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View Poll Results: Which best describes your opinion?
I absolutely must have some sort of integrated lighting (backlighting or frontlighting) 27 43.55%
The clarity of eInk screens is more important to me than integrated lighting 23 37.10%
Either way is fine with me, neither is a deal-breaker 12 19.35%
Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-11-2007, 05:29 PM   #1
DaleDe
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Looking for a next generation eb1150

Over at the fictionwise group on yahoo we have been kicking around the idea of a revised or new eb1150 style unit. I thought I would share some of it here. I have collected most of the update ideas on my web page: http://users.cwnet.com/dalede/eb1150.html

The idea is that the current new products are all too expensive and have no backlight. There is a demand in the mass market for cheaper devices and many who still want a device with a backlight to use in bed or in the evening. The goal is to stay under $150 for the full device or $100 would be even better. There is no need for a multipurpose device but it must be a good ebook reader. The eb1150 was chosen as a starting point as it is the cheapest device available today. Many folks find that it is the reader they most like but it is getting behind the curve in technology.

Two approaches have been explored so far.

1. Replace the firmware and support software with new releases that adds new needed features and replace the backcover of the unit with a cover that has a replaceable battery (20 hour min life) and a modern memory card. This would hopefully be upgradeable to existing units.

2. Using the idea of the eb1150 as a model come up with a new replacement device that has a touch screen, a LCD or equivalent display, with a backlight and more resolution in a box that is about the size of the current eb1150. The eink technology is rejected due to its high cost, its lack of a touch screen, lack of a reasonable light, and the low value of gray scale.

Any ideas you might have would be appreciated. I will update the wish list on my site for ideas that I think are workable given the size, cost, and other goals. One big idea is to use the 7 inch display currently proposed for the cheap laptop effort which can achieve 200 dpi in grayscale mode.

We are hoping to interest ebook technologies, maker of the eb1150 in pursuing this.

Dale
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:52 PM   #2
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Why is it that people cannot get it that EINK IS NOT ABLE TO HAVE A BACKLIGHT and just get over it?
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:13 PM   #3
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That seems to be what they're trying to do, JSWolf -- accept that they can't have e-ink and a back-light at the same time, and get on with figuring out the best arrangement they can have without e-ink.

One minor nit to pick, while I'm in here: you can do touch screen with e-ink, either as wacom or as actual touch (like a Palm) -- I recall reading about it a couple of years ago on e-ink's site.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
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That seems to be what they're trying to do, JSWolf -- accept that they can't have e-ink and a back-light at the same time, and get on with figuring out the best arrangement they can have without e-ink.

One minor nit to pick, while I'm in here: you can do touch screen with e-ink, either as wacom or as actual touch (like a Palm) -- I recall reading about it a couple of years ago on e-ink's site.
Yea, Illiad does this but at what cost! I have also seen units with a small touch screen at the bottom to control items on the display but again much more cost. Seemly can't be done cheaply.

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:39 PM   #5
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Yea, Illiad does this but at what cost! I have also seen units with a small touch screen at the bottom to control items on the display but again much more cost. Seemly can't be done cheaply.

Dale
Have you thought about the V3 with Wifi and Wacom? Cost with shipping will be around $400.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:41 PM   #6
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The cost comes from the same thing that makes the back-light unfeasible: the e-ink panel. A six inch one like the Reader's costs something like $200 all by itself. That should improve as they get better at making them ... and as PVI's manufacturing monopoly expires, whenever that is. Hopefully, it won't be too long before some wiseguy figures out how to build in an acceptable front-lighting device (a la Lightwedge), and that problem will be solved. ( again)
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:46 PM   #7
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Have you thought about the V3 with Wifi and Wacom? Cost with shipping will be around $400.
sure, I am following them all. How close is $400 to the requirement to be < $150? Early adopters will pay whatever the cost but to main stream the technology you have to have cheap units. Then you move people up as the technology has proven itself and people see the value.

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Old 09-12-2007, 02:23 AM   #8
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The eb1150 is a great product. My wishes for a follow-on product would be:
1/ replaceable batteries like the older Palm devices with a similar battery life.
2/ Reverse video option with backlighting like the older Palm devices.
3/ Support for SD cards and a filesystem manager to move and delete files.
4/ Lighter weight, if possible.
5/ USB 2.0 connection that makes reader appear as an external hard drive.
6/ Support for additional file types: TXT, HTML, ePub, RTF with images.
7/ Ability to run other reader apps like Mobipocket reader (thus DRM).
8/ An open source OS with published API.

I think a cheap monochrome LCD of the size of the Sony Reader is sufficient. Color eats batteries and increases cost. Audio is unnecessary.

PS, I wouldn't mind seeing Palm offer a reader-sized monochrome Palm device.

Last edited by mogui; 09-12-2007 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:59 PM   #9
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Why is it that people cannot get it that EINK IS NOT ABLE TO HAVE A BACKLIGHT and just get over it?
Why can't YOU realize that some of us don't like e-Ink and would like to have a backlit device? I believe you responded to me in much the same way when I stressed my feeling about having a backlight in another thread.

To the original poster: I've been all over trying to find a next generation LCD Backlit device and it seems like the only reading devices coming out are the e-Ink devices we are getting shoved down our throats. I would be willing to fork out up to $300 on a device that supported many of the features you folks have mentioned above. Just for reading. The closest thing to this right now is a small tablet PC which is expensive or a UMPC, which can also be expensive (and both of these options have far more features than I require).

I was wondering what the previous poster who mentioned older Palm devices meant by their backlight type. Is that the Palm with these greenish backlight? Didn't the Hiebook have a backlight like this and many folks considered the eb-1150 to be superior? Just wondering, I've only ever seen pictures of a Hiebook but I was thinking of buying one off eBay.

I really wish Palm would make an e-reading device that was the size of the eb-1150 with an LCD screen. That would be so nice.
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:30 AM   #10
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Some comments on the EBW-1150 and EInk

The eBookwise-1150 (hardware-wise originally the REB-1100 or the GEB-1150; firmware-wise upgraded from the GEB-1150) [aka the eBook Technologies, Inc. ETI-2] was originally designed and manufactured in 2000/2001 and subsequently re-manufactured in 2002/2003. Due to the age of the design substantive hardware modifications are unlikely -- though, especially given it's price point, it remains a surprisingly functional and "non stale" device. However, one could envision certain hardware enhancements that would be possible (e.g. enlarging internal memory [currently 8MB NAND Flash] and replacing the internal battery with a higher capacity one).

Firmware (the software running inside the device) in another issue. The firmware has been updated numerous times since it was introduced in late 2004 as the eBookwise-1150. The firmware version that the current units are built with is 4.2f17 (we should/will make this generally available for server installation shortly). The 4.2f17 changes (from 4.1f43) are described at the end of this message. Such features as bookshelf sorting control were incrementally added during the 4.1 versions. Additional bug fixes and enhancements (to firmware and content tools) are likely.

Now a few comments about EInk screens. We have been doing some public prototyping work (http://www.ebooktechnologies.com/toureinkproto.htm) and have other non-public projects under way.

There are clearly technical and religious tradeoffs between LCD and EInk. EInk can not be back-lit. EInk (with smart software) can only use power when "turning pages." There are possible ways to think about "front lighting" EInk (with the power-use downside). No current EInk devices (except Irex, as far as I know) use a touch-screen with EInk. However, both use of Wacom-style below-the-screen and resitive on-top touch-screens are possible. Of course, LCDs are bright, are likely back-lit, can be read in bed at night, and use a lot of power.

I think the moral to the screen story is that far from all possibilities have been productized to date -- so there will likely be interesting new approaches taken in the coming years.

Best,
Garth Conboy
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http://www.eBookTechnologies.com

Changes from 4.1 to 4.2f17 EBW-1150/ETI-2 firmware:
  • The firmware now supports manufacturing-installed configuration settings. This allows site- or enterprise-specific capabilities or functionality to be configured using standard released firmware.
  • A problem on the grayscale eBook that could cause spurious lines to be drawn when inking with the screen rotated has been resolved.
  • If a book has an anchor of the form '<a name="TOC" />' the "goto TOC" shortcut will now (again) correctly find the page and switch to it.
  • Cross platform content viewing has been enhanced to support alignment adjustment without endian adjustment in certain 16-bit to 32-bit situations.
  • Fixed a bug that occurred when setting a bookmark such that the bookmark's page number was being calculated unnecessarily. Which wasn't really noticeable on small books, but was very noticeable on books with lots of pages (like, 10,000 pages, for example).
  • A problem with handling the "cellpadding" attribute of the "table" element has been corrected; right-hand-side spacing is now inserted correctly.
  • The "margin-left" and "margin-right" CSS properties now correctly calculate margins as relative to their containing block.
  • When rebooting to start the dial-up modem or continue after firmware installation, the devices now correctly retain the state of the previously requested operation: auto-wakeup, manual-auto-connect, manual trip to bookstore or bookshelf.
  • Get the status-spinner down when opening a title that contains 100's of markups.
  • After a page is rendered, save any markups made to the previously viewed page.
  • A potential crash when highlighting has been fixed.
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:16 AM   #11
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I was wondering what the previous poster who mentioned older Palm devices meant by their backlight type. Is that the Palm with these greenish backlight? Didn't the Hiebook have a backlight like this and many folks considered the eb-1150 to be superior? Just wondering, I've only ever seen pictures of a Hiebook but I was thinking of buying one off eBay.
The first Palm I ever had was monochrome. The greenish backlight was really dim -- only really useful in the dark, but that was just fine. It was possible to turn on the backlight and then show the screen in reverse video so only the letters were lit. That made it very easy to read in the dark. I never noticed any eyestrain.

Now my Palm device is an M125. Normally it does not show reverse video, but eReader allows it. The M125 has the same dim backlighting -- good for the batteries. If you like to read in bed or in a darkened airplane, the monochrome Palm is perfect. As for screen size, how many of us prefer the narrow columns in newspapers and magazines? It is a little easier to read as almost no eye movement is required. The only difference between that and a large screen then is the frequency of page turns. A little exercise is beneficial.

Another big plus for the Palm is that the two AAA batteries last about a month and spares are easy to find. You can use the rechargeables too, if you like. Many readers are available for it. My M125 cost US$29 refurbished. It holds a 1G SD card too. And of course you can play games and tote your data and . . .
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:00 PM   #12
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I've been all over trying to find a next generation LCD Backlit device and it seems like the only reading devices coming out are the e-Ink devices we are getting shoved down our throats.
I get that the backlighting is more important to some folks than the greater readability e-ink affords, so I'm not trying to talk you out of that preference -- I may not share it, but you have a right to your preferences without having to defend them (as long as they're legal moral and ethical, anyway ).

Okay, that said, I wanted to ask, do you think that an integrated frontlight (like a lightwedge type of approach) would work for your needs?

I've long thought that this would be the best solution for compensating for e-ink's opaqueness, and I don't think that it would have that much impact on battery life if it could be turned on only when needed. Besides it would have the advantage of giving some protection to the display. But I digress.
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:38 PM   #13
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It's great to see someone from ETI stopping in. Welcome!

I was perfectly happy with my eBookwise 1150, except for its inability to read PDFs, and its lack of openness. (If I could have easily exported my notes from the eBw 1150, I might still be using it-- someone did figure out how to split PDFs into linked jpegs just after I bought the iLiad.) These were the reasons that I went for the iLiad -- more so than the e ink. The higher pixel density of e ink is nice, but not critical, especially considering how much it adds to the cost.

As something I could recommend to others, an updated ETI device would certainly be in the running. My requirements are pretty much the same as mogui's, especially the open OS, which would let community developers enhance the functionality of the device. The only other suggestion I'd have would be to look at bistable LCD, to reduce power consumption.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:46 PM   #14
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Thanks Garth Conboy for stopping by and letting us know that there is still a future for the eb1150. I for one had hoped so which is why I generated this thread and responded to the one in fictionwise outlining some things that people would like to see moving forward.

A lot can be done with changes to ebook publisher to allow it to work with some of the new items. By the way, I have generated an eb1150 book on ebook publisher by reformatting the help for the smaller book. Is it ok to post it in this group?

If there is any way I can help with the updates please let me know.

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I get that the backlighting is more important to some folks than the greater readability e-ink affords, so I'm not trying to talk you out of that preference -- I may not share it, but you have a right to your preferences without having to defend them (as long as they're legal moral and ethical, anyway ).

Okay, that said, I wanted to ask, do you think that an integrated frontlight (like a lightwedge type of approach) would work for your needs?

I've long thought that this would be the best solution for compensating for e-ink's opaqueness, and I don't think that it would have that much impact on battery life if it could be turned on only when needed. Besides it would have the advantage of giving some protection to the display. But I digress.
I would have to try and to know for certain but I think it would do just fine. I spend a lot of time reading at night, in bed, and my wife hates a normal light on. Other than that issue, I would love to have an e-Ink reader.
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