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Old 07-26-2019, 10:15 AM   #1
Papered Over
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Open eReader what's the current best buys or way to go about it! (2019)

HI, I've had an iliad, and i currently have Kobo Glo that has virtually never been used, mainly gathering dust.

I'm kind of disappointed with the advancement of eInk tech, I'm still a huge fan of it but I'd like a platform, that a decent size, with a backend that is not locked in or easily customised/re-configured.

Casting aside budget concerns - I basically want the closest thing to a digit booker blank sketchbook - without all the modern affectations of cloud syncs and all the other business model junk.

I post this as I'm very much out of the loop in terms of what is out there.

I will say that the iLiad was a great experience back in 2006 and really caputred the spirit of where this tech might go and I was sad to see it's demise so soon.

The kobo kind of ended my interest despite my absolute optimums for the tech and delight at it's price point and features, it was totally underwhelming.

I primarily want an as open and flexible platform as possible and appealing physical device/size to also be used with my children for learning and fun. I don't want to be locked into any one circuit, as I intended to create some content specifically for use with the eReader.

If there is an off the shelf solution, great! If it a case of purchasing the easiest hackable device that's format is also appealing then ok. I am open to all consideration and advice. Thank you for you help in advance.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:25 AM   #2
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I primarily want an as open and flexible platform as possible and appealing physical device/size to also be used with my children for learning and fun. I don't want to be locked into any one circuit, as I intended to create some content specifically for use with the eReader.
For young children, I will always recommend a tablet as the number one choice. They are far less breakable. There are one or two flexible-substrate e-ink readers coming on to the market, but at the higher end, so they may not fit your budget requirement, which you haven't specified.

"Appealing size" is not really a clue - what do you mean by that? And what will be the actual purpose(s) of the device? Reading novels? Comics? Interactive picture books? Textbooks? (What format(s)?) Educational software? Something else? You mentioned "sketchbook" - are you looking for particular drawing apps? Are you interested in library book borrowing?

And just to check - you're aware that the Kobo Glo is very old tech now, aren't you? That's a 2012 device. It really doesn't reflect the current hardware on the market.

Knowing what country you are in also helps.

Last edited by meeera; 07-26-2019 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:56 AM   #3
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For young children, I will always recommend a tablet as the number one choice. They are far less breakable. There are one or two flexible-substrate e-ink readers coming on to the market, but at the higher end, so they may not fit your budget requirement, which you haven't specified.

"Appealing size" is not really a clue - what do you mean by that? And what will be the actual purpose(s) of the device? Reading novels? Comics? Interactive picture books? Textbooks? (What format(s)?) Educational software? Something else? You mentioned "sketchbook" - are you looking for particular drawing apps? Are you interested in library book borrowing?

And just to check - you're aware that the Kobo Glo is very old tech now, aren't you? That's a 2012 device. It really doesn't reflect the current hardware on the market.

Knowing what country you are in also helps.
This is to sit and read with and they can use under observation and also as they get older on their ownsome - I will not be giving them any Android or IPads type tablet device, they are too young and that's falls into computer class and is a non-reflective screen, i.e. backlit.

Imagine budget is no object, so all options are visible.

Yes Kobo is old tech but tbh I preferred the 2006 iLiad, *go figure!

*Appealing size = A5 or B5, physical size, going back to theilaid it's screen was physically larger even though it had less pixels / lower res, it was closer to A5.

So this is just READING, the joy of reading on a electronic device that is as close to reading stories to children from a book, allowing learning to read and so on with a safe device that is as close to a book experience, again no backlit screen.

I will also create content to use on the device, my own stories and pictures.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Papered Over View Post
This is to sit and read with and they can use under observation and also as they get older on their ownsome - I will not be giving them any Android or IPads type tablet device, they are too young and that's falls into computer class and is a non-reflective screen, i.e. backlit.

Imagine budget is no object, so all options are visible.

Yes Kobo is old tech but tbh I preferred the 2006 iLiad, *go figure!

*Appealing size = A5 or B5, physical size, going back to theilaid it's screen was physically larger even though it had less pixels / lower res, it was closer to A5.
A5 is about a ten inch device, which is larger than most of the "standard" ereaders. There are a few specialty readers in that size category but I know little about them, other than that it is difficult to get even frontlighting on readers that large. Poke around these fora for threads on large format eink readers.

If you're willing to go down to eight inches and budget is no object, and again because it will be being handled by young (?) children - though you haven't said how young - I suggest looking at the Kobo Forma, if they are available in your country. It has an eight inch screen, a flexible substrate, and is far more open than any Kindle.

I'm still not sure what your concrete objections are to a tablet. When sensibly adjusted and used, a backlight will not mysteriously damage children's eyes any more than any other light, and it has the rather large benefit (if we are talking about young children or graphical materials) of colour.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:49 AM   #5
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I'm still not sure what your concrete objections are to a tablet. When sensibly adjusted and used, a backlight will not mysteriously damage children's eyes any more than any other light, and it has the rather large benefit (if we are talking about young children or graphical materials) of colour.
I do not want to introduce children to a modern OS such as a iOS or Android systems before they barely know who they are or have reached a level of competent literacy and numeracy. It's much to early introduction in their development and it can be detrimental to various motor and social skills laying the foundation for addictive behaviour and issues unchecked.

I like eReader's because it's so low tech in terms of the interface, it really is very close to a book then also in terms of the reflective nature of the screen, just like paper, where the child can dwell on the image, it inspires their imagination, were words are dominant and pictures are sometimes, but not all the time.

I'm no ludite either, technology is great but social media has a lot to answer for and I won't go off on that one.

Look, I've been using computers since a young teen but todays appliance like hyper-fidelity, highly powered sophisticated and hyper-connected devices, it's like sending your child to school on Apollo 11 or something like that... ya dig?
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papered Over View Post
I do not want to introduce children to a modern OS such as a iOS or Android systems before they barely know who they are or have reached a level of competent literacy and numeracy. It's much to early introduction in their development and it can be detrimental to various motor and social skills laying the foundation for addictive behaviour and issues unchecked.
kids mode on amazon tablets , and probably the google equivalent, completely hides the underlying OS and you as parent have immense control over what they can see and interact with.

e.g. you want no browser - no problem - no social media - ditto.

books and only books if that's what you want, or books & some music, or add in some pre-vetted video - it's your call.

you can also control time spend with device, monitor and track usage.. I doubt you'd get that level of control on any 8 inch e-ink, as those are intended for and marketed for adults.

if there is such a think as an e-ink reader for Kids, I have yet to see it advertised...
with amazon you can even provide a reading age and their kids unlimited program will serve up only stuff that fits, and for multiple kids you can have multiple profile on a device, set to different ages, I doubt you will find that on any e-ink

my daughter, who bans all social media for her kids and will not let Alexa or OK Google through the front door, thinks the Amazon Kids programs are great.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:57 AM   #7
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If budget is no option...

Not sure what you want.

1. Onyx. They come in all sizes. They can be used like tablets. You can draw on them, annotate pdf files, watch youtube videos...The downside for you might be that they are full-blown Android OS. But really, for the flexibility you seem to want, I think that is unavoidable. But you can install and launcher you want, so you could probably find one you could configure for your kids to limit functionality.

There is also Boyue / Mimas. I had a Boyue a while back, and the Likebook Mars seems to be popular. But my personal experience with Onyx has been better. I have found them more robust and serious pieces of tech, despite their flaws.

Read the reviews. Ask questions. Both types of devices have sub-forums here.

2. A Sony. These are more for pdf reading and annotation. Maybe try the Remarkable? I don't know much about these. They are pretty tidy out of the box, compared to the Onyx, with less glitches (particularly the Sony), but more limited. Again, I don't know a lot about them.

1. I will mention you can install Koreader on your Kobo. It's a nice e-reading software, very open, can be developed.

Anyway, I'd go with Onyx. I assume you can reduce functionality with a launcher, but you can't increase it. And the Onyx hardware is pretty solid. The complaint generally comes from people who expect a smooth as Kindle experience out of the box. The Kindle experience is smooth because it does so much less.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:04 AM   #8
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10" is fine to read pdf in landscape. Just scroll down. The important element is the software. Onyx software is excellent for pdf.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papered Over View Post
I do not want to introduce children to a modern OS such as a iOS or Android systems before they barely know who they are or have reached a level of competent literacy and numeracy. It's much to early introduction in their development and it can be detrimental to various motor and social skills laying the foundation for addictive behaviour and issues unchecked.
You control the device. Activate the appropriate parental controls. Only the apps you wish your kids to be able to use are accessible to them. Don't give them access to a browser or social media apps. The skills they will use reading on the tablet are not substantively different to those reading on an eink reader. You have more control with a tablet, not less.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:36 AM   #10
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I feel, the BQ Cervantes line of readers are the most "open" devices.
The UI is built over QT and source available in github.(incl kernel).

https://blog.bq.com/es/bq-ereaders-developers-program/

This probably beats even the Irex Iliads.
But in spite of these, there seems to be very little interest in these devices.

Out of the box the reader seems to be quite bland and they are only in 6' size. Begging for some developer's TLC.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:09 AM   #11
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I feel, the BQ Cervantes line of readers are the most "open" devices.
The UI is built over QT and source available in github.(incl kernel).

https://blog.bq.com/es/bq-ereaders-developers-program/

This probably beats even the Irex Iliads.
But in spite of these, there seems to be very little interest in these devices.

Out of the box the reader seems to be quite bland and they are only in 6' size. Begging for some developer's TLC.
The Cervantes 4 is a nice reader. If you plan to write your own QT apps it is way better than kobos because you can repurpose the framebuffer / touchpad / buttons drivers and just focus on the application itself. The only thing that needs a bit of work is implementing a virtual keyboard but there are plenty of tutorials online, like http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index....board_Template.

Some software was ported, including KOReader, FBInk, a modern toolchain and a tool to debug the device via usbnet.

If you don't care about Qt apps then get a Kobo (or a Remarkable), because both are easily hackable and have a bigger community, which helps when you have questions.


Comparing stock readers (QtBookApp vs Nickel) or hardware (BQ cervantes 4 vs Kobo Clara HD) is not fair and kobo usually wins by a huge margin, but there is some positive points for BQ:

- they implemented a truly professional mechanism to update the firmware
- wifi might consume a bit more current when it is disabled but it is waaay more reliable than kobo's wifi.
- the device doesn't wake up by itself on KOReader as happened sometimes in some kobo devices I had.
- Better battery life (at least in KOReader)
- I saw a few C3/C4 and none of them have the light bleeding problem you'll find on some Claras HD.
- Developers firmware is based on Debian Wheezy, you can install any Debian packages and have some nices extras (like installing avahi-daemon and having your device autoannounce your network services on your LAN or installing a userspace mtp implementation instead of relying on the g_mass_storage kernel driver.

Finally, I do love the IR touchscreen these devices have.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:57 AM   #12
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When my son was 6 I gave him an old Paperwhite loaded with novels and Manga.

He read 2/3 hours on it every day (and has now kept up the habit for a couple of years), so I got him a 32gb Oasis when he was 7.

He's now 8 and only uses the Oasis for manga and graphic novels (he reads paper books for school) so I'm giving him another upgrade to an 8" Onyx Nova Pro. This will be a better size for graphic novels and be good for him to play chess on (my reader is a similar but smaller Poke Pro).

His little sister is about to get the Oasis and I hope she loves ereaders as much. They have iPads but hardly use them as we've locked them down to only educational apps. I don't want them using non-reader focused devices frequently. Even on Android ereader devices, the e-ink screen promotes this behaviour.
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