It would come as no surprise to hear that your typical local library isn’t exactly a hive of activity these days. The availability of information online and swathes of technology capable of distracting us during quieter times has seen memberships declining. But a scheme designed to embrace modern alternatives to the weighty tome could breathe new life back into the service. Taking a leaf from Amazon’s book
, if you’ll pardon the pun, select local libraries in the UK are now subsidizing conventional methods by offering eBook rentals online.
Plastic Logic has flagged the unveiling of its business user focused QUE proReader eReader
at CES next January. The company says the eReader market to date has focused on leisure reading devices and casual users, so the QUE is designed for the busy executive who wants to access his or her business media in an electronic easy-to-read format. What this amounts too is an eReader roughly the same size as an 8.5 x 11-inch pad of paper, less than 1/3 inch thick, weighing less than many periodicals and boasting the largest touchscreen in the industry.
Despite being around since the mid-nineties, eBooks
have never really taken off and this is mainly down to the fact that eBook readers, which have been available for about a decade, have proven prohibitively expensive and barely more convenient than lugging around a couple paperbacks. Sony
have seen relative success in recent times, along with the Amazon Kindle
, but a new competitor in the form of Asus
could be set to breathe new life into the market.
Sony has added a third child to its eBook reader
family – the Reader Daily Edition – a sibling to the Pocket Edition and the Touch Edition products, which were released earlier this month. The Daily Edition eBook reader, however, is the ‘big brother’ to the other two, boasting a larger page view (seven inches wide) and 3G wireless connectivity.
Pixel Qi has given a glimpse of its 3Qi hybrid display that combines three separate modes: black-and-white, e-paper and full-color. The 3Qi is planned for release in late-2009 and will feature a 10.1-inch diagonal screen suited for mini-laptops and ebook readers.
Sharp Corporation is releasing a new notebook PC with an innovative optical sensor built into an LCD touch pad – which the company claims is a world first – at the end of the month. While Sharp’s Mebius PC-NJ70A netbook
will only be released initially in Japan, the 4-inch track pad, which recognizes input by pen or touch, clearly signals the direction notebooks are headed. According to Sharp, a pen can be used to input drawings and text, while finger gestures on the LCD pad can enlarge, shrink or rotate items on the notebook screen – all in addition to the conventional ways a mouse is used. Users can sign their name to a photo before emailing it, for instance; or they can use two fingers to zoom in and out of internet websites to adjust them for the best view.
HP and Arizona State University (ASU) have announced the first prototype of their affordable, flexible electronic displays. The unbreakable displays were created by ASU’s Flexible Display Center
and HP using self-aligned imprint lithography (SAIL) technology developed by HP Labs, HP’s central research arm. HP claims the production feat is a milestone in the industry’s efforts to create a mass market for high-resolution flexible displays. Plus, from an environmental standpoint, the displays leapfrog conventional display processes by using up to 90 percent less materials by volume.
has launched its portable eReader in the UK, offering compatibility with over 20 eBook formats and a large choice of online stores from which to buy eBooks. The eReader incorporates Vizplex technology and precise one-handed navigation to help users enjoy their library of best sellers, cult classics or the latest magazines.
June 28, 2006 The sophistication of an industry is reflected in the standards it adheres to, and until a few days ago, it would be fair to say that the eBook industry was in a dreadful state. The news that the major software companies and device manufacturers have announced plans to support new electronic book standards developed within the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has changed all that and the industry long seen as one of the most likely to succeed in digital form is now cleared for take-off. The companies will support these standards in their next generation software and devices, alleviating many of the previous file interoperability and production issues affecting the eBook industry and its customers. The new draft specifications can be downloaded here
Tuesday September 16, 2003: Conventional computer screens or handheld devices are certain to become obsolete as the electronic information we view increases in complexity and richness. Looking towards this next generation of leaner viewing devices, researchers at HP Labs have built a "Digital Media Viewer" to investigate how we will interact with digital information in the future.