The Android e-book, The One to Get


This new e-book will be the one to get. Launching October 20th, it is an Android machine (say early leaks) aiming to rival the Amazon Kindle. And it will have a Plastic Logic and E-Ink e-paper display much more robust than rival glass screens, much better contrast, too. But will it appear in markets outside the US?

The launch is courtesy of American book shop Barnes and Noble. Desire Athow reports that the E-Ink based device “will apparently sport a 6-inch display, is likely to have Wi-Fi but no 3G (due to battery concerns).

“There are also rumours that it will be able to lend ‘books’ to other B&N e-book readers as well,” Athow added.

Effectively, this means the bookseller is sponsoring the price. It’s able to download books from the e-books page which the firm set up earlier this year. The idea is that people will buy more e-books if they can actually read them without a computer.

Researchers at Plastic Logic have long predicted this development for when the next generation of e-paper came to market. Analyst Nick Hampshire of AFAICS Research said: “The difference between an e-paper display and a laptop PC is startling. It’s lighter, for a start, so you can hold it in one hand, lean back, lie down, and keep adjusting your position exactly as you do with an ordinary book. It will weigh much the same, too.”

But the main difference between this and a laptop will be battery life, Hampshire said. “The display is much morereadable than a TFT page, because of higher resolution and higher contrast ratios, but whereas a three pound laptop struggles to get through five hours of battery life, an e-book device can easily last a week.”

John Herrman doesn’t expect the B&N book to have a qwerty keyboard, so this will be no netbook, despite the Android. And it won’t be a phone either.

“What we’re waiting to see here at AFAICS is the data format,” said Hampshire. “It looks as if B&N will be tempted to use a proprietary format, so that downloads require this particular device. That would be a mistake from our point of view; this market will only develop if it becomes possible to read any e-book on any e-page device. We’ll have to wait for the launch for confirmation.”

The surprise will be a colour display. Jennifer Van Grove quoted Daniel Jorrison, an executive with Fictionwise, a content partner for e-book maker Plastic Logic that Barnes and Noble acquired back in March 2009 for $16 million, that a colour reader from Plastic Logic will “run the B&N application”, bearing the B&N brand.

The New York Times is our source for the launch date, having received an invitation to a press event on the 20th of October in New York. Bad manners in journalistic circles to leak the invite date! But useful for the rest of us.

[via Unthinkable]



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