2 of a second wouldn't improve the quality of the reading experience?
That's what I'm saying, yes. At least not my experience. I don't notice "page turns" now—even with their current unbearable slowness—so apparently, I'm not being hindered in any way.

Screen clarity is the only thing I'm looking forward to seeing improve. The rest is whistles and bells. Really cool whistles and bells, but still...
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:55 PM   #12
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As ebook software advances, words will become blacker, textier, and use more letters than ever before. Consumers will be reading harder, and authors will be writing sentences far exceeding the capability of our current devices. Hardware will need to meet these demands. Just look at a Texas Instruments graphing calculator from 10 years ago. They didn't even come in orange.
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:08 PM   #13
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As ebook software advances, words will become blacker, textier, and use more letters than ever before. Consumers will be reading harder, and authors will be writing sentences far exceeding the capability of our current devices. Hardware will need to meet these demands.
I think I just peed a little.

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Old 06-12-2011, 06:14 PM   #14
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As ebook software advances, words will become blacker, textier, and use more letters than ever before. Consumers will be reading harder, and authors will be writing sentences far exceeding the capability of our current devices. Hardware will need to meet these demands. Just look at a Texas Instruments graphing calculator from 10 years ago. They didn't even come in orange.
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Old 06-12-2011, 07:25 PM   #15
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I didn't see anyone mention the feature I am waiting for - an ereader with a roll-up screen. I busted the screen on my first K3 by sticking it in my back pocket and then forgetting and sitting on it. I really would like an ereader with a cigar tube form-factor with a pull-out screen. It wouldn't have to be color or have a faster refresh rate than the current ereaders.

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