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Old 01-23-2007, 01:31 PM   #31
NatCh
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Just to kinda sum up some stuff -- no claims at great insights or anything. :)

Now that we've had a look at CommanderROR's preliminary review of the StareEBook hardware, and we know that it's supposed to be the same hardware as what the Baen/NAEB folks are negotiating for, it seems to me we know a few things, tentatively, anyway.

CommanderROR said the one big thing he doesn't like about the StarEBook is the limitation to only Star's proprietary format. Since the Baen/NAEB variant allows a fairly broad list of file types, and should be about USD100 lower price, that ought to make it quite attractive by comparison.

Of course we don't really know for certain that the hardware will be identical (though it seems a reasonable assumption for the moment, so long as we keep in mind that it is an assumption), and we have no idea whatsoever what the software/apps might be like. So those are still a couple of outstanding question marks on the device.
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Old 01-24-2007, 07:10 AM   #32
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Nat do you think the hardware is designed and manufactured by PVI, the E Ink panel maker? If yes, perhaps also this one is the same device.
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Old 01-24-2007, 10:51 AM   #33
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Hmmm. I hadn't thought about that ... it very well may be the same, or with trivial variations (color and the like). We've known for a while that PVI was offering to build basic reader hardware for whoever wanted to pay their prices. I s'pose that Star and Bookeen just may have gone for that option. Either way, more panels bought means the price can start coming down that much sooner.
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:40 AM   #34
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Pre-Order form Posted.

For those who have been waiting for it, the NAEB Reader Pre-Order form is up now.

As mentioned in the thread title, they need to get 1000 units spoken for before they can move on it, so I think that no one should sign up unless they're serious about buying one.

Last word I heard on pricing was ~$320, and time-frame was sometime in summer, but none of that is finalized.

Also, I think this is the Bookeen hardware discussed above, but I don't have a firm 'yes' on that (there was some minor discussion of other hardware since this came out, which I don't think went anywhere). I'll post again when I know either way.
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Old 02-25-2007, 01:08 PM   #35
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Just heard: this is, indeed, the Bookeen hardware previously discussed.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:06 PM   #36
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I'm sorry. I'm lost. Which discussion? Where? What have they finally decided on?
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:42 AM   #37
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Post #1 in this thread (i.e. the thread you're currently looking at), phuata.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:02 AM   #38
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Thank-you, Natch. I'm feeling a little slow, here. Are the links in posts 31 and 32 in this thread pointing to the same hardware, or not?
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:25 AM   #39
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Post 31, yes, as far as we know. Post 32, we think so, but don't know for sure.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:07 PM   #40
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Ah, all right. That's where I got confused. I thought they were three different products, so when you said that NAEB was using the previously discussed hardware, I thought we had a choice of three previous discussions you could be referring to.

So, does the NAEB choice have a user-replacable battery as described in the links in post 31 in this thread? How about the included 512MB SD card? And have there been any decisions on the software (is there the bookmark feature or jump to page feature described in the threads post 31 links to)?

I have tried to read all of the NAEB forum, and I see where discussions have been made. I just don't see final choices. And every time I try to visit Baen's Bar, I'm told the page can not be found.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:08 PM   #41
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They are three different products from three different vendors, they just happen to have the same hardware (the software's different).

Since it has the same hardware, yes, it should have the same user replaceable battery as described, I don't know about the SD card, I think that's being added by the other vendors, so I wouldn't necessarily expect it to be there on this one.

The NAEB folks haven't seen the actual software yet, so I don't think there are answers yet to those questions. They are s'posed to be getting test units in the relatively near future, so software questions will likely be answered at that time.

Yeah, the NAEB forum is pretty sparse on discussion, so is that section of the Bar, compared to MR, and the Bar does seem to be unavailable fairly frequently, but if you keep trying, you can usually get in -- it's up right now, for instance.
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:36 AM   #42
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RE: shell access and the NAEB (Bookeen) reader

Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami
The description posted doesn't mention root or shell access, an SDK, or a user-replaceable battery. I'd recommend some caution.
One thing we *STILL* don't know is whether the Bookeen reader is exactly the same as the STAReBOOK on the hardware level - right down to the battery access - and whether the OS/application level has been significantly modified beyond adding in the ebook formats we want for NAEB.

Another thing is whether they offer an SDK and just how much that will cost. Given that I'm the one who will be riding herd on whatever programmers NAEB hires to add in other ebook format support and other functionality, such as text-to-speech for the blind, these are questions *I* would like answered.

Of course, not even having a Bookeen device to evaluate has made this process difficult.

If any of you know about this kind of programming and would like to help out let us know at NAEB. http://www.naebllc.com/

Yes, we also want the whole platform to be Open Source. In my personal opinion, if we can't get that from Bookeen, it's not worth selling.

Derek Benner
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:44 AM   #43
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RE: NAEB, Open Source and batteries.

I'm going to top post here because that's my normal habit on the Baen's Bar.

Bob, you are right. It *IS* odd that we haven't stated there is an open environment for the NAEB reader. Of course, that is because, at this point in time, we don't know what Bookeen is offering in its derivation of the STAReBOOK.

Actually, as we still don't have evaluation units to test, examine and modify, we don't know much at all. Trust me, as the Chief Technical Officer for NAEB, I am concerned by this. One thing we've done is to start looking for programmers who can expand the functionality of the basic software and OS with features users would like, such as support for rocketbook, ereader and fbreader as well as text-to-speech. Given that the STAReBOOK and Bookeen devices support music/mp3s, I think we already could support playing audiobooks.

But I don't *KNOW* this. When I know this, you all will know this.

Derek Benner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
Looks a lot like the Sony minus the A/C adapter, but plus HTML and prc compatibility, and the adapter sort of accounts for the slight price difference. But remember that a complaint about the iLiad arose after the fact that DRM was not supported (because you couldn't buy recent popular books for it).

On the other hand, Baen folks probably don't care about that for the most part.

One of the main draws would be an open environment to support third party apps. It's odd that it was missing. Maybe it was asked for, but not allowed? Or maybe that was an issue for future support because the retail software probably isn't set up that way. For example, they offered to basically provide functionality updates, and that might be difficult if the platform was different than their main retail products.

And I would have also expected foreign font support. I wonder why that was left out, or maybe if it is included.

I think most people are likely to prefer the Sony Reader, but this might find a nice niche market. I hope so. I'd like to see many devices succeed as long as we don't split up the 3rd party development efforts too much. Hopefully they will get the 1000 orders they are aiming for!
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:56 AM   #44
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1000 orders...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
1000 units is a huge order. I am sure we could come up with 100 or so MR orders, but 1000?

To date, we've received 120 requests from people who want a shot at buying a NAEB ereader when it becomes available. I put up the sign-up form on our website on Thursday, 3/1/2007.

Look, part of the issue we have is that Bookeen wants at least 200 units pre-paid before they'll ship and we don't get any price break at all at that point. We get enough of a price break with 1,000 units to allow us to, after including our *own* costs, but not shipping or taxes, charge around $350 per unit. If we can get 5,000 units ordered and paid for, we'll bring that down under $300. IIRC, Bookeen won't give us another price break unless we order some ridiculous amount like 100,000 or 1,000,000 units.

To be fair, we first started out trying to actually design our own ereader. And it is doable. Doable for somewhat less than $200/unit. But only if we were willing to order 50,000 units at once. We would *like* to go that route, but as we're not flush with capital, we figured our best strategy would be to make a 'version 1.0' NAEB ereader branded device from Hanlin, Bookeen or STAReBOOK and plough some of the revenue back into developing our own 'version 2.0'. Remember, if we can gain a reputation for being a 'player' within the ereader sales community, we can get the primary manufacturers to deal with us. And that's important because the e-ink/e-paper times, they are a-changin'. By this time next year, 16-color and 64-color displays, available for immediate integration into retail product designs, are likely. As are faster refresh rates.

However, if we don't get *something* out there, we'll be in the same position with the OEM sources as we are this year.

Derek Benner
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:10 PM   #45
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RE: Economies of scale

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
I wonder just how far the economy of scale could be pushed in a case like this?

Sadly, it seems that there are too few takers on this new device (I'm still on the fence about this purchase, though I'm trying to inveigle a friend to get one), so Bookeen may not reach their 1,000 orders mark.

However: what if 10,000 people said yes to the device at $30?
;-|

Yeah, probably won't happen. But I know that I could blow $30 on an e-ink device much easier than $300.
Hah! Listen, one of the things we considered was buying the e-ink display modules from the prime source of e-ink displays and assembling our own device and marketing it. For anything less than 50,000 units, we weren't going to get the display itself - and that's not even counting the display controller module, the main processor board, the power supply, the SD or CF support, the case and control wiring - for less than around $120US. And even were we able to come up with the money for those 50,000 displays, they really didn't want to talk to us because they wanted a first order that was larger.

Sure, if we could have come up with the money for 50K-100K units, we could have brought our *cost* down to around $200-$220. But that would have meant scraping up at least $10,000,000! Eep!

And we would have had to repeat the process with the design for the main controller board as it would have to fit into the custom case.

We're thinking of attempting this for our version 2.0 device as the display technology may advance in a year or so.

Derek Benner
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