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Old 02-24-2009, 11:03 PM   #1
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Build your own E-Ink reader for $3K!

I'm sufficiently content with my off the shelf reader, but If you can't find the reader with the perfect set of characteristics for you, here's your answer. Buy an eink screen and kit from eink for a mere $3K. Use it to build your own reader. Make your own case, include your own required features, and you're in business.

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/0...&ie=ISO-8859-1

http://www.eink.com/kits/index.html
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:19 PM   #2
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I like the concept but not the price
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:21 PM   #3
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:39 PM   #4
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PVI also have a turn-key e-book device development kit.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:13 AM   #5
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I wrote PVI an email, and their response was that their turn-key ebook device development is also 3K.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:14 AM   #6
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Maybe I'll just save some money and buy a Kindle a Sony a CyBook and the $800 DR1000 reader.

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Old 02-25-2009, 03:02 AM   #7
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Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a branded reader and disassemble it?
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:20 AM   #8
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Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a branded reader and disassemble it?
Absolutely!

The fascinating thing about the development kit is that you can get 96% of the functionality by shelling out $99 for an S3C2440 ARM9 development kit on eBay and then getting an e-ink replacement screen. Add in the e-ink drivers from the OpenInkpot GIT repository, customize for the particular buttons/keys on the 2440's board and you're 'in business'. And this development kit comes with both Linux and WinCE (WinMobile) OS tools.

So why hasn't the PVI/E-Ink developer kit come down in price? Who knows, who cares. And didj'all notice that the E-Ink dev kit uses a plain-jane Gumstix computer? That's between $119-$299. Hmmm...

Derek
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:48 AM   #9
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getting an e-ink replacement screen.
I think this is the problem: Where can you get a replacement screen (in germany)?

I have always thought about developing "my own" e-Book reading device, but the hefty price point of the e-ink development kit scared me off.

Greets,
Andi
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:54 AM   #10
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So why hasn't the PVI/E-Ink developer kit come down in price?
Economy of scale. They probably sell them in single-digit numbers, so inevitable it's going to be hugely more expensive than the mass-produced readers which sell in the 10s of thousands.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:58 AM   #11
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Absolutely!
[SNIP]
So why hasn't the PVI/E-Ink developer kit come down in price? Who knows, who cares. And didj'all notice that the E-Ink dev kit uses a plain-jane Gumstix computer? That's between $119-$299. Hmmm...

Derek
There's also the issue of support. PVI/E-Ink surely expects to be selling this kit to vendors who are intending to build E-Ink devices. That means that they also expect to be fielding support calls on everything from software to configuration to electrical issues to...

And it doesn't take very many phone calls to burn through an awful lot of money! Especially since they probably give (relatively) quick access to technical staff to resolve these questions. After all, the typical user of the dev kit is expected to be an equipment OEM, so there could be big sales attached.

The price is high mostly so that they don't need to staff up to handle large call volumes. And so that the calls they do get are highly likely to be correlated with future hardware sales.

Been there (on the side of the company producing the dev-kit, that is), done that, have many t-shirts.


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Last edited by Xenophon; 02-25-2009 at 11:59 AM. Reason: grammar fixes
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:37 PM   #12
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I think this is the problem: Where can you get a replacement screen (in germany)?

I have always thought about developing "my own" e-Book reading device, but the hefty price point of the e-ink development kit scared me off.

Greets,
Andi
Buy a used PRS-500/505. Tear it apart to get the display module. I'd go with the 505 as it has a visplex display module. And then you can have a complete OI (OpenInkpot) device that has custom features YOU want.

Derek
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:43 PM   #13
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There's also the issue of support. PVI/E-Ink surely expects to be selling this kit to vendors who are intending to build E-Ink devices. That means that they also expect to be fielding support calls on everything from software to configuration to electrical issues to...

And it doesn't take very many phone calls to burn through an awful lot of money! Especially since they probably give (relatively) quick access to technical staff to resolve these questions. After all, the typical user of the dev kit is expected to be an equipment OEM, so there could be big sales attached.

The price is high mostly so that they don't need to staff up to handle large call volumes. And so that the calls they do get are highly likely to be correlated with future hardware sales.

Been there (on the side of the company producing the dev-kit, that is), done that, have many t-shirts.


Xenophon
Then they should have a 'minimal-free-support' version which requires you 'pay-as-you-go' for more than 3-5 support calls. Hey, if a person/company wants to develop a custom e-ink reader, they should expect to have a certain level of development knowledge or be willing to involve friends, co-workers, etc.

Let's consider a 'minimal' devkit running $200 ($100 for the display module, $100 for a user-supplied SBC (single-board-computer) to run the OS and apps. *I'D* buy one to be able to create my own 'steampunk' ebook reader - wouldn't you? And if I rolled-my-own from the source of OI, Madshelf and FBReader/CoolReader, I'd be able to embed custom Secure Mobipocket and Secure eReader support into in.

Derek
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:24 PM   #14
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But there is no real incentive for them to offer a low cost hobbyist version. Their goal is to sell as many panels as they can and grow the market. That's not going to happen at the hobbyist level. For a company intending to enter the market, even a startup, 3K is small change.
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:02 PM   #15
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Exactly. This isn't for normal people, it's a commercial devkit. In that field, 3K is minimal.
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