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Old 01-04-2008, 05:37 AM   #1
fbochicchio
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My mininal e-book reader

Just thinking, while waiting for my CyBoog gen3, hoping that id does not show any of the flaws mentioned on this site:

How much 'intelligent' shall be an e-book reader? that is, which functions are essential to its usage, and which are just nice but not mandatory add-ons, or even useless cruft which only shorten battery life?

The basic idea to sell e-book readers, especially the ones with e-ink display, seems to be "they are just like regular books, only better".

So what is needed to fullfill this promise?
Ok first of all: which kind of books? For this speculative exercise, I choose the type of books for which I bought the device: fiction books, novels and classics sold in paperback version, basic black-and-white text with few or no illustations.

Now, let's start defining the device requirements:

+ display: black and white, high resolution (no eyestrain), as large as possible, but still small enough that you can easily carry the device, i.e. in the pocket of your coat (as I ofter do with regular books).

+ Case: light but VERY ROBUST: an external rubber coationg to absorb shocks woudn't be a bad idea.

+ Battery : always charged :-), cheap and replacable.

+ Functions:
- page next, page previous, page first
- bookmarks: when reading a novel book, i usually only need to remember the page where I left.
- index: maybe jumping to chapter start ( I rarely need it ).
- search ? I don't need it, not for fiction books.
- Dictionary lookup? What's for? I never stop reading only because I don't know the meaning of a word (we are still talking novel books), and this happen quite frequently when reading novels in english (not my own language, as the many errors on this post will make clear).
- book loading: just connect to the PC and drag and drop files from it. No need for fancy wireless connections.
- book selection, because obviously you will load many books in the device.
- Multi-format support on the device? NO WAY. Much better to have support
for a single format, optimized for the device, and then provide free PC-based tools to convert - perfectly - from other formats (but yeah, I know that DRM gets in the way).

So this is the 'minimal e-book reader' I was looking for. I choose the closest thing to this available on the eureopean market (where only cyBook and iLiad are actually sold) , and I decided to overpay for the few features I really needed, because as most people here I'm a technology enthusiast.

But since the mass-market is not like us, I believe that the e-book readers will spread if they stop competing with PDA and aim more decisely to the idea of being 'just like books, only better'. And if someone is able to make and sell them at <100 Euros.

Ciao
-------
FB
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:24 PM   #2
Patricia
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Actually, the Sony Reader has everything that you ask for, except the dictionary look-up.
It is also cheaper than the Cybook.
It isn't marketed in Europe (yet) but I got one very easily via eBay.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:15 PM   #3
Alisa
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It's not the software features that are driving the price up. It's the cost of the screen. Getting the price to your target would take movement on that front.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alisa View Post
It's not the software features that are driving the price up. It's the cost of the screen. Getting the price to your target would take movement on that front.
I disagree. Most of them like iRex, Sony, Bookeen are making people paying something more for brand name like Sony...for example you pay USD $300 and for this price, $100 ones are for brand name...

It's the market speculation though.

Ciao!
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:28 AM   #5
HarryT
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Isn't your theory rather "blown out of the water" by the fact that the only one of those three which has a recognised "brand name" - Sony - is actually the cheapest by a considerable margin? I don't think you'd find many people who would regard "iRex" or "Bookeen" as well-known brands.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:48 AM   #6
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But you see iRex for example has a lot of appreciation by market due of his functionalities, so the same Bookeen, because they offer "appreciable product" also in design side, so I guess they think their brand is a good brand which makes them speculating on the brand instead to follow the real price... In fact two soon-coming products like Nextronix and Astak have an affordable price respect to Sony - Bookeen... let's see if they will cut down the price when Nextronix/Astak products will be on the market... but for now I can only think about speculation.
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