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Old 02-18-2008, 06:59 PM   #1
redbaron101
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Throwing in another eReader alternative into the pot ...

Has anyone considered the iPod Touch / iPhone as an alternative? (The iPhone is basically an ipod Touch with a phone built in). I have spent days trying to find my dream reader, Illiad came up tops but the price / startup times have steered me away, Hanlins intrested me, but theres not a lot of enthusiam for the device considering it looks good when you look at it specs/cost. Being in uk, eReaders are really hard to buy, only one or two places online that will deliver, and only a limited range. I never even considered iPods. Best of all - you can buy them anywhere!!

I managed to get my hands on one for mp3 playing, I soon grew very tired of Apples iTunes rubbish, and i think it took all of three days of the iPod Touch being in my posession before I decided to 'tweak' it, to allow third party apps to run and full customisation (its called jailbreaking the iPod). I have done it countless times now and settled on firmware 1.1.2 (having played with 1.1.1, 1.1.2 & 1.1.3) - it kicks total ass for a portable eReader!!

I currently use a Books apps to read html, txt ebooks, a pdf/cbr viewer to read comics. Still some works needs to be done on the pdf software and I'm still looking for a mobi/lit reader though. Best of all it plays mp4 video and mp3 songs, picture viewer, calender, contacts etc and runs apps like my trusty palm - can even browse the net (wifi)! Anyone familiar with linux/unix will love this device, has a bsd unix style subsystem. The touchscreen is optimised for finger control (good news to all big fingered guys like me!), it has some gyro gizmo built in - some games you have to actually tilt the ipod to play them! And reading books on it is an absolute delight.

Most apps on this device use a stroking movement to scroll up/down, and moving two fingers apart to zoom out or moving them together to zoom in. Hats of to Apple for the HUI aspect of the ipods design. Size wise the iPods come in 8/16/32 GB, yes Gb, so I think even with a 8gb device Im still very happy with storage. I think I might wait for the eReader market to mature a lot more before I invest in a dedicated eReader.

My current needs are exceeded in this small device, don't get me wrong there are a number of small niggles, the main cons for most I would assume is the small size (compared to eReaders), and the of the infancy of GPL/open source software for the iPods, although this appears to be growing very rapidly (despite Apples reluctance to release a public SDK which they hinted at ages ago).

Anyone else care to comment?
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:58 PM   #2
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despite Apples reluctance to release a public SDK which they hinted at ages ago
Actually, they did more than hint at it. The announced that it would be available Q1 2008. And there's an apple event (i.e. Public Relations event) scheduled for late this month. Most rumor-mongers suggest that this is the unveiling of that very SDK.

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Old 02-18-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
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I've been using a touch with books.app for the last several months while my Sony Reader gathers dust. It isn't perfect, but it is a very nice reading platform. The screen is sharp, readable in daylight and the battery life is very good.

I'm hoping that the reason development stopped completely on books.app back in november is because the application author has been working with the Apple SDK for an improved book reader... or maybe he just got bored with the project. Rumor is the SDK will be released on 2/26 with a few apps already created for download/purchase.
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:58 PM   #4
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I really disliked it. It was such a pain to get a doc to look good on it, and the screen so small.

But ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the battery dies FAST with the screen on.
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Old 02-19-2008, 12:16 AM   #5
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The HTML formatted docs from Baen books work great in books.app. Otherwise plain text docs also work well but you have to break a full novel into smaller chapters for the application to work well. I also like smaller screen devices-- just my preference. I don't mind clicking the screen every couple sentences.
If you turn down the screen brightness to a reasonable level you can get about 8 hours reading per charge. Movies and wifi are the big battery drain.

Hopefully the SDK will allow someone to produce a more efficient reader application. I wonder if eReader or Mobipocket will be allowed to produce software for the iPhone/touch. Apple might decide they are competition.
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Old 02-19-2008, 12:49 AM   #6
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Hopefully the SDK will allow someone to produce a more efficient reader application. I wonder if eReader or Mobipocket will be allowed to produce software for the iPhone/touch. Apple might decide they are competition.
eReader already supports Mac's so it would be a good choice.

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Old 02-19-2008, 10:35 AM   #7
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Actually, they did more than hint at it. The announced that it would be available Q1 2008. And there's an apple event (i.e. Public Relations event) scheduled for late this month. Most rumor-mongers suggest that this is the unveiling of that very SDK.

Xenophon
hmmm, buth they also said back in aug/sept 2007 that it would originally be out by Feb 2008. Feb is almost over and no sight of the SDK to be seen. Its a real pity, as most developers have temporarily stopped churning out apps as the sdk is rumoured to run on 1.1.4, and a lot of apps were broken from the changes from 1.1.2 to 1.1.3.
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Old 02-19-2008, 12:01 PM   #8
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The iPhone/iPod Touch have a 320x480, 3.5" screen. That's pretty much the same screen size and resolution as that of the typical PDA. Having read for years on PDAs, sure, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but it's nothing like the experience of reading on one of the larger screen eInk devices. That's my experience, at least.
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Old 02-19-2008, 12:58 PM   #9
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The iPhone/iPod Touch have a 320x480, 3.5" screen. That's pretty much the same screen size and resolution as that of the typical PDA. Having read for years on PDAs, sure, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but it's nothing like the experience of reading on one of the larger screen eInk devices. That's my experience, at least.
My experience too. I went from a Palm IIIxe to a Toshiba e310 to a Palm Tungsten to a Treo to the Sony 505. They all worked, but for me at least the PDA's were only good for small amounts of reading. I still use my Treo from time to time when caught without my Reader & only for short period of about 30 min or less. Anything more than about a half hour & my eyes start having problems on the small, backlit screen.

For many people the PDA solution works just fine.
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Old 02-19-2008, 02:55 PM   #10
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i just got an iPhone - i don't know that i'd enjoy reading a novel on it. i know that the iPhone only lasts like 6 hours for web browsing... how long would it last as a reader?

i'm waiting for my kindle - but i'm also not the type of person who would go into any of my gadgets and so am typically a perfect candidate for "tech for dummy" solutions
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:07 AM   #11
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I have read on a Palm TX, the iphone books.app, and the PRS 505. The PRS 505 is a better reading experience than the iphone, which is better than the Palm TX.

The screen size and eink of the Sony really improve the reading experience.

The iPhone's screen is bright and very clear, it renders HTML files well, and the finger scrolling intead of clicking "next page" worked well for me.

I enjoyed reading on the Palm, but only for short amounts of time. The small screen is not as bright as the iphone, and I found the constant "next page" clicking distracting. For whatever reason, I am not a fan of the auto scroll function.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:54 AM   #12
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I have read on a Palm TX, the iphone books.app, and the PRS 505. The PRS 505 is a better reading experience than the iphone, which is better than the Palm TX.
yeah, i quite agree between the ipod and palm - i have a palm t3 i still use, love it to bits, but I just couldnt get myself to read on it, but the ipod has really opened my eyes, I thought it was just an overpriced mp3 player, but you really appreciate it when you start using it - its definately better reading than on the palm, dont know about sony yet as I hadnt has the luxury of trying one yet, (theyre like banned substances in uk, and sony arent going to market it in th uk any time soon).

So far on ereaders my top choice is a little shaky, but perched on top is the Cybook - the illiads are perfect but too expensive, the Hanlins to much of an unknown factor, Sonys are nice but hard to get hold off, likewise for kindle. And I havent even started looking at the umpc and other portables like the Asus Eee (I know the latter devices arent eink devices, but as they hold full tablet o/s shouldnt be a prob reading nearly any format)
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:53 AM   #13
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I'm one of those who has strange battery drain since the last patch on my iPhone - so I have to be very careful about what I do.

That being said... I didn't try much in the way of ebooks proper, but rather was trying to transfer texts into the device and found it was... unpleasant. It was certainly doable, but as others have said - after using a real ebook reader, I'd not want to do it. I've had a number of pda's over the years, and have never been able to get myself to read on any of them so perhaps it is just me.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:05 AM   #14
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The Touch is a very sweet piece of kit indeed! I've had mine since November and use it every day. I think this might well be the future of mobile computing...

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Old 03-03-2008, 05:19 PM   #15
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Hello! I thought I'd spend my first post here to tell you about reading text on my iPhone is. First, it's got a beautiful screen. It's very sharp and easy to read, if the web page (or any application to be developed) is set to a manageable font size. However, my hand gets tired of holding it in a reading position for an extended period of time. I find the iPhone to be a great interface for quick information lookup, but it's not for me for any extended reading sessions.
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