Survey of
                             Current
                            E-Readers
                             Liza Dal...
Three ways to segment e-readers:


                     e-ink




Sunday, February 15, 2009
e-ink




                                    iLiad
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What is e-ink?



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Electronic ink is made up of
                          very tiny capsules
                     of electrically-charged
   ...
Full-size image of Amazon Kindle screen

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Sony Reader PRS-505
                  Amazon Kindle

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ECTACO jetBook
                  Amazon Kindle

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Amazon Kindle   Apple iPhone

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Electronic ink refresh




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Electronic ink refresh




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Electronic ink refresh




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Electronic ink requires
  power only during these
  page turns.




                            http://www.flickr.com/photo...
Electronic ink requires                    This translates to long
  power only during these                     battery l...
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Readability
     Battery life



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Readability            High cost
                            Slow refresh
     Battery life           Black & white




Su...
Readability              High cost
                            + Slow refresh
     Battery life             Black & white
...
Readability              High cost
                            + Slow refresh
     Battery life             Black & white
...
Readability                     High cost
                                   + Slow refresh
     Battery life             ...
What’s it like to buy an ebook?




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What’s it like to buy an ebook?




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What’s it like to buy an ebook?

                                 vs.




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What’s it like to buy an ebook?

                                 vs.




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My ideal e-reader




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My ideal e-reader




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My ideal e-reader


                              +




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My ideal e-reader


                              +         =




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Stanza
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Bookworm
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Fictionwise


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Hardware
            Show & Tell
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Plastic Logic

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Thanks!
        Liza Daly                 Keith Fahlgren
        liza@threepress.org      keith@oreilly.com



Sunday, Feb...
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Survey Of Current E-Readers

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  • We’re going to talk about three ways to segment the e-reader market, and those are electronic ink screens, ePub support, and wireless.
  • Electronic ink devices include the Kindle 1 & 2 and the Sony Reader series, as well as the Plastic Logic device.
  • ePub, the open ebook format, is currently readable on the iPhone, the Sony Reader and the PlasticLogic reader, as well as any computer or netbook.
  • and lastly we’ll look at devices which support wireless purchases, either via a mobile phone network or through WiFi.
  • So what is electronic ink?
  • From a technology standpoint the name is descriptive -- it’s a form of electronic paper in which the ink particles themselves move in response to signals.
  • Because the ink capsules are so small, the screens have very high resolution, although currently they are only available in black and white. I took this photo with the camera about 2 inches from the Kindle screen -- you can see the text is very crisp.
  • Here’s the Sony Reader screen, which uses the same technology as the Kindle. The Sony uses a different font.
  • By comparison here’s the ECTACO jetBook screen. The jetBook screen is LCD, like most computer monitors, but also black and white only. This is the type of screen that standalone ereaders tended to use until e-ink came along.
  • And this one surprised me, here’s the iPhone. That was actually a white background and there’s some odd color banding but you can see that the text is actually not all that clear when read very closely.
  • One notable characteristic of eink screens is the way in which they refresh when you turn the page.
  • When you click to turn the page, the screen briefly inverts for a second, and the viewer sees a flash.
  • Some people find this annoying, others get used to it. The newer eink readers significantly reduce this flash.
  • The other major feature of e-ink besides the readability of the text is the very long battery life. E-ink readers don’t use any power when displaying text on the screen, only when the page is turned.
  • Right now this is probably their biggest advantage over high resolution color screens like on the iPhone. It means you can pick up and put down an e-ink reader like you would a traditional book without having to think about turning it on and off all the time.
  • There are a few other commercial applications for electronic ink -- this is the Motorola F3 mobile phone --
  • -- and for some reason, giant flexible clocks.
  • So on the one hand we have great legibility and super long battery life, but e-ink screens are still expensive, they have the refresh problem and to date they’re black and white only. So that really translates to a specialty device that may interest high-volume readers but aren’t likely to catch on with more casual readers who may prefer a mobile phone.
  • So for an ereader consumer, what is the purchasing experience like? Since I’m covering the eink readers I’m going to pit the Kindle against the Sony Reader here, but much of this can apply to other platforms.
  • So starting with the Kindle. Step 1 is... get a Kindle. We have only one way to do that, which is go to Amazon.com, and when we make the purchase we naturally have to give Amazon our credit card and billing information.
  • So starting with the Kindle. Step 1 is... get a Kindle. We have only one way to do that, which is go to Amazon.com, and when we make the purchase we naturally have to give Amazon our credit card and billing information.
  • So now we have our Kindle and we want to buy a book. One option is we go to Amazon.com and pick out a book -- this is the new Neil Gaiman which recently won a Newbery. Amazon gives me two choices here -- I can either buy the book outright with one click or have a sample sent to my Kindle.
  • And over on the Kindle itself I have the same two options -- I can either read a sample or just buy it.
  • ...and there is no step three thanks to the magic of wireless, I make one click on the website or on the Kindle and the book is magically sent to my device. It’s almost like I didn’t spend real money!
  • So let’s comparison shop with the Sony Reader. Step 1: get a Sony Reader. Here we actually have some nice choices -- we can buy from the Sony Store online, or we can go to an actual physical store and actually look at the device before we buy it.
  • OK so now we’re ready to buy a book. Similar to Amazon, Sony has its own ebook store, so we go there. It’s a pretty nice store, and actually a nicer experience in some ways than Amazon because they just sell ebooks, not lawnmowers and shoes and diapers.
  • ...and they even have the same Neil Gaiman book for sale, although it’s $3 more than at Amazon.
  • ...but there isn’t actually a “buy” button, instead it says, “Want this eBook?” and I’m instructed to download some software first.
  • OK... and then there are instructions -- download their software, then create an account. And wait, there’s some system requirements here -- requires Windows Vista or XP? But I have a Mac. And what does this have to do with my ereading device?
  • OK so I’m a Mac user and therefore out of luck. What if I try a third-party store like Fictionwise? Well, they don’t have anything by Neil Gaiman but they do have this book about Neil Gaiman. There’s a bunch of prices listed here so I’m not really sure what it costs, but at least there’s an “Add to Cart” button. But what’s “Secure Mobipocket”?
  • If I click on the link to tell me about their ebook formats, it tells me some stuff about something called Multiformat. And hey there’s Secure Mobipocket, but it doesn’t say whether I can read that with my Sony, and the page keeps going, and going.
  • and I dunno about you but just making these slides I was ready to get in my car and drive to the bookstore. (And eventually I would’ve learned that no, I can’t read Mobipocket books on my Sony Reader.)
  • And even once I did managed to buy an ebook, probably after I got some help on a web forum, the only way to get it onto my reader is to plug in to my computer. Which to me feels pretty old-fashioned.
  • But one thing the Sony Reader really does have going for it is that it supports the ePub ebook standard. There are other talks this week about ePub so I’m not going into it, but ePub lets me as a consumer completely forget about all those format instructions on Fictionwise. If -- and this is key -- the ePub does not have Digital Rights Management, I’m free to read it on my netbook, on my iPhone and on my Reader, whichever device happens to serve my needs and whichever I have on me.


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  • Survey Of Current E-Readers

    1. 1. Survey of Current E-Readers Liza Daly Keith Fahlgren Sunday, February 15, 2009
    2. 2. Three ways to segment e-readers: e-ink Sunday, February 15, 2009
    3. 3. e-ink iLiad Sunday, February 15, 2009
    4. 4. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    5. 5. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    6. 6. What is e-ink? Sunday, February 15, 2009
    7. 7. Electronic ink is made up of very tiny capsules of electrically-charged pigments. 100,000 of these capsules fit in a single square inch, providing high resolution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/iliahi/2606645766/ Sunday, February 15, 2009
    8. 8. Full-size image of Amazon Kindle screen Sunday, February 15, 2009
    9. 9. Sony Reader PRS-505 Amazon Kindle Sunday, February 15, 2009
    10. 10. ECTACO jetBook Amazon Kindle Sunday, February 15, 2009
    11. 11. Amazon Kindle Apple iPhone Sunday, February 15, 2009
    12. 12. Electronic ink refresh Sunday, February 15, 2009
    13. 13. Electronic ink refresh Sunday, February 15, 2009
    14. 14. Electronic ink refresh Sunday, February 15, 2009
    15. 15. Electronic ink requires power only during these page turns. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rob_a_dickinson/2981053795/ Sunday, February 15, 2009
    16. 16. Electronic ink requires This translates to long power only during these battery life, especially page turns. relative to color PDAs and phones. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rob_a_dickinson/2981053795/ Sunday, February 15, 2009
    17. 17. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    18. 18. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    19. 19. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    20. 20. Readability Battery life Sunday, February 15, 2009
    21. 21. Readability High cost Slow refresh Battery life Black & white Sunday, February 15, 2009
    22. 22. Readability High cost + Slow refresh Battery life Black & white Sunday, February 15, 2009
    23. 23. Readability High cost + Slow refresh Battery life Black & white Sunday, February 15, 2009
    24. 24. Readability High cost + Slow refresh Battery life Black & white Specialty device Sunday, February 15, 2009
    25. 25. What’s it like to buy an ebook? Sunday, February 15, 2009
    26. 26. What’s it like to buy an ebook? Sunday, February 15, 2009
    27. 27. What’s it like to buy an ebook? vs. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    28. 28. What’s it like to buy an ebook? vs. Sunday, February 15, 2009
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    55. 55. 1?? “Secure Mobipocket?” Sunday, February 15, 2009
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    75. 75. My ideal e-reader Sunday, February 15, 2009
    76. 76. My ideal e-reader + Sunday, February 15, 2009
    77. 77. My ideal e-reader + = Sunday, February 15, 2009
    78. 78. Sunday, February 15, 2009
    79. 79. Stanza Sunday, February 15, 2009
    80. 80. Bookworm Sunday, February 15, 2009
    81. 81. Fictionwise Sunday, February 15, 2009
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    112. 112. 3 12 Yay! Sunday, February 15, 2009
    113. 113. 3 12 Yay! Sunday, February 15, 2009
    114. 114. Hardware Show & Tell Sunday, February 15, 2009
    115. 115. Plastic Logic Sunday, February 15, 2009
    116. 116. Thanks! Liza Daly Keith Fahlgren liza@threepress.org keith@oreilly.com Sunday, February 15, 2009

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