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David Hines [userpic]

Amazon's Kindle

November 24th, 2007 (04:04 pm)

So, let me get this straight.

Amazon has come out with a device that holds a large number of books, has a glare-free e-ink screen, lets you read websites, has batteries that last for ages, and gives you instant encyclopedia access pretty much anywhere.

I am not buying one until they stamp the words "Don't Panic" in large friendly letters on the cover.

(I feel somewhat ahead of the curve here, as when I bought a Handspring Visor about eight years ago the main thing I used it for was reading. I had a train commute, and I downloaded books from Project Gutenberg, put 'em on my Visor, and read happily all the way to and from work. The downside: small type, but I never had a problem with it, and the screen was readable enough. I read a hell of a lot onscreen, but in all honesty I won't get a dedicated e-book reader, even Amazon's -- their prices are too high for objects that don't have to be published, packed, or shipped, and I like knowing that I keep a hardcopy version that'll be preserved even if Amazon.com goes out of business. While the Kindle has some nice features, an ebook reader just doesn't make sense for me unless it does one thing the Kindle doesn't: FIT IN MY POCKET. I like not having to carry a knapsack everywhere, and while the Kindle does a lot of stuff, fitting into a pocket ain't one of 'em.)


Posted by: Maire (mkcs)
Posted at: November 25th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)

Electronic readers should play music, surf the net, run word processing and spreadsheet software, display and store pictures, and tell one the date in Ancient Mayan glyphs.

And no, I haven't stopped using Palm OS, even though it's a dinosaur, because no one else seems to be making something I can drop repeatedly that will fit in my pocket and that does all the above, with a screen I'm comfortable reading on.

I don't know why they don't make something with a fold-up screen. I know it would have a hinge line in the middle when unfolded, but it would still be handy.

All I want is a good keyboard that folds up and fits in my pocket (the old Palm one that folded in four was pretty much ideal), a touchscreen that folds out into A4 size, but also folds down to show only about 100x75mm, and a droppable processing and storage unit that fits in my other pocket, with all three devices talking to each other wirelessly. I know they could do it if they'd just get their acts together!

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: November 25th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)

There's a prototype out there that slides apart to show a screen, which makes the thing more portable. Of course, I can't find a link or photo to it.

I think the foldable screen is probably a way off; e-Ink, the company that builds the technology used for the Kindle, has a flexible roll-up screen in the offing, but I think the most useful result in that area would be the build-a-screen. If you can build the segments thin enough, and edgeless, it'd be neat to see a screen sold in pieces. So, if you wanted, you could get six 3x5" screens, put them together, and they'd automatically make a 9x15" screen for you. That's my fantasy screen technology, anyway.

Posted by: Maire (mkcs)
Posted at: November 25th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)

I don't get the obsession electronic-paper manufacturers have with rollability. It would be cool, yes, but it would be even cooler to have a foldable screen *now*.

I love your idea. It would indeed be even cooler again.

There seems to be an all-or-nothing approach by the people who are making these things that I really don't get, though. Electronic paper has been round for years, now, and I've still never seen any round for me to purchase to read in bed with.

(I also want my device to talk wirelessly to a waterproof control pad and projector, I realise, so I can read in the bath.)

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