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Old 11-24-2008, 10:04 AM   #1
omro
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Should I buy one?

Hi,

I bought a BeBook last week and I like it a lot, but for PDFs it's pretty darn useless, which is a shame, because I'm loving its form factor for books. I've realised I really would like the ability to use it to write on and make notes too. So I'll probably be selling this in the near future.

I was tempted by the iLiad, but despite the enthusiasm of the developers within the userbase, I fear it's a dead-end product. I also don't think it will be able to reproduce my A4 PDFs sufficiently well.

So alas that leaves me with the most expensive option. The Digital Reader.

Should I fear the poor software that it comes with, that seems to have resulted in a number of hardware related issues? Or should I be hopeful that being a relatively new product, its in house developers have a vested interest in actually improving its software to the point that it is indeed a useable and useful device?

There is a very nice looking device coming out from Plastic Logic, but that's not out yet, nor does it appear to have the ability to take notes.

Should I buy a Digital Reader 1000s at it's absurdly inflated price and take a risk or enjoy my BeBook and stick to reading my PDFs on my laptop?

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Old 11-24-2008, 10:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
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Should I buy a Digital Reader 1000s at it's absurdly inflated price and take a risk or enjoy my BeBook and stick to reading my PDFs on my laptop?

Only you can answer that question of what you should do. But, I personally want a larger format reader for manuals and technical type books... however, I don't think it is worth $900 to me at this point. So I wait... next year we will see several larger format eInk devices from Plastic Logic, Netronix, etc... and I hope to see the prices lower too.

BOb
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:50 AM   #3
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Should I fear the poor software that it comes with, that seems to have resulted in a number of hardware related issues?
Which issues, specifically, concern you?
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:00 AM   #4
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The battery life mainly and the buggy software reported by the USA Today review.

Plus a general fear that software development for these devices isn't a high priority for this company, considering how they've left the iLiad with rather underpar software onboard.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:49 PM   #5
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I'm not familiar with what bugs the USA Today review talks about, but the battery life is their top priority right now. They're planning on a 1.5 release near the end of the year that implements standby and sleep modes, which should theoretically make a big improvement.

I don't think the issue is that software development isn't a priority, it's more that they're a very small company with a small development team. They do seem to be addressing many of the bugs people are reporting on their forums, and have a lot of them scheduled to be fixed in the 1.5 release. I get the impression that their developers do care about the users and are working to make the software better, but they're limited in how much they can get done by the small size of the company. I think that's really the biggest issue.

If the battery life is a big concern, then I'd recommend waiting until 1.5 comes out and people start reporting on how much of an improvement it makes.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:38 PM   #6
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USA Today Review

If they are such a small company and they have limits on the development work that they can do... open source it!
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:59 PM   #7
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This is a difficult call, because within 6 months there should be other devices with a ~10" EInk screen. However, it isn't at all clear that these will be more capable. In particular, iRex may still be the only EInk reader vendor that allows any and all 3rd party applications on their devices. Adam B has reported that porting apps to the DR1000S is much easier than doing the same to the iLiad.

Software development for the DR1000 is the only priority for iRex, and this will continue until they come close to releasing a new device - at which point, based on the iLiad experience, the development will stop. However, currently the DR1000 is near the start of its development cycle. So I would expect software upgrades for at least a year.
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Old 11-24-2008, 04:08 PM   #8
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The DR1000S is on a newer Linux Kernel, so perhaps that makes it easier?
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
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USA Today Review

If they are such a small company and they have limits on the development work that they can do... open source it!
They do open source some of it, and support third party applications.

They probably won't open source all of the internal code until they're ready to move on to another device, like they recently did for the iLiad code after announcing the DR.
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:10 PM   #10
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The DR1000S is on a newer Linux Kernel, so perhaps that makes it easier?
Definitely. That was always one of the biggest issues with getting power management functionality on the iLiad.
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:14 PM   #11
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Are there similar threads for newbies and 3rd party stuff like there are for the iLiad?
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:17 PM   #12
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USA Today Review

If they are such a small company and they have limits on the development work that they can do... open source it!
I don't see any real specifics about bugs in there. He calls it unattractive and a kludge, and talks about some UI design that he doesn't like, but doesn't seem to mention any bugs. The reviewers biggest complaint about the DR seems to be that it's not a Kindle.
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:19 PM   #13
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Are there similar threads for newbies and 3rd party stuff like there are for the iLiad?
I don't know if there are a lot of people familiar enough with the SDK yet to be writing apps for the DR. I know Adam has ported some stuff over, but I don't think there is a big developer community around it yet. At least, not that people seem to be talking about. I think most of them are still getting comfortable with the new device. I could be wrong though, but if there is a developers section on here for the DR like there is for the iLiad, I've missed it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:52 PM   #14
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Are there similar threads for newbies and 3rd party stuff like there are for the iLiad?
For applications, see:

FBReader Release for the DR1000S
GTKSudoku Application Release
3rd party software request thread

The first "commercial" 3rd party application will probably be: 800 Newspapers From NewspaperDirect Now Available on iRex Digital Reader
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:55 PM   #15
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Is FB Reader better than the bundled PDF viewer?
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