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Old 06-06-2006, 01:01 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Can't get an e-ink device yet? Try a UMPC.

Kevin Tofel has been providing some very interesting ongoing updates on his experiences with a Samsung Q1 UMPC device. Everything from unpacking to usage scenarios is there at JKOnTheRun for our vicarious pleasure.

Among his first experiments with usage scenarios is an article about a topic that is near and dear - what it's like to read on the Q1 with Microsoft Reader. Yes, I know, nobody seems to like that reader because of the abominable version of DRM. But the article is very interesting, as is the whole idea of reading on a UMPC.

Kevin says, "...my impression is that this might be the perfect screen size for reading an eBook as it closely resembles the size of a paperback book." He would like to see a higher resolution, and we would all like to see better battery life. But he makes note of how it's a lot more convenient to turn pages on a UMPC than on an active digitizer screen like those built into the typical tablet PCs, because you can just use your finger instead of the special stylus.

My own impression is that UMPCs will be excellent for e-book reading, but the battery life needs to improve. Look for it to become popular for reading once the next generation of lower power CPUs come out. Screen resolution will improve with time as costs come down. And one of these days, UMPCs might even come with future versions of e-ink.
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:44 AM   #2
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If it cost $499 ... I would have gotten one, and not pin for a eink reader. But after all these waiting, I got myself a Zaurus C1000 ...
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:39 AM   #3
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If you want a good ereader that's comparable to a UMPC buy a used tablet pc off of ebay for around $500-600.

A good one to look at is the NEC Litepad. It weighs about 2 pounds and has a 10.4" screen. It's about the same size as a single subject notebook.

Be sure to get to get 512MB of memory for the NEC though otherwise it'll run like a dog. You'll probably want an extra battery for the NEC, because the batteries only last for about 2hours with the wireless card turned on.

Press a button and flip the screen to Portrait mode and it's perfect for my library of .LIT books and .PDF books. My Zinio subscriptions look pretty good on it too. I also have some comic books and they truly are cool to read on the tablet.

Press the screen orientation button again and you go back to landscape mode where you can watch videos streamed over your wireless internet using VLC.

The web looks great on this as the resolution is 1024X768 and you can work in either lanscape or portrait mode.

Last edited by kingjimmi; 06-15-2006 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:32 AM   #4
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Thanks kj. You almost convince me to search eBay. I looked at the HP convertable tablets on eBay a while ago and was close to bidding. But just couldn't bring myself to do it with newer improved technology just around the corner, hopefully with lower prices, and I wasn't sure I'd be happy with the battery life as you had indicated also.

But what a great alternative to ponder, and thanks for the tip on a device to consider. Obviously, going that direction gets you a whole lot more than just an e-book reader, and that's a pretty nice bonus.
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Old 06-15-2006, 11:46 AM   #5
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Hi,

I own a tablet, though an older (02) Fujitsu model that runs 2000 not xp tablet (Ebay ~270$), has acceptable weight at 3.2 lbs, and runs everything ok (including drm pdf, lit), the screen is 10'' 800x600 so you have space for a portrait pdf/djvu book without the need for scrolling or zooming.

However I use it only to browse the Web from bed (it is quite fast, almost like my wife's 05 laptop on the same wireless connection). For book reading it has almost the same drawbacks as a laptop, mainly inability to read one handed, hd noise, inability to control the reading from external buttons. The one advantage vs a laptop is the ability to read very nicely lying in bed with it resting on the knees exactly like a hc book and I have books that are as heavy as it (Peter Hamilton...).

Maybe newer tablets are lighter and have external button ability. So I think it depends on what is important for you if you want to go that route.

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Originally Posted by Bob Russell
Thanks kj. You almost convince me to search eBay. I looked at the HP convertable tablets on eBay a while ago and was close to bidding. But just couldn't bring myself to do it with newer improved technology just around the corner, hopefully with lower prices, and I wasn't sure I'd be happy with the battery life as you had indicated also.

But what a great alternative to ponder, and thanks for the tip on a device to consider. Obviously, going that direction gets you a whole lot more than just an e-book reader, and that's a pretty nice bonus.
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:43 AM   #6
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If you are open to using a tablet, then you can consider a Siemens SIMpad SL4. It runs HPC2000 OS or WinCE4.1 (rom is/was available somewhere on the net). It has even better batt life ~8hrs new (the one I had was 5hrs), is pretty light ... I think around <= 2lbs. InstantOn.

I dump it on ze bay 'cos the unit I had has a flaky irda port and I felt that I wanted keyboard badly. I needed a device for ereading *and* notes taking ... so I dumped it. For pure ereading, its a joy.

It is also good for web browsing ... and I must stress, *pure* web $browsing$ ... tapping onscreen keys for forums is a crazy task and was more or less what broke the camel's back ...
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