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Old 10-18-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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Frankfurt Book Expo - Ectaco jetBook Lite with AA-Batteries



Full review in German:
http://www.lesen.net/ereader/ectaco-...eantrieb-1359/




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Old 10-18-2009, 01:38 PM   #2
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This is an interesting device. The bulge for the batteries is its most unusual feature, but might be ok - we need hands-on reports to tell.

The addition of B&N eReader DRM support is a big deal, since the lack of DRM has always been the most significant downside for the jetBook. This presumably means that the existing jetBooks will get access to B&N ebooks as well.

I wonder if B&N will sell this in their stores, at ~$150 (before discounts) it is pushing into the area of occasional book buyers. Essentially, anyone who going into a B&N store a few times a year is a potential buyer.
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:04 PM   #3
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I would jump on this or the regular JetBook if it wasn't drawn-up by some long-lost 1980s VCR designer.

The AA batteries are interesting, cost-cutting by removing the battery...but I don't know about the weight distribution now...
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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Fact sheet says it's 7,5 Oz but i guess this is plus the wight of the batteries. Anyway it's quite handy, especially if you hold the device in your left hand.

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Old 10-18-2009, 06:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDBoblo View Post
I would jump on this or the regular JetBook if it wasn't drawn-up by some long-lost 1980s VCR designer.

The AA batteries are interesting, cost-cutting by removing the battery...but I don't know about the weight distribution now...
Yes, they need a new designer. This is true of a lot of reader devices though. Really poor hardware and software design. This device might be a good entry level reader though, imagine it for sale at airports (duty free) with the price including 5 books and batteries.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:37 PM   #6
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If it's £100? Er, yea, screw the "drawbacks". You can get quite cheap high capacity AA batteries and chargers these days...
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:40 PM   #7
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No, they don't need a new designer. The jetBook layout is very functional. It is not sexy.

There are 3 usable hand positions for reading, and 3 differnent methods for page advance to avoid RSI. The action functions are all grouped around the D-pad with decent icons, and the selection buttons along the right edge have several uses.

They only offer two fonts, but one of them, Verdana, is expressly designed for the type of screen an ebook reader has. It's very legible. I'd like more choice, but "best font for the display" is hard to argue with.

They could use a bit more imagination in the firmware. Their default assumption is that you want to read text files, or you want to convert your other things into pdf. Since there are oh, a dozen different file types in common use, they throw in "...and we also read a bunch of other file types, too." As long as you don't want any more functionality in those file types than plain text gives.

This appears to be a straight "take out the easiest to remove/least-used features" cost reduction effort. My biggest question is, "Will it work with NiMH rechargeables?" If it will, they may have a winner.

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Old 10-18-2009, 10:47 PM   #8
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This is great news, assuming that the batteries will last.

I had been thinking about a jetBook, but crossed it off my list because it does not have a user-replaceable battery and doesn't deal with DRM. This seems to have solved both of those issues.

Why do you think that they call it "Lite"? Is it because it will not play mp3's?
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:51 PM   #9
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No, they don't need a new designer. The jetBook layout is very functional. It is not sexy.
I'm glad you think beauty and function are unrelated. I feel the JetBook could use a new designer because the one they had may well think as you do.

The thing on the whole is better-designed than some of the others on the market like the Sony 505 and 300...but pretty much all ebook readers were apparently designed by cretins. It's rather shocking, actually, that they were almost universally gouged in this way.

I'm no stranger to electronics product design myself, and while I've only a few years experience, I can see that most of these products are connected either to really terrible designers, or decent designers with so many restrictions imposed on them by non-designers that they really didn't get any chance to do much damage control on any layer really...be it the electronics, the casing and buttons, or the software.

It really looks like something a 1990s VB programmer would have cooked up in an evening, which is very possible given the corners cut when designing crap like the iliad (I always recall the fireplace in the movie Betelgeuse), the first gen kindle (2nd gen to a lesser degree), and innumerable other cookie-cutter devices. Perhaps as the market gets more heated, design will be one element, in addition to technology and gimmickry, that can be used as a selling point, and qualified designers and consultants will find some work. Just trying to badly mimic an Apple aesthetic isn't going to work for some certain companies for long either. I think it's rather unsettling that the JetBook is in fact one of the more ergonomic devices in the market.

Of course, like I said it could all be because the designer got stiffed badly, or the company threw the responsibility on the engineers' shoulders to save some coin (not uncommon at all in China and Taiwan). I just hope it's remedied in future iterations of the JetBook and the 易博士 m-series.

Last edited by LDBoblo; 10-18-2009 at 10:55 PM. Reason: cannot remove all the unnecessary redundant redundancy :(
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:18 AM   #10
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The only good design in eBooks is like 10 years old REB 1100 which can be bought for $50
http://cgi.ebay.com/RCA-Ebook-REB110...item563613ccae

And this Ectaco thing even does not have touchscreen or backlit And costs $150 ? Come on


Last edited by ru.ereader; 10-19-2009 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:48 AM   #11
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I like the idea of a pocketable device for travel (my Kindle 2 is just a bit large for that, though of course it easily slides into a carryon). I'd been thinking about the Sony PRS-300, but this might be better, especially if it actually will read books with Barnes & Noble DRM (though I won't fully believe that till I hear it confirmed by real users!). AA batteries aren't my dream power source, but it would be an advantage to jam in a spare set when a battery charge wasn't easily available during travel. I'm going to pay attention to this little guy!
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:09 AM   #12
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I wonder, for our purposes, how much power an LCD screen would drain from four little AA batteries.

I would have to think that Ectaco wouldn't risk its reputation by putting out something that required the batteries to be changed with every book. One of the ideas behind the eBook reader is that it will pay for itself, I think. If you have to spend on batteries what you are saving on books, then it's not such a good deal.

Still, the money saved on the reader itself would buy a lot of batteries. The YouTube video in the first post says that newegg will sell it for $149. Assuming they or others will occasionally discount it twenty dollars (a common discount, I have noticed), a 5" reader for $129 is very attractive.

And I have noticed that jetBook owners have nothing bad to say about it here. There don't seem to be many posting here, but the few are content.

Last edited by GA Russell; 10-19-2009 at 01:10 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:17 AM   #13
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I like it, It's better looking than my black jetBook, and rechargeable batteries are relatively cheap. I just wonder about the bulge on the back, and weight distribution.

It's obliviously been designed for holding in the left hand, with the battery bulge being somewhat of a handle, so that might be moot.

Now if they would just get some decent firmware, with DRM ...
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:50 AM   #14
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I wonder, for our purposes, how much power an LCD screen would drain from four little AA batteries.

I would have to think that Ectaco wouldn't risk its reputation by putting out something that required the batteries to be changed with every book. One of the ideas behind the eBook reader is that it will pay for itself, I think. If you have to spend on batteries what you are saving on books, then it's not such a good deal.
I have now the JetBook and the screen reminds me of the Handspring Visor Edge (with Li-Ion battery) I had years ago. Then I bought a Handspring Neo, which had replaceable AAA batteries and these actually lasted even longer than the Li-Ion in Edge. If I used alkaline ones, they seemed to last forever, rechargeable ones usually lasted for about three weeks of normal PDA usage, which could mean something like 15 hours of continuous work.

Obviously, Handsprings used a different processor (Motorola DragonBall VZ, clocked at 33 MHz) and had a smaller screen, but if there wasn't much difference between the Edge (with LiIon) and Neo (with replaceable cells), the same may be true for JetBook and Jetbook Lite.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:22 AM   #15
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very cool.

they keep the design of the original jetBook but now run it on batteries instead so now you can definitely never run out of power

for $149 its a really good deal. Ive already bought jetBooks for almost everyone in my family, but this one is definitely on my holiday "to get" list.
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