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Old 08-03-2008, 04:32 PM   #1
Tester
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iLiad now or wait for Mentor?

I need an E-reader for PDF files, and this forum suggests that the iLiad is the best choice at the moment.

I understand that the 9.7" Mentor may be released eventually, and also that a large, colour (but LCD) reader may soon be available as well.

I expect that I will be needing my E-reader device between September 2008 and April 2009. The iLiad may be the only large-screen, PDF-friendly reader that is ready.

Do you think it would be more reasonable to forego use of a reader, printing off PDF files, until a larger or cheaper reader is available late this year or early next year, or would it make sense to purchase the iLiad now, and become accustomed to it? Are any price reductions expected?

Even if the Mentor comes out, will there be anything out there expected within the next 4 months that has the tablet/stylus features of the iLiad? The iLiad seems more advanced than current or future competition.

For those that use the iLiad for PDF files, do you find that regular text displays comfortably enough at full-page sizes on streaming and non-streaming PDF files? I tested the Sony PRS-505 software on my computer and found that the screen size in the software program was too small, and the font and size options too inflexible, to display PDFs comfortably. I saw the iLiad medical journal scans, and they were impressive, but I am curious about how double-column PDF articles appear on the screen, since they would require scrolling or additional page turns if not displayed at full-window.
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Old 08-03-2008, 05:08 PM   #2
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My iliad is used for recreational reading so I have no idea how it will display professional documents. But I did briefly considered the Astak Mentor and immediately decided against it when I saw on their web that the intended OS is microsoft CE. If you can wait, why not wait until the product comes out and do a feature by feature comparision?
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:10 PM   #3
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Thanks, herbalist. I am not a big fan of Microsoft myself, but is there any particular reason why you do not prefer the Windows CE O/S for your E-reader device?
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:00 PM   #4
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I am highly biased Windows CE would mean very little third party apps/hacks/mods.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:45 PM   #5
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I read about a Netronix 9.7" display set to be released at the end of September, 2008. Is Netronix still in the running? If so, I might consider that one as well.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tester View Post
I read about a Netronix 9.7" display set to be released at the end of September, 2008.
The hardware for the Astak Mentor is made by Netronix, so Netronix EB-900 hardware will be similar (or identical) the the Astak 9.7" device. The 9.7" screen availability date keeps slipping, and it now look unlikely that they will be available in quantity this year. However, eventually there is little doubt that several vendors will release devices with 9.7" Vizplex screens - most likely by next spring. With good software, these will definitely be a improvement for A4 PDFs over the current iLiad.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:46 AM   #7
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The iLiad is a fine machine for reading PDFs. I love it.
The Astak mentor seems not to be ready for at least another 3 months. I am afraid the 9.7 might even be postponed to Q1 2009.

I bet that iRex has a larger device coming up then aswell. Since they are developing the controllers themselves and just have PVI glue it all together, they could have something out earlier. Although, this is pure speculation.

So if you want to read on e-ink any time soon, go for the iLiad.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:58 AM   #8
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I would like to join the discussion: I'm evaluating to buy an iLiad in those days, for note taking but - mainly - to read eBooks. I'm mainly oriented on professional eBooks (computer science) and maybe some novels. I'm more concerned abou the computer science ones: if they are not provided in some suitable format but on PDF, how would be the rendering on the iLiad? Will I be able to read them or will the font size to small?

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:42 AM   #9
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I read whitepapers on my iLiad. My eyesight is starting to give me a few issues (mostly my arms are getting too short), but I find that if I take my glasses off I can still read an 8.5 x 11" PDF on the iLiad. If you've got really good eyesight, I'd say this won't be a problem for you.

I almost never use the notetaking ability of the iLiad. This is probably due in large part to the fact that I have a Tablet PC and use Evernote for my notes. I really don't want to spread out onto another device. The few times I did use it for notes tho, I became mildly frustrated at the lag and imprecision created by said lag. I wouldn't buy the iLiad for it's note taking ability; it's nice to have on occasion, but for everyday use I consider it too slow.

My main use 90+% is for reading fiction work.

If you can afford a few hundred dollars, it's likely you'll be able to sell an iLiad for a decent price used once the Astak comes out. You won't need to consider it $700 lost; maybe $300. If it's worth that to you to be able to read PDFs between now and when the Astak is released, then I'd say go for it.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I'm more concerned abou the computer science ones: if they are not provided in some suitable format but on PDF, how would be the rendering on the iLiad?
If they are sold as "Secure Adobe ebooks", then they are not readable on the iLiad (and might be readable on the Sony PRS-505 with the new Adobe Digitial Editions upgrade). If they are standard PDFs then they should be as readable as other A4/letter PDFs.

The Sony is a potential choice for PDFs that can be "reflowed", and you can test how well it works on a Windows PC - see Sony's Windows ebook Reader. Adobe Digital Editions would be spectacular on a 9.7" screen, but MobiPocket won't allow its software to be used on a machine that has Adobe DE (or any completing ebook software that supports DRM). So iRex and Bookeen (with MOBI support) may end up at a severe competitive disadvantage to the Astak 9.7" Mentor in the textbook market.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:37 AM   #11
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I am highly biased Windows CE would mean very little third party apps/hacks/mods.
Why would it? There are umpteen thousands of free and very low-cost CE apps out there, and the CE dev tools are all free.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #12
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I would like to reply to the Win CE comment. First, if things follow the PocketPC route the ability to hack the device will be almost limitless. There also will be a lot more third party program development than there is now.

I love the iLiad but I just got it so I am still new to this product and eReaders in general. However if the iLiad requires loading the development package before one can install executables and a CE device just works with new programs then I believe we will see a massive shift to it. IRex is going to have to step up and move to the next level by making third party programs easier to install, reflow PDF's and be able to read Secure Adobe ebooks. Otherwise the market may leave them behind despite the fact that it is at the moment the most advanced reader.

When I first owned a pocketPC I told my father he would never like it. It wasn't built for the general user. There were too many issues. After at least three or four generations I think the PocketPC is now ready for the general user while maintaining features for the advanced user. The iLiad is not ready for primetime. It is really still a device for the techno geek or hacker. At least when it comes to trying to squeeze out the real functionality that resides within.

Last edited by timezone; 08-04-2008 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:03 PM   #13
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Thanks for the comments, everyone. I will evaluate my PDF-reading needs for Sep-Dec, and if I can handle another solution in the meantime, I may wait for a 9.7" Adobe-friendly device.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:14 PM   #14
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I agree that WinCE is a viable alternative to Linux for ebook readers. However, WinCE isn't Windows Mobile or Pocket PC, see Wikipedia: Windows CE. Like Linux-based devices, a WinCE device can be open to new applications or closed. It is unlikely to run new Windows Mobile applications (e.g. web browsers), but probably can run old WinCE reader applications (e.g. MobiPocket, or eReader, or uBook).
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:42 PM   #15
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However if the iLiad requires loading the development package before one can install executables and a CE device just works with new programs then I believe we will see a massive shift to it. IRex is going to have to step up and move to the next level by making third party programs easier to install
Yeah. Clicking a link from your browser and then pushing a button on the iLiad is WAY too complicated.
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