The First Round Of COLOR eBook Devices Are Coming

December 29, 2009

First up is Aiptek, a purveyor of budget-priced items.

They will debut the Story Book inColor at CES next month. A color digital book reading device for children that features an eight-inch color LCD screen and twenty “illustrated audio stories” built in. Price is unknown. The digital books — forty of which are listed on their site — have a US$4.99 price.

Full device specs and a video after the break.

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Why A 7-Inch iTablet Makes Sense

December 23, 2009

Ever since the rumors stated the iTablet would have a ten-inch screen, I’ve been uneasy about that possibility.

In one of those rumors, it was asserted that Apple was going with ten inches due to a decree by Steve Jobs himself that anything less was too small.

The more I thought about that, the more nonsensical it became.

First of all, Steve Jobs has seen what the iPhone has done to the Internet.

Second of all, what we think about as a “proper” screen size is about to undergo a revolution.

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The Ugliest Fight Ever: Apple Versus Google

December 12, 2009

What people have been saying since since July 2008 is now true: the Google Phone exists and is coming.

And right now it’s running what no one else has: Android 2.1.

While people are saying the “dogfood” test is mainly to wind up with a consistent, unfragmented Android platform, you can bet that what’s also happening is all the Googlers are busy seeing how Google works with the Google Phone.

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The 7 Principles Of Apple

December 2, 2009

I’m not sure that Apple has anything as stupid as one of those Mission Statements cobbled together by marketing and PR Suits who believe hollow, pretty words = reality.

What I do think is that if we were able to overhear conversations at Apple, we’d be able to tease out the things that make that company do what it does. But we don’t need such eavesdropping power, however, because we can also derive Apple’s principles from its actions.

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The Fine Print = Apple iTablet WIN!

November 13, 2009

In a prior post, I teased all of you with this:

What Vook’s running into here is precisely why the iTablet is going to be a monstrous hit — even beyond the monstrous hit of the iPhone. I won’t explain that statement right now. I’m saving that for a future post.

The post I did earlier today reminded me I should do this follow-up.

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The Coming Android Mini-Tablet Flood

October 27, 2009

I predict that by this time next year we’ll be wading in Android mini-tablets up to our knees.

It’s going to be the next Netbook Flood.

Why I say this is due to two things.

Click for those two things


How To Do Touch Right And Wrong

October 13, 2009

An example of Right, from Quantum of Solace:

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And then there’s Wrong.

Click for that


Touch Will Change Everything

October 13, 2009

Michael Arrington wrote about the wrongness of the HP Touchsmart machines.

He’s correct.

I’ve gotten to the point with my PC usage where I no longer just Do This Do This Do This — I’ve begun to ask, Why the hell do I have to Do This?

Since the introduction of the iPhone, it’s been easier for me to see that the current desktop paradigm — mouse, monitor just about parallel to my face — is absolutely backward and counter-productive. In fact, using a mouse feels like something out of the 19th-century to me.

Arrington thinks a drawing-table-like slanted machine is the future.

Here’s a screensnap from a TV series called Star Cops, envisioning such a computer:

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Arrington’s absolutely wrong about that.

Click to see why he’s wrong wrong wrong


Steve Ballmer: Absolutely Inexcusably Clueless

October 9, 2009

PCs are best for e-reading, Microsoft’s Ballmer says

“I would love to see companies like Amazon and others bring their books to the PC,” Ballmer said. “Hopefully we can get that to happen with Barnes & Noble or Amazon or somebody,” Ballmer said.

Boldface emphasis added by me.

Wow. Just wow.

Memo to Steve Ballmer:

eReader (owned by Barnes & Noble, hello!) displays eBooks on a PC.

Adobe Digital Editions displays eBooks on a PC.

Sony eLibrary displays eBooks on a PC.

MobiPocket (owned by Amazon, hello!) displays eBooks on a PC.

Your own Microsoft Reader will display eBooks on a PC!!!

Any browser will display Google Books — and other eBooks!

And yet you think you need a joint venture or … something … with “somebody”?!!?


Eveda: How NOT To Do A Digital Book

October 2, 2009

Someone in Comments wanted me to take a look at this.

It’s a textbook example of why digital books have gained more skeptics than supporters.

I really recommend enlarging each of these and looking at them.

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The default language is Russian …

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… although selecting English is really not much of an improvement:

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Interface Sin: It uses a Flash-based page-flip animation to mimic print:

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… the only time I’ve seen that done well is at the Internet Archive.

What’s even worse is that the page flips seem to go to chapter starts — not from page to page of the text!

This is where you can begin reading — and I don’t recall how the hell I got there:

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Beginning to read…

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The text is bizarrely all-centered! Wrong!

And see how the page is opaque, how the background image bleeds through? Wrong!

Here’s a Compound Interface Sin:

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The page has two interfaces! Arrows in the upper right corner for Back/Forward and a scrollbar to move up/down within the text. Wrong!

ScrollMotion does something similar with its Iceberg iPhone reading app — scroll up/down and swipe back/forward — but I understand why they’re doing that (an explanation in a future post, for those who haven’t figured it out). Here, it makes no sense whatsoever.

After the text has been read and dismissed, there are three options:

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Clicking on Picture…

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… displays a confusing montage of images of different sizes whose relation to one another is not easily discerned. And there is annoying music with this too. Wrong.

Clicking the third option, Play …

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… brought up six squares, of unknown purpose.

Clicking on the sixth one …

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… brought up a teletype-like character-by-character display of text.

At this point, I’d had enough.

This is all just so wrong. Design isn’t about what you can do, what you can add — design is about knowing what can be done and not doing all of it. And great design is knowing what to leave out.

This digital book is not an end result of design — it’s the end result of a failed conspiracy.

The home page is even worse:

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It’s things like this that have engendered an army of enemies against the term “digital book.” People look at this agglomeration of randomness and have the idea planted in their heads that the future is going to offer them a mess.

Vook’s web interface shows what’s possible with the digital book. Something that looks simple is the product of the hardest thinking possible. It’s the complex and nonsensical that’s the end-result of non-thought.

That’s something Microsoft never understood — and still doesn’t understand. The only time Microsoft approached glimpsing the power of true design was with Microsoft Reader — which it abandoned.

Apple understands design nearly completely. Which is why the iPhone has not just sold in the millions, but is also actively impacting the entire DNA of Internet too.

If this hasn’t deterred you, or you have a morbid curiosity about how design can fail, begin at the Eveda Home Page. [Update: fixed link]

The Eveda Blog reveals they have the enthusiasm for digital books. They just don’t know how to do them right.