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Old 02-20-2006, 06:03 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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iRex iLiad reader too slow for "live" websites

Branko from Teleread figured out why the iRex ER 0100 (aka iLiad) e-book reader isn't suitable for surfing the Net despite wireless connectivity. One caveat of current E Ink technology is the relatively slow refresh rate of the display - current devices need between 0.5 and 1 second for a screen update - causing animated objects (such as drop-down menus) to blur or disappear. Nothing we can do about it except to hope for future third-gen devices to improve in this matter.

Another bummer: Although the iliad will run on Linux, only companies partnering with iRex will be able to develop third party tools for the reader. Given how Nokia is successfully using open source to give its gadgets (see Nokia 770) a first-mover advantage in the fiercely competitive consumer electronics market, it's totally beyond me why iRex would want to restrict access to the software development of its reader.

Related Sony Reader vs. iRex Iliad e-book reader, Build an eink reader, iRex Iliad will be available for around 400 Euro
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:55 PM   #2
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I was just having this conversation with a friend. I'm glad I picked up a used Litepad, though it needed some refreshening, because of the limitless opportunities.

Install any reader built for Windows platform.
WiFi and either socket Bluetooth or USB Bluetooth
30 Gb hard drive

These manufacturers are probably ignoring the tablet marketplace because of the price difference. However, I'd rather pay the difference to get the ability to hit a website while browsing a book... say, for research purposes.

However, they do have the quite impressive eInk on their side.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:34 AM   #3
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Really, Timmins. A simply and convenient reading pad does not even come close to the size of short battery life of a comparable tablet pc...even if the tablet pc might be able to do much more.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander
Another bummer: Although the Iliad will run on Linux, only companies partnering with iRex will be able to develop third party tools for the reader. Given how Nokia is successfully using open source to give its gadgets (see Nokia 770) a first-mover advantage in the fiercely competitive consumer electronics market, it's totally beyond me why iRex would want to restrict access to the software development of its reader.
Sounds like the same business strategy that killed Tapwave and the lovable Zodiac line of PDA's (mine is still going strong, but it's features are in danger of getting ignored by new software!).
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:32 AM   #5
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Yes, I agree. Not terribly smart not to allow third party people to do things with it. It can only help the rapid proliferation of the device.
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:55 AM   #6
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From a recent email to my "contact" on Irex:

"Developing applications and software: There are two ways:

- Developing using software tools, which is relatively difficult, and you'll need iRex intervention to make some types of software work, in some way. (please remember the device will handle encrypred content, and it will (should) not be possible to gain access to some parts of the code..)

- Developing using hardware tools. This way software can be implemented directly, but is only allowed to parties that are subject to the secrecy agreement and are trusted not to abuse the DRM"

I'm not a programmer, so does this mean no one will be able to make readers for the iRex, or that it will just be difficult?

Last edited by Henrycat; 02-21-2006 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaapjan
Really, Timmins. A simply and convenient reading pad does not even come close to the size of short battery life of a comparable tablet pc...even if the tablet pc might be able to do much more.
That's probably where we differ. It's not like my needs have to be the same as yours.

If I know I am sitting for a period of time reading, there's probably an outlet nearby. Even on an airplane, I can plug in and not worry about my battery life. The only time I ever need battery power is when I need to use it for a short period of time which usually lasts considerably shorter than 2.5 hours. But the ability to multi-task, decide which format I want to read, and access network connections in my opinion is worth a lot more.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:00 AM   #8
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Of course. But during my reading of a book, I do not want to be accessing network connections. I most certainly do not want to check my fuel administration with excel while reading my novel. As you say, needs differ and this irex is meant at one or the other group.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henrycat
From a recent email to my "contact" on Irex:

"Developing applications and software: There are two ways:

- Developing using software tools, which is relatively difficult, and you'll need iRex intervention to make some types of software work, in some way. (please remember the device will handle encrypred content, and it will (should) not be possible to gain access to some parts of the code..)

- Developing using hardware tools. This way software can be implemented directly, but is only allowed to parties that are subject to the secrecy agreement and are trusted not to abuse the DRM"

I'm not a programmer so i'm not certain if this are all bad aspects :P
Developers, if they want to make a program, do not went relatively difficult steps to get a program on the device. They certainly do not want to have to go through iRex to get a program working on it. This will kill any developer interest immediately. No developer needs to have access to the DRM libraries or anything alike. Developers simply want to get their own programs onto the device with access to the various subsystems. Screen, network and all.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:49 AM   #10
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To be honest, I think the whole question of allowing third-party development is irrelevant. This is a dedicated reading device. As long as it fulfills this function well enough, I don't see any reason to install other software.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurens
To be honest, I think the whole question of allowing third-party development is irrelevant. This is a dedicated reading device. As long as it fulfills this function well enough, I don't see any reason to install other software.
Plucker for iRex and iSilo for iRex would be two reasons I could think of
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurens
To be honest, I think the whole question of allowing third-party development is irrelevant. This is a dedicated reading device. As long as it fulfills this function well enough, I don't see any reason to install other software.
Dedicated devices have not been successful sellers in the marketplace.

The purpose of third-party development is to allow content that does not come from iRex approved sources, and to be able to use content you have already collected. Nobody wants to own an iRex for their newspaper, the Sony e-reader for their books, their Palm Pilot for their schedule, their cell phone for their contacts, their iPod for their tunes, their dedicated GPS device for their map...
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
Dedicated devices have not been successful sellers in the marketplace.
iPod? Cellphones??

The iRex does allow for a variety of formats. As long as it handles at least HTML and PDF and allows you to also view your own content it's fine with me. Your content does not have to iRex-approved or anything.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:39 AM   #14
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Let me ask you this way, Laurens: would it hurt the consumer if third-party development was encouraged for the iRex?
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander
Let me ask you this way, Laurens: would it hurt the consumer if third-party development was encouraged for the iRex?
Well, first I would ask whether that question would actually be relevant. The iRex is meant as an alternative to paper. It's not good for much else due to its e-ink display. If the on-board software is good enough for its intended purpose, why would third parties actually be interested in developing other software for it? As long as it supports a variety of open formats (HTML and PDF being two) and allows you to load your own content on it, it fulfills its purpose well enough.
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