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Old 09-02-2008, 11:44 AM   #1
igorsk
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Brother Japan to present an A5 "Electronic Document Reader"

Discovered by user Nifty at the-ebook.org forums, ixbt.com and @Astera report that the Japanese company Brother plans to present a working prototype of an A5 electronic document reader at their Brother World JAPAN 2008 conference.
No word on the production schedule, but here are the technical details:

Display: 9.7" (142.1×205.5mm), 1200×825, 4 gray levels, electonic paper (EPD)
CPU: 32bit 132MHz
External memory: MMC card 1GB ~5,000 pages
Battery: Lithium-Ion (charging from AC or USB)
Battery life: 3000 screen updates, 1 month in standby
Dimensions: 210(W)x232(H)x12.4(T) (mm)
Weight: 380g (with battery)

Last edited by igorsk; 09-02-2008 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Discovered by user Nifty at the-ebook.org forums, ixbt.com and @Astera report that the Japanese company Brother plans to present a working prototype of an A5 electronic document reader at their Brother World JAPAN 2008 conference.
No word on the production schedule, but here are the technical details:

Display: 9.7" (142.1×205.5mm), 1200×825, 4 gray levels, electonic paper (EPD)
CPU: 32bit 132MHz
External memory: MMC card 1GB ~5,000 pages
Battery: Lithium-Ion (charging from AC or USB)
Battery life: 3000 screen updates, 1 month in standby
Dimensions: 210(W)x232(H)x12.4(T) (mm)
Weight: 380g (with battery)
sounds exactly like everyone else's 9.7" device that has been announced. They all seem the same until we can see what software is on them. Hanlin, Astak, Netronix have all announced the same device. I won't appear before late in Q1 2009 from what I have heard.

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Old 09-02-2008, 12:10 PM   #3
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Sounds like it's going to use the same 9.7" screen as everyone else, so that makes it Spring '09 at the earliest.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:12 PM   #4
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Putting the keys to the right of the screen in portrait mode is an interesting design choice. I assume it can be flipped for left handed use. The display specs suggest it is a Vizplex 9.7" screen and my first impression is that this looks very fragile.

Any idea which OS (Linux or WinCE) they are using?
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:15 PM   #5
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132MHz CPU and 1 month standby time don't sound like WinCE to me. But it doesn't have to be Linux either - they could use some small RTOS if they plan to just show pictures of pages preprocessed on PC.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Putting the keys to the right of the screen in portrait mode is an interesting design choice. I assume it can be flipped for left handed use. The display specs suggest it is a Vizplex 9.7" screen and my first impression is that this looks very fragile.

Any idea which OS (Linux or WinCE) they are using?
9.7" has already proved to be too fragile if a glass substrate is used. The current design is going to use a polymer substrate similar to that used on a flexible screen. This should make it more rugged that current devices but it is also the cause of the delay. Originally 9.7" screens were planned for this fall. After the 9.7 rollout next spring I would expect that all screens will be switched to the new substrate design. So I expect a rash of next generation devices next year from everybody with polymer backing and the new screen controller. maybe they will also break the 2 gig barrier on SD cards at the same time (Kindle already did this).

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Old 09-02-2008, 12:25 PM   #7
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maybe they will also break the 2 gig barrier on SD cards at the same time (Kindle already did this).

Dale
That may be do-able with just a software update - it depends what controller is being used. The Sony Reader acquired the ability to handle SDHC cards with its recent firmware update, for example. I don't know if the controller used by Netronix in devices like the CyBook is an SDHC-capable controller or not.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:36 PM   #8
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That may be do-able with just a software update - it depends what controller is being used. The Sony Reader acquired the ability to handle SDHC cards with its recent firmware update, for example. I don't know if the controller used by Netronix in devices like the CyBook is an SDHC-capable controller or not.

Interesting. I had not heard that mentioned in any of the feature upgrades I have heard on the new release. Thanks for mentioning it. Hopefully this means there is no longer a performance penalty in use SD versus the Sony memory card.

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Old 09-02-2008, 12:42 PM   #9
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maybe they will also break the 2 gig barrier on SD cards at the same time (Kindle already did this).

Dale
What for?
Having more than 2TB of HDDs in my computer I really know that there is no such thing as too big storage but for Christ's sake...
When I bought my PRS-505 I lamented on how big Memory Stick I should buy but the internal memory is more than enough (having 60 books and more than 100 megs free) - I see no reason to store every book on the reader and even if you do 2 gigs is enough for more than 1000 books - reading a new one every other day means the card will serve you for almost six years. As for storing pictures and music on the reader - it is simply stupid. Wanna listen to music while reading - use an mp3 player (iPod for the clueless). Wanna look at pictures in 4 or 8 shades of grey? No comment. Readers (currently) are to read - full stop. Later on with newer technologies they can be Swiss Army Knives like our current cell phones - but then they won't be (just simple) readers any more.

Last edited by worxland; 09-02-2008 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:01 PM   #10
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What for?
Having more than 2TB of HDDs in my computer I really know that there is no such thing as too big storage but for Christ's sake...
When I bought my PRS-505 I lamented on how big Memory Stick I should buy but the internal memory is more than enough (having 60 books and more than 100 megs free) - I see no reason to store every book on the reader and even if you do 2 gigs is enough for more than 1000 books - reading a new one every other day means the card will serve you for almost six years. As for storing pictures and music on the reader - it is simply stupid. Wanna listen to music while reading - use an mp3 player (iPod for the clueless). Wanna look at pictures in 4 or 8 shades of grey? No comment. Readers (currently) are to read - full stop. Later on with newer technologies they can be Swiss Army Knives like our current cell phones - but then they won't be (just simple) readers any more.
One reason is that you can buy them as cheap as smaller memory devices and that trend will continue. Why spend the same money and only get a 256K device? Whether you really need the more memory is not beside the point. Anyway, large ePuB documents with lots of images and PDF files that can exceed 10 Meg for one file are out there.

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Old 09-02-2008, 04:19 PM   #11
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Putting the keys to the right of the screen in portrait mode is an interesting design choice. I assume it can be flipped for left handed use.
if it can be flipped, all i can say is it's about bloody time someone figured out that ETI had the ergonomy right so long ago with the eb1150 !! i hope that device does end up being marketed with that design, although possible the frame doesn't need to be *quite* so wide there. i would love to find an e-ink device with buttons on the side, so that i could comfortably and securely hold it and turn the pages with just one hand. you know, like i can with my eb1150. i'll definitely be watching this device with a lot of interest ; A5 might be slightly larger than i need (i'm fine with the 6 inch screens currently available) but this is the first one i've seen with a convincing ergonomy. although of course, it's hard to judge from photos.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:23 AM   #12
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More pictures.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:30 AM   #13
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oh boy, i really hope they make that exact device with a smaller screen as well. the ergonomy looks BRILLIANT (it's about time !!!).
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:45 AM   #14
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looks brilliant in the pictures, igorsk. I'll take one
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:36 AM   #15
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Someone claimed it's a "plastic" screen (as opposed to the current "glass" ones). I'm trying to get a confirmation but so far it doesn't seem to be the case.
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