The iRex iLiad - one of the contenders, but at AUD$1200, that's a whole lotta paperbacks!
I read a rather interesting article on Ars Technica this morning. I highly recommend it, if you're at all interested in electronic devices and the potential for them to be used for storing books (novels, encyclopedias, textbooks, reference books, pretty much anything).
I liked this particular quote:
Everything is set for another run at this e-book thing. Will Apple wake from its apparent slumber and pull the sword from the stone—the sword that's currently taped to its hand and sheathed in a teflon-lined crevice?
The iLiad shown above is probably closest to what I'd like in an e-book reader - something that's got a great screen, and the ability to make notes & drawings.
The wish list, however, is still large:
- Colour screen, with video support;
- WiFi (so you can use it for web browsing, natch!);
- Handwriting recognition (even something a la Palm's Graffiti - those glyphs are easy to learn, and fast to write);
- Something more than 256MB of internal memory (really, that's kinda small these days, although the ability to slap in large capacity CF cards is nice);
- User-swappable batteries - I mean, a 3-hour charge time doesn't help much when your battery goes flat mid-flight;
- A price a bit lower than that of a full-on notebook PC;
- e-books that are priced realistically. Come on, $19.95 for an electronic edition that costs $0.00 (to the nearest cent) to reproduce? Haven't you book publishers learned *anything* from watching the digital music scene?
Dymocks here in Oz claim to have 94,000 e-books available for purchase. The problems with that:
- they're spread across at least four different (incompatible, natch) digital formats;
- many of them are as expensive, if not more so, than their dead-tree equivalents, and that's on top of having to pay $$bigbucks for a portable device capable of displaying them;
- all of them have DRM, which is just plain bad news for paying customers, but not for 'non-paying customers' (or pirates, as the publishing industry likes to call them).
Actually, I've a recent example of that. I tried to install & play my copy of IL2:1946 on Windows 7 on my PC at home. IL2 is a fun game, and well worth paying for IMHO. It's just a shame that I couldn't get it to run on Windows 7, because of the @#$% copy protection. I had to download a crack for the game just to run it. I might as well have just downloaded the whole game, right? Would have saved me a lot of aggravation, because it would have worked first time, and I wouldn't have spent a day trying to figure out why it wouldn't run.
Go read the article, it's worth it.