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Old 10-15-2009, 10:56 AM   #1
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Cusp of a revolution?

So, from the perspective of the old-timers out there, are all the recent annoucements of new and exciting things in the e-reader world typical "getting close to the holiday season" puffery that happens every year? Or is the e-reader world poised to move into an ultimate-cage-fighting brawl for market share with everybody one-upping each other on price and features, and when it's all over half of the devices will be worthless because their systems are incompatible with formats (a la "beta" VCR'S) and/or their companies have collapsed?

I'm feeling very torn at this point. I think a Sony Touch (not sure if I want to spring for the Daily) would serve my purposes quite nicely now, although it is not "perfect". I don't mind (much) if I wind up paying a bit much, or not getting some little minor "tweak" feature on one of the new devices. Or if "perfect" is unlikely to come along for a couple of years. But if "perfect" is just around the corner, or if there is likely to be a big price war coming up, I'd like to wait.

I know nobody has a crystal ball, but if you've been through a few years stalking theses things, does it seem like real change is in the air? Or is this the same-old-same-old marketing?
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:35 PM   #2
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There will always be better devices out in a year's time, but I'm afraid that I don't understand the attitude that says "wait and see". Even if you only get a 2nd hand PDA for a trifling cost, it's perfectly good enough to read eBooks on (which I've been doing for over 25 years now) and ANY eBook reader is better than none.

What is it that you're waiting for? Why don't you have an eBook reader?
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:41 PM   #3
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Depends on what you want to use it for I guess. Most of this "revolution" doesn't seem to me to have much to do with actually reading e-books. The actual reading part, the i-ink display, is already really good (IMHO). Touch screens, colour, web browsers etc. all seem aimed more at creating multi-function devices than improving the devices as actual e-book readers. It's a bit like how cell phones have transformed into cell phone/mp3 player/web browser/picture viewer/movie player. They don't work any better as phones though

I'm planning on buying my first e-reader shortly and certainly won't wait more than a few weeks for the next great thing. If B&N announce next week that they'll have their new reader available before Thanksgiving, I might wait to see what that's like, but that's my limit. I'll choose between that, the Irex DR800SG, the Sony PRS-600 and the Kindle 2. What's been holding me back so far was a certain nostalgic reluctance to give up paper books, which I really enjoy. However the enthusiasm of friends and relatives for their e-readers (all Kindles actually), has convinced me that I should at least give this a try.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post

What is it that you're waiting for? Why don't you have an eBook reader?
1) Large (or at least largish) format that allows for taking notes fairly easily, under 400 US dollars. Based on screen shots I think I will find the Touch tolerable, but barely, for this purpose.

2) Can't mentally justify the $200 plus price tag for something I could only really use for recreational reading (if I had the time to read like I used to, or was commuting, sure, but right now the library's "treebooks" do me just fine). And I can't really justify the $600 plus for the existing iRex products to meet my paperwork handling needs. Now if I could get my department to pay for it (hah!), that would be a different story. Getting rid of the PITA factor of carrying around piles of articles is worth, tops, 400 bucks for me.

So, I don't know if the new upcoming readers will ever actually exist (Plastic Logic, Astak) ever actually do what I need them to do (new iRex), or if an existing reader that is currently over my monetary sweet spot (Kindle DX, not that I like the idea of taking notes with my thumbs but it does have a large screen) will take a price dive to compete with the new units. Within the next six to twelve months. Particularly if there is actual new technology (the plastic screens) that might radically change manufacturing costs, design options, etc.

So, I'm looking for the wisdom of experience--do great things look like they are really about to happen, or is this wave of announcements the usual process of companies blowing sunshine up everybody's skirts to keep them waiting for something that will never arrive?
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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One thing you should be clear about, there are only about 3 or 4 separate, current ebook reader designs out there, with many brands stamped on them.

Sony has a 5", a 6", and a large-ish screen reader, with various added or subtracted features.
Amazon sells two readers, a 6" and a largish one. Other than screen size, they're functionally identical. They also have true wireless technology today.
iRex has a unique reader (or two).
Most of the rest are 5 & 6" versions of Hanlin and Netronix generic readers with brand stamps.
All of these share a variety of common or nearly common components.

Ectaco has the 5" jetBook which shares almost nothing with all of the others.

There are software and licensing choices that differentiate the various brands of readers. The hardware (jetBook excepted) is pretty standard.

Make a list of the features you are interested in, and a list of the features you don't care about, and compare it to the various readers. Also look at what format and where ebooks you like are available. Pick the reader that matches your lists best.

Waiting for vaporware is a useless exercise, IMO. If none of the devices matches your needs and/or price point, give up.

Regards,
Jack Tingle

Last edited by Jack Tingle; 10-15-2009 at 03:52 PM.
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