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Equal time

Having blogged about the Kindle so much lately, I feel a need to give equal time to other e-readers. One I had mentioned ages ago when I first started looking at e-readers is the iLiad by iRex. It sounds like it might well turn out to be the betamax of e-readers—technically superior but it never catches on. For one thing, it's even more expensive than the Kindle, either $600 or $700 depending on the model. Whoa!

I also found this article and video of an e-book prototype developed by a couple of university research departments. It's different because it has two screens. You can open it like a book and see two facing pages, or you can detach the halves and have two separate screens if you want to display two documents at once. And you can mimic the page turning action of a paper book instead of pressing buttons to advance the screen. This model's developers seem to have spent the most time on the matching the paper-book reader experience to new technology, but what I'm not sure of is how much of that experience is really necessary. If young people are already used to a new experience why work at perpetuating the old one? The article mentions an earlier (2004) commercial two-screen effort by Toshiba that went nowhere.

But what it may come down to is, it's easier to see gasoline-burning cars if you already have a bunch of gas stations everywhere people need them. In the e-book reader arena, Amazon has a decided edge.


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