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Old 09-04-2012, 01:36 PM   #61
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I doubt anyone in the world is truly unique, though some flatter themselves so.

Look, I get your soft-hearted stance for eReaders. I like them, too. I would never want to read books on a tablet if I had the choice. So I agree with you (except about buying the DX. That's just terribly overpriced.) about the virtues of eInk. But I might not have the choice for much longer.

But you really are thinking wishfully (huh?) if you think that tablet sales do not affect eReaders. They do. For every person you know who buys a tablet and an eReader, there are a dozen who will not buy an eReader because "I can just read my books on my iPad/Kindle Fire/Nexus 7." .
I have lost count of the times I have heard that. It is usually followed a few weeks later with "Hey, look at my new Kindle/Sony/Nook etc.

I think it comes back to whether the person is a heavy reader or not. People who don't read a lot can compromise. People like me, who read one or two books per day will not consider using a tablet. Older people who already have eyesight problems find that using an active screen for prolonged reading is detrimental to their vision. Many older people are using eReaders - check and see who is borrowing books at your local library. There is another issue. Many older people can't handle technology, they can't use a computer or a tablet effectively, they can't use a TV remote effectively in many cases, but they can use an eReader as it is so simple to operate. . (As long as someone else loads the books onto it.)

My Mother-in-Law is in a retirement "Resort" . When I visit I see dozens of old ladies with eReaders. The staff love them - it keeps them busy for hours every day.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:49 PM   #62
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From Wiki:
"Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially cancelled."

So I repeat: until such devices actually make it to market, I will consider them vaporware.
You do that - I have a more realistic approach to technology.


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No, I cannot. Didn't you say you write about technology? Are you telling me you are truly that disbelieving of the idea that an announced prototype might not come to fruition? Seriously? You've never heard of this happening?
So rarely that I wouldn't use it as a basis to give credence to one of the most popular devices in modern history not being further developed. I would give it as much credence as a rumour that Apple was giving up electronics and going into the fertiliser business.


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Neither are they signing an affidavit that they will, come hell or high water, put that patent into production. It just means they have a patent on the technology, to safeguard against the possibility of someone else getting to it before they can.
Right -" before they can."

In a cutthroat industry they will keep it on the backburner. E Ink Holdings Inc., while this is happening will just sit and twiddle their thumbs or maybe take up knitting until Amazon et al., is ready.

Not going to happen.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:58 PM   #63
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I think it comes back to whether the person is a heavy reader or not. People who don't read a lot can compromise. People like me, who read one or two books per day will not consider using a tablet. Older people who already have eyesight problems find that using an active screen for prolonged reading is detrimental to their vision. Many older people are using eReaders - check and see who is borrowing books at your local library. There is another issue. Many older people can't handle technology, they can't use a computer or a tablet effectively, they can't use a TV remote effectively in many cases, but they can use an eReader as it is so simple to operate. . (As long as someone else loads the books onto it.)

My Mother-in-Law is in a retirement "Resort" . When I visit I see dozens of old ladies with eReaders. The staff love them - it keeps them busy for hours every day.
Again, on a personal level I agree with you. I, too, feel eReaders are vastly superior to tablets for reading. Neither I - nor most of the people here - are arguing from you on that point.

What we are pointing out is the simple reality. As much as we enjoy eInk, we are clearly in the minority. Regular readers are a niche. Readers who are as heavy as you (reading upwards of a book a day) are a small niche even among readers. A business cannot thrive in the long run when their customer base is that small. Not unless they are making a killing on every device sold (which eReader manufacturers aren't).

Add in the fact that even by your own admission, their own target demographic only buys devices rarely, and that is not a model that will survive for long. Sales will keep falling and falling, until eventually the numbers are small enough that it is no longer feasible to cater to that market.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #64
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You do that - I have a more realistic approach to technology.
In your mind, and your mind only. Believing every rumor, prototype and hype isn't my idea of "realistic" but I suppose we can't all view the world with the same optimism that you do.

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So rarely that I wouldn't use it as a basis to give credence to one of the most popular devices in modern history not being further developed.
You know what else was one of the most popular devices in modern history? The BlackBerry. And the company that makes them is rapidly approaching extinction.

Your attitude, in many ways, is reminiscent of the former CEO of RIM. He, too, refused to see a rapidly emerging market (the iPhone and the subsequent smartphone explosion) as a threat, claiming that the people who bought those were not like their customers. Their customers were loyal. Their customers wanted something only BlackBerry could give them. Their customers couldn't care less about the damn iPhone. Just a pretty toy, that's all that is.

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Right -" before they can."

In a cutthroat industry they will keep it on the backburner. E Ink Holdings Inc., while this is happening will just sit and twiddle their thumbs or maybe take up knitting until Amazon et al., is ready.

Not going to happen.
Yeah, because E-Ink Holdings hasn't done shit in the last two years. In fact, take away the incremental improvements in eInk screen technology, and they really haven't done anything significant in several years. So pardon my skepticism over the idea that they are the innovators of the future.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:34 PM   #65
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You might not believe it but the retail companies who are selling them do as they are who are claiming that the market has peaked. For three years they were one of the most popular Christmas presents, then last year they dropped back slightly.
Which retail companies? Your view seems slightly parochial. As I said, this may be true for Australia but in continental Europe e-books and e-readers are still in a rather early stage - and these markets are considerably bigger than Australia's. A company that sells its products across the globe can compensate for a saturated market by increasing its sales to other markets. However, in many markets there is the danger that e-books are going to be associated with tablets and smartphones if e-ink cannot establish itself there. I believe you are kidding yourself if you believe that the more casual readers will not want to read on a tablet. Larger smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy SIII and its Note are probably also quite competent readers.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #66
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An offset press at maximum resolution needs a high quality (and much more expensive) paper to be effective. A good magazine will provide such quality, but a newspaper or a conventional paperback book won't. Grab yourself a jeweler's loupe and compare a paperback novel to the output of a 300dpi Laser. (Though most nowadays are 600 or better.) The resolution from eInk won't match a photograph, but it effectively matches a mass produced book.

When you think about it, although a current iPad's Retina screen is quite effective, most WEB sites still use 72 DPI for graphics. [irrelevant 3D stuff deleted]
Logic and/or factual errors:
300 dpi /= eInk
mass produced book /= pulp paperbacks
web IMAGES /= eInk (or web) font TEXT

Again, e-reader screens would be substantially better if they had:
- higher resolution (dpi); doubling the linear resolution from 167 dpi (Pearl 6") to 334 dpi would be fine.
- higher contrast (currently only 10:1 for Pearl); deep black on glossy paper can be 300:1; 100:1 on eInk would be very nice. 10:1 is too low for too many viewing conditions.
- 256 gray levels instead of 16 (useful for both text and graphics)
- faster page turns; I don't know if this is a problem with the display itself or the software. The 800MHz TI OMAP processor in the Nook ST is fast enough, if it has enough RAM to lay out the next page ahead of time.

On the color and brightness of light issue, I encourage everyone to have a look at http://stereopsis.com/flux/ (from the guy who wrote Picasa, purchased by Google). That is a nice little utility for a PC/iPad/iPhone used at night. Blue light keeps you awake more than redder light. Even the LEDs in the Nook STG should have more yellow, green, and red, and less blue. "White" LEDs are not good for use at night, they have too much blue.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:52 PM   #67
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The odd thing to me about forums like this is that every discussion seems to become polemical.

I don't know about you, but I'm here chiefly for information and to discuss ideas. If I'd intended to validate my manhood in a (conceptually) sweaty tough-off, this would be a rather odd parking lot in which to make the attempt.

My learned colleague on one side feels that e-ink is here to stay. My learned colleague on the other disagrees. Why the exasperation? No one has to agree and no one's intellect need be compared to garden vegetables.

The idea that eink is stagnating due to monopolization by the company that makes eink screens is interesting, but doesn't every player from Apple to Samsung to Microsoft aspire to become a monopoly no matter how charitable they try to appear? Why is E Ink Corp. being singled out for having attained that temporary position for a limited market? Would that that were not so, but it's so for a lot of other companies, too. Welcome to Durm & Stranglehold, 2012 A.D.

In a sense, eink was always outmoded by other screen tech, so its enduring niche is created by a lack of versatility in other media. The retina display goes a long way toward increasing the versatility of LCD, as have an improved refresh rate and other factors, but it doesn't erase the need for eink completely -- not yet, at least.

The eink screen seems, in essence, a specialized substitute for physical media. The newest iterations of the screen even look and feel like mutating pieces of laminated paper. It's very possible we'll use a suite of devices for different purposes and that something like eink will persist in some capacity, either as a device with controls, digital paper, or a kind of paper-thin display which we'll attach to other devices as we do rubber skins to smartphones.

There will always be times when the eye wishes to continue reading but is fatigued by bright screens. That physical necessity seems to imply we need eink or whatever will replace it over time.

In one sense, it might well be that e-readers are a transitional device to accommodate the habits of earlier generations. But on the nether hind, many people from every generation would prefer not to gaze at backlit screens 100% of the time, and physical books can create too much clutter in an increasingly synoptic-urban world.

Would it be unacceptable for me to say I think both sides are partly correct?

Deranged Hermit:

Thanks for the useful post.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:55 PM   #68
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In your mind, and your mind only. Believing every rumor, prototype and hype isn't my idea of "realistic" but I suppose we can't all view the world with the same optimism that you do.


You know what else was one of the most popular devices in modern history? The BlackBerry. And the company that makes them is rapidly approaching extinction.

Your attitude, in many ways, is reminiscent of the former CEO of RIM. He, too, refused to see a rapidly emerging market (the iPhone and the subsequent smartphone explosion) as a threat, claiming that the people who bought those were not like their customers. Their customers were loyal. Their customers wanted something only BlackBerry could give them. Their customers couldn't care less about the damn iPhone. Just a pretty toy, that's all that is.


Yeah, because E-Ink Holdings hasn't done shit in the last two years. In fact, take away the incremental improvements in eInk screen technology, and they really haven't done anything significant in several years. So pardon my skepticism over the idea that they are the innovators of the future.
E-Ink is a supplier of screens. While I doubt that they have been idle, they aren't the issue. It is the companies like Amazon who make the devices. As for RIM, I agree - they were very badly managed. This was apparent for quite some time. I traded my BlackBerry 9500 for an iPhone several years ago.

Well it has been fun - well maybe not fun, but distracting. You have an opinion, I have one that differs, only time will determine who is correct. This thread started with a complaint that there was not enough innovation and "new" features - with regard to the screen. I contend that there will be a number of device changes, with my contention supported by patent applications, prototypes, market demand, and press releases from several of the players involved. You choose to dismiss all of this and in some strange way try to use RIM and its problems to support your thesis. RIM has been imploding for years, Amazon has strong growth. I don't see a connection.

At this stage there seems to be little point in going further. We will just bore everyone.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:04 PM   #69
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The complaint about lack of innovation is as valid as it was at the beginning of the thread. As all manufacturers seem to be stuck with the same display it is fair to assume that this situation is caused by E-ink's lack of innovation and product variations.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:29 PM   #70
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The lack seems to be that of mass-producible innovation. I'd love to see couture e-ink devices that could be tailored to individual needs. Perhaps then we'd see that high-res e-ink screen in the field instead of annually at E Ink Corp.'s table of possibilities.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #71
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E-Ink is a supplier of screens. While I doubt that they have been idle, they aren't the issue. It is the companies like Amazon who make the devices. As for RIM, I agree - they were very badly managed. This was apparent for quite some time. I traded my BlackBerry 9500 for an iPhone several years ago.

Well it has been fun - well maybe not fun, but distracting. You have an opinion, I have one that differs, only time will determine who is correct. This thread started with a complaint that there was not enough innovation and "new" features - with regard to the screen. I contend that there will be a number of device changes, with my contention supported by patent applications, prototypes, market demand, and press releases from several of the players involved. You choose to dismiss all of this and in some strange way try to use RIM and its problems to support your thesis. RIM has been imploding for years, Amazon has strong growth. I don't see a connection.

At this stage there seems to be little point in going further. We will just bore everyone.
I, for one, enjoy these types of threads. Learning opposing views and new information about technology takes place best in polemical discussions, in my experience. Thanks for your participation DarkScribe. Your points have been well stated.

I also agree with your above statement; it is the eReader producers, not E Ink alone, that is to blame for the stagnation of eReader displays. The price wars between B&N, Amazon, Kobo, Sony, and others have caused a real drop in eReader quality. Everyone is trying to sell the $50 reader today, and you just won't get the quality that you would with a $200 device. The Kindle 2 was a solid, beautifully made eReader. The Kindle Touch is not (the speakers have even noticeably gotten worse from generation to generation). Until readers protest getting the same devices, with only superficial upgrades, over and over again, we will be left with "satisfaction," but not excellence.

I would like to hear what you think after the Kindle press conference! Do return!
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:57 PM   #72
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The lack seems to be that of mass-producible innovation. I'd love to see couture e-ink devices that could be tailored to individual needs. Perhaps then we'd see that high-res e-ink screen in the field instead of annually at E Ink Corp.'s table of possibilities.
Excellent idea. It would me a manufacturing nightmare, but it would be nice to have some more options with more easily modified components, like E Ink screens.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:05 PM   #73
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Sure, DarkScribe, the current Pearl display is functional, but so are the displays on the iPad 1, and the archaic Sony PRS 500. Technological advances are often not based on necessities.
I agree with most, but not this.

iPads (and other glare type IPS TFTs) are *HORRIBLE* outside in sunlight, eInk is fine.

The same applies to most multi-lightsource situations like offices and such, where you can't control point-source lights and have to read a lot.

And no, it's not an opinion, it's an optical ergonomics fact that can easily be (and has been) tested objectively.

The reflections and glare cause both extra micro-saccades in eye muscles and tire eyes out faster.

So, no. Glare IPS displays are not the answer for actual reading of small point size text, diagrams, etc. requiring accurate optical tracking. Movies for 2 hours, and casual web surfing maybe. Reading under varied conditions, day-in, day-out. Definitely not.

Of course you *can* do it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

As such, I'm also very disappointment that the breakthroughs in color-displays and higher resolution screens has stalled almost completely.

Where are the full-hd 1920x1080 resolution, even 12-bit colour eInk displays?

Those would be great for reading. I couldn't care less about video or web-browsing, but reading books, with colour diagrams and photos without the constant need to zoom-in/zoom-out. Now that would be a breakthrough.

None of the current readers on the market get anywhere near close as this.

And there's nothing announced in the pipeline that I know of.

That's why I'm almost ready to break down and just buy an Asus TF700 (1900x1200, glare IPS) and a stack of different type of anti-reflection screen protectors to play with / try out with it.

The Moore's law clearly hasn't been introduced to eInk displays, that's for sure.

If we had $50-$100 high res colour dsiplays available from every maker, these things would sell like tons, even if you couldn't check your facebook on them. There are enough of people out there who just want to do real stuff on their displays, and not just play with iApps

So, if anybody knows of a big enough (9-11") with high resolution (1920x1200 minimum) display reader with a matte screen, please chime in.

Now I'm limping along with my Sony 650, but it's really only good for text-only books in epub form. PDFs are a total pain to read on that and maths/physics papers or books with colour diagrams : forget it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:10 PM   #74
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I agree with most, but not this.

iPads (and other glare type IPS TFTs) are *HORRIBLE* outside in sunlight, eInk is fine.

The same applies to most multi-lightsource situations like offices and such, where you can't control point-source lights and have to read a lot.

And no, it's not an opinion, it's an optical ergonomics fact that can easily be (and has been) tested objectively.

The reflections and glare cause both extra micro-saccades in eye muscles and tire eyes out faster.

So, no. Glare IPS displays are not the answer for actual reading of small point size text, diagrams, etc. requiring accurate optical tracking. Movies for 2 hours, and casual web surfing maybe. Reading under varied conditions, day-in, day-out. Definitely not.

Of course you *can* do it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Yeah, I was just pointing out that according to DarkScribe's satisfactory standard, you could stick with older technology for as long as you like, but the fact is there are numerous improvements that you would be missing out on if you did.

Sounds like we are both waiting around for improvements to displays that might be 2-3 years out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:31 PM   #75
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But you really are thinking wishfully (huh?) if you think that tablet sales do not affect eReaders. They do. For every person you know who buys a tablet and an eReader, there are a dozen who will not buy an eReader because "I can just read my books on my iPad/Kindle Fire/Nexus 7." The last two, in particular, are a threat to eReaders because unlike the chunkier and heavier and more ungainly 10" tablets, 7" tablets have a comfortable enough form factor that they *can* be used for reading in comfort.

eReaders might not have wanted to compete with tablets, but they have been dragged into it, nonetheless, even if not by choice.
Exactly afa. Those of us in the eReader in-crowd know all of the benefits of reading on E Ink, but those who are more lured into the web browsing/movie viewing features of a tablet will be willing to get used to the LCD eyestrain. I have been very happily reading on my Nexus 7 for the past four weeks, and in the right lighting conditions, I feel that text looks better on LCD. The letters are sharp, the background is white; everything current E Ink displays are not. I would much prefer an HD E Ink screen, but until that happens, I would be willing to read on a tablet.

"eReaders might not have wanted to compete with tablets, but they have been dragged into it, nonetheless, even if not by choice."
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