Friday, February 27, 2009

Patience, Keegan, patience! (My kingdom for a bloody ebook gizmo ... revisited)

Okay, Keegan, be patient. Hold your horses. It's already the end of February ... it's going to be 2010 before you can turn around and spit: you DON'T want to spend a grand on something that's going to be virtually obsolete before it's paid for itself --

Like an ebook screenreader (fingers itch to make grab for credit card and order something like Bebook or Omnia). Because look what's coming out next year:

It's called epaper. It's from a company called Plastic Logic, and get a load of this:

...and here's the a-b-c right off the company's own webpage:
"Our foray into the market will begin in the second half of 2009 with pilots, and trials with key partners. We expect to accelerate the momentum of our sales in 2010.

Differentiated by a stunning form factor (the size of 8.5 x 11-inch paper), the Plastic Logic reader features a big readable display. Yet it's thinner than a pad of paper, lighter than many business periodicals, and offers a high-quality reading experience - better than alternatives of paper or other electronic readers on the market today.

The Plastic Logic reader supports a full range of business document formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, and Adobe PDFs, as well as newspapers, periodicals and books. It has an easy gesture-based user interface and powerful software tools that will help business users to organize and manage their information. Users can connect to their information either wired or wirelessly and store thousands of documents on the device. The reader incorporates E Ink technology for great readability and features low power consumption and long battery life.

How much the thing will cost is another question, of course. These guys have to know they're up against Kindle (about US$350) and what have you, so if the Plastic Logic thingamajig cost about US$550, that's about as high as they would dare go; you can get the iPhone from Walmart for about US$100 just now, and the Omnia is tickling US$200, reducing in price all the time.

Also, it's a new, proprietary technology: "Traditional displays consist of millions of transistors that are etched onto silicon using photolithographic techniques. Plastic Logic displays use polymer (plastic) transistors that are sprayed and painted onto a sheet of plastic and an E Ink sheet (the same technology used in the Kindle)."

So long as they don't price it way out the consumer's reach ... and if they wise up and make them in colors instead of the funeral-shroud white plastic as the Henry Ford option ("You can have any color you like, as long as it's black") I, for one, will be at the head of the queue with the magic plastic in hand. I just want a black one.

In fact ... Nostrakeeganus, he going to make prediction. He see price war coming. He see big, big undercutting fight, where Plastic Logic tries to kill Kindle, and Kindle then Plastic Logic gang up and try to kill Sony, and then all three gang up on Apple and beat the iPhone's brains out.

Frankly ... I've waited this long to get an ebook reader, I can suffer a little longer. 2010 sounds just right as the Great Purchase Date; wt which point it'll be all about who's got the best price for the best service. But I have to admit --

The lure of having a full-sized screen is powerful. It also places formatting, nice design, illustration and all, squarely back into the hands of publishers, rather than having to drop out everything except the italic, boldface and justification! For instance, Legends might be ebooked complete with the full suite of artwork.

One wonders if the Plastic Logic device will offer a color display version?

Speaking of Legends, Chapter Ten concluded today ...


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