CES, The Death Of eInk, And The Asus Factor

January 10, 2010

If you want to see what the eBook announcements were at CES, visit this one page. They’ve done great work compiling that list, even if they forgot Cool-er (which is understandable!).

Everything there that uses eInk you can ignore. They’re already d-e-d.

Some notes on the non-eInk devices after the break.

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CES 2010 Note 1

January 7, 2010

There won’t be a parade of device announcements on this blog. Go elsewhere for that.

So far the only thing that intrigues me is the Sony Dash. I’ll post more once I know more.

The parade of landfill-ready eInk devices continues. I’ll probably do one big post about that procession of FAIL.

My initial take on Blio was that it was shit, then I caught a two-second glimpse of it running on an iPhone. Why didn’t they say so from the bloody start? Their website is pathetic for useful information. This is no way to go about doing things.

I’m still waiting for information about the Notion Ink tablet and Pixel Qi’s partners.

That hp mini-tablet Ballmer held up last night? Puhleeze. It’s fingertip-hostile Windows 7. Next!


2010 In Review

December 30, 2009

Everyone has already told you what 2009 was like.

And some think they’re telling you what 2010 will be.

I will instead tell you what 2010 was.

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Enough eInk/ePaper/eCrap eBook Devices!

December 29, 2009

One of several new videos at YouTube had this frightening image in it:

Mustek might jump in?

The world really does not need yet another damned eCrap eBook device.


Sizes: Sony Reader Daily Edition Vs. Camangi WebStation

December 22, 2009

I was looking at some pictures of the Sony Reader Daily Edition on Flickr and a light went off in my dim head.

This is very interesting (photos are not to scale):

5″ x 8-1/8″ x 19/32″ without cover
5″ x 8-1/8″ x 23/32″ with cover
12.75 oz

4.72″ x 7.87″ x 0.57″
13.75 oz

The Camangi is actually smaller! It weighs one more ounce, however.

The screens are quite different in resolution: 600×1024 vs. 800×600.

On the other hand, the Camangi is color.

Perhaps most devastating: they are both US$399.00.

Yes, the Camangi lacks free 3G, but still.

I said the Nook at 12 ounces was too heavy for extending holding. The Sony Reader Daily Edition is heavier!

Updating the prior list now:

Nook: 11.2 ounces (actually 12!)
Cybook Opus: 5.3 ounces
Archos 7: 23 ounces
Archos 5IT: 6.4 ounces (32GB Flash)
Pocket Edition: 7.6 ounces
Touch Edition: 10.1 ounces
Daily Edition: 12.75 ounces
Camangi: 13.75 ounces


Sony Reader Touch Edition Slaughters Barnes & Noble Nook

December 21, 2009

Blame my stupidity for not thinking of this earlier!

We’ve had two posts now where the Barnes & Noble Nook failed with a significant ePub: The People of the Abyss by Jack London.

Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet
Barnes & Noble Nook 1.1.0: Liza Reports

As of today, the situation was still this:

Opening The People of the Abyss still takes a long time (about 30 seconds, enough that I initially thought it wasn’t going to work at all). Jumping into a chapter takes long enough that I get an OS-level error saying that the application is stalled (answering “wait” will eventually work).

* Going backwards into a previous chapter still shows no loading message, when loading can take time.
* Moving between chapters in this edition still takes 20-30 seconds.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

So I asked librarian Robin Bradford to try it on her Sony Reader Touch Edition, which she just bought a few weeks ago. She reports:

So I tried the book.

There was not a noticeable difference between this book and others when turning pages or changing chapters.

The only slight difference was when a picture would come up. It would take an extra second for it to settle into focus. Focus may not be the right word, but I’m not sure what to call it. The words would all be there, and then the pic would settle in. By the time you noticed, everything was fine.

Moving between pages, or between chapters, was done with the speed of any other book.

Go Team Sony!

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Really, this is what I thought would happen with the Sony Reader Touch Edition. But I wanted it confirmed with a real test.

As I wrote earlier, if you must buy an eInk device:

Sony Reader Touch Edition is the best.

Previously here:

Barnes & Noble Nook 1.1.0: Liza Reports
Multi eInk eBook Device Fondle Report
Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet


Barnes & Noble’s Incompatible Non-Universal ePub

December 21, 2009

I don’t know why this should shock anybody.

Still, it makes the PDF press release [PDF link] title all the more ironic:

Adobe and Barnes & Noble Join Forces to Standardize eBook Technology

By standardizing on EPUB and collaborating with Adobe on a content protection standard based on Adobe technology, Barnes & Noble is delivering the richest range of content available, across a broader array of devices than anybody else,” said William J. Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.com. “Consumers can feel confident that when they buy their digital content from BN.com, they can read it on more devices than any other bookstore.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Let me parse this.

By standardizing on EPUB — ah, good! Everyone except Kindle is on the same page now. ePub for everybody! You can buy ePub here, there, and even everywhere — at Barnes & Noble and all other ePub-pusher storefronts — and it will run on anything that uses ePub.

Um, no.

Because of this:

they can read it on more devices than any other bookstore — the key words are devices and bookstore. Meaning, those devices must run the software of the bookstore, meaning Barnes & Noble.

Which then makes the next sentence in that press release an outright lie:

This collaboration with Adobe further delivers on our commitment to provide the digital content our customers want, anytime, anywhere and on whatever device they choose.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

What if I choose a Sony Reader? Or a Cooler? Or Astak?

Out of luck.

Because of this:

Adobe is integrating Barnes & Noble’s eReader social content protection technology into Adobe Content Server, Adobe Reader Mobile SDK and, eventually, into Adobe Digital Editions.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Barnes & Noble’s eReader social content protection technology — this is the eReader DRM feature, which places the eBook buyer’s name and credit card number in the eBook file. So, if you pass that file on, there’s your name and credit card number for everyone to see.

No other device aside from the Nook and those running the Barnes & Noble eReader software can deal with this form of DRM.

ePubs purchased at Barnes & Noble will “stay in Barnes & Noble.”

The only hope is that as other manufacturers — Sony, et al — update their device firmware, they will add this method of DRM to it.

It’s not just device firmware, either: Adobe Digital Editions and Sony Library will both require updating too to handle this.

In summary: The Nook can read ePub with the special (for now) Barnes & Noble “social DRM” as well as all other Adobe DRM ePub files (from public libraries or bought even from Sony’s Reader Store). The reverse is not true: No device other than the Nook right now can process the new “social DRM” scheme the Nook uses.

When will ePub again be “universal?” Adobe says by the end of 2010.

How’s that for a hell of a wait?

Additional:

Customer FAQ: Adobe and Barnes & Noble