L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

12 March 2007 Blog Home : March 2007 : Permalink

eBook Readers Please Sign Up Here

The NAEB (Not Another E-Book) folk are approaching the point where they have a product so they are looking for potential customers. The specs are quite attractive but deliberately intended to be fairly basic. The reader is based on a pretty standard ARM/Linux platform and it runs just two applications: reading books and playing MP3 music. The current estimated price ($350) is competitive with other eBook readers such as the iLiad and the Sony. Since this is essentially a non-profit volunteer produced product, the price is essentially the price of the hardware which means that the price will drop substantially if more people sign up to buy. For people in England the current dollar:sterling exchange rate is such that this handy little device should be under £200 or about the same as Microsoft's overpriced new operating system and, unlike the Microsoft product, this one will not have the same markup between countries that makes people this side of the Atlantic pay rather more for stuff than they do in America.

Although the reader will work very well with Baen's DRM free ebooks, this is far from the only place where suitable stuff can be obtained. The thousands of out of copyright works at Project Gutenberg will also be supported as will many books sold by Fictionwise and other ePubishing specialists but I suspect the real gain for this device is its support for non-fiction as well. Technical manuals, academic textbooks and other reference materials are also perfect for this device and generally available free, or nearly free, for download.

I have copied the specs below for reference.
Size: 4.7" x 7.4" x 0.3" (118 x 188 x 8 mm)
Weight: 6.3 ounces (183 g, battery included)
Screen: Black and White, 4-level Gray-scale E-Ink, 6" diagonal, 600x800 pixels (170 dpi), Daylight readable, Portrait and Landscape display capabilities
Sound: Standard 3.5mm stereo headphone plug
Controls: Buttons: On/Off, Up, Down, Right, Left, Enter, Cancel and Music
Battery: Rechargeable, built-in, Li-Polymer battery (800mAh) (Approximately 8000 page flips per battery charge), Rechargeable via USB cable
Processor: Samsung S3C2410 ARM 200MHz
ROM Memory: 16MB + 64MB Data Flash
RAM Memory: 16MB
Connectivity: USB Client (version 2.0)
Expandability: SD (Secure Digital) memory card slot
Power Supply: USB
Color: White (I'd like Black and I believe we can get some in that color)
Logo: Bookeen

Operating System: Linux
Applications: MP3 player, Ebook Reader

Notes: On release of our version the ebook reader software will support ebooks in the following formats: RTF, HTML, PDF and PRC (Mobipocket) No DRM will be built into the software
Price: Approximately $350. It may be a bit higher or lower and we'll be able to be more specific by the time we're ready to ask for payment.

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