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Books Handhelds The Almighty Buck Hardware

Freescale's Cheap Chip Could Mean Sub-$99 E-Readers 158

Posted by timothy
from the readership-growth dept.
eldavojohn writes "Last week, Freescale Semiconductor announced their i.MX508 chip and a few days ago released a rather bland and boring announcement that it's available. But there was at least one interesting line from that press release, 'The i.MX508 applications processor is expected to be priced at less than $10 (USD) in quantities greater than 250K units.' Yes, less than ten dollars. This sparked a wave of articles detailing how this new chip will allow the sub-$99 e-reader to emerge and according to market research, consumers are thirsty for something much more affordable than the Kindle."
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Freescale's Cheap Chip Could Mean Sub-$99 E-Readers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:55PM (#31350276)

    I seriously doubt it's the processor that's causing the Kindle to be so high priced. It's most likely the costs of using the e-ink screens.

    • by godrik (1287354) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:05PM (#31350394)

      I also think that the display is the main cost. But the network interface are not that cheap as well. And I think the main cost of the kindle may be the 3G internet access.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        So why nobody has an e-book reader without cellular access (there are plenty) which is significantly cheaper than the Kidle? You mean nobody saw an opportunity there?

        And for that matter, in most of the world Kindle 3G access is "free" in rather loose sense of the word...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          My wife's ECTACO jetbook lite was about HALF the cost of the kindle.

          When I tried to explain to her I had a limited budget when buying for her (it was an xmas present), she said she loved it, and asked me "why the f*** would anyone want wireless on a book reader?" I told her it was for purchasing books on the go.
          Her reply was "I have a perfectly good computer for that, and at least TWO ways to get them onto this thing". All the arguments about "value" when it comes to reader costs just kinda deflated in the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Nah, they pay for the recurring 3G cost through ebook sales.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The cellular hardware probably doesn't help either(for that matter, it isn't exactly clear, at least not from publicly available figures, how much of the cost of the bandwidth is baked into the cost of ebooks and how much is baked into the cost of the device). You can already get cheaper(albeit generally content-storeless) e-ink devices without that hardware.

      That said, BoM savings are a good thing no matter where they occur. If they felt the need to trumpet the price in the press release, the new chip is
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        For 90% of users I bet the cellular hardware could just be removed. Just have it load books via usb mass storage or via an itunes like app.

        • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:32PM (#31350726)
          See, that's what the sensible person would think. But note, if you loaded books via USB, how could they tether you to their expensive online bookstore? How would they upsell to you? Gasp - you might even buy PDFs from a competitor!
          • A special driver and app for transport and digitally signed books? Then don't allow anything to cross the channel that isn't from Amazon?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Minwee (522556)

            Gasp - you might even buy PDFs from a competitor!

            Yes, you might [arstechnica.com]. And then you can load them directly through USB. Onto your Kindle, without paying Amazon a penny for the privilege. Funny how that works.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by obarthelemy (160321)

          Actually, I think a full Bluetooth implementation should be enough:
          - via tethering to your non-castrated phone, it give you 3G on your ereader. Sorry, iFans :-p
          - it can give you LAN access
          - if can give you ethernet acces at home via your PC

          • by Samalie (1016193)

            I'm not a total iFan, but my iDevice is not castrated in any way. You can thank AT&T for that, NOT Apple.

            My Rogers-based iPhone (Canada) tethers perfectly.

        • You know I would have said that before I got one, but I haven't hooked my kindle up to a computer in months. It's much easier to just download from the device itself. Certainly this is true on trips where I don't bring a computer, but even around the house. It's one less step. Sure it's not hard to hook up a cable and drag a file, but it's easier to just click on it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mitsoid (837831)
      iSuppli reports the cost of the display modile is ESTIMATED at $60 [isuppli.com]
      I put estimated in capital letters as TFA I linked says its an estimate.
      Anyway, Just throwing that out there for those curious about the cost breakdown
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by confused one (671304)
        Yeah, based on what you've linked to the Kindle processor is only $8.64. The new processor incorporates features that represent another $8.71 worth of IC's. So, this new processor reduces the price an estimated $7 over what's in the Kindle. Still, any improvement helps.
    • by hey! (33014)

      I'm not sure that's the case at all. If e-ink is not cheaper than LCDs, it will be soon. You just can't lay your hands on e-ink displays because they are only available to OEMs.

      Motorola had a phone with an e-paper display three or four years ago. It's a low end GSM phone targeted at developing countries. You can buy the sucker now off Amazon, unlocked, for the princely sum of $24.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sznupi (719324)

        That Motorola phone doesn't have a raster display though; it has preset symbols + alphanumeric display (similar to 7-segment displays of classic calculators)

        • by hey! (33014)

          True. But the point is that just because the technology is new, doesn't mean it's expensive.

          I did some digging and found an article last June which discussed the acquisition of the Kindle's display manufacturer by a Chinese company. The current display for the Kindle adds about $60 to the cost of the device, but it is manufactured in Massachusetts. When production moves to South China, it'll probably drop by at least 50%, if not 80%.

      • I'm not sure that's the case at all. If e-ink is not cheaper than LCDs, it will be soon.

        1) It's not cheaper than LCDs. We're talking of something around $60 for large-scale orders, and well over $100 for individual items at the moment.

        2) It's not going to get cheaper for as long as eInk technology and manufacturing process are patented by E Ink Corporation. The only company currently licensed to manufacture screens is PVI, and they have few factories actually producing that stuff.

    • Uh, certainly, it couldn't be gratuitous pricing on the part of the vendor. I'd love to see the original manufacturing cost. I'd be surprised if it was over $65 USD.

    • Amazon's desired profit margin wouldn't have a thing to do with the high cost, right?

      • Unlikely. All e-Ink products cost $200+.

        If I had to guess, I would say the e-ink display is the biggest cost, followed by the battery. CPUs, Flash, RAM, and wireless chips are commodities at this point. E-ink and ultra-compact batteries are not.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          The cellular chip is the second largest single cost of such a device.

          • by macraig (621737)

            I'd agree with Lord Ender that, materials-wise at least, the battery would probably come in second or third (if indeed the cell chip is second). Of course it's worth keeping in mind that much of the cost of that cell chip may in fact be due to IP licensing costs rather than actual costs of materials and production.

            I have a hard time comprehending the cost of batteries in general, since the materials are trivial and AFAIK there's no governmentally required environmental expenses rolled into the cost.

    • by Applekid (993327)

      Fewer components can also lead to a faster development time. If companies were only lazily interested in an e-reader before, the cost barrier to break into the market in R&D has decreased dramatically.

      Anyone scope any datasheets? All I can find is some dumb "fact sheet" on Freescale's site.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      I agree, considering what an e-reader does, you're likely capable of doing it on chips in the range of one or two dollars when you buy the processor one at a time, let alone in bulk.

  • Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:56PM (#31350288) Homepage

    consumers are thirsty for something much more affordable than the Kindle.

    I know I sure as hell am. The price of entry is the only thing that has stopped me from getting an eReader. I would love to not go over $100 for a good-quality eReader, but $150 would be my firm limit. I realize that e-ink screens are the primary thing driving the prices up for now, but hopefully with things like this new chip combined with new processes of putting together e-ink screens will bring the price down.

    Despite how much I complain about it around here, I would be willing to pay the same if not slightly higher for ebooks as I would for dead tree books if only the eReader itself wasn't so damn expensive.

    • refresh (Score:3, Interesting)

      I agree that a lower price point is desirable but I'm still planning to wait until the page refresh process on these things is more acceptable. There is an annoying delay for every page turn, and most of the ereaders I've played with (at least 20 different models at CES this year) have a really annoying black screen in between page turns while the e-ink particles rearrange themselves. The delay and rearranging isn't so bad if you are just reading one book at a time always from start to finish, but it beco

      • The delay and rearranging isn't so bad if you are just reading one book at a time always from start to finish, but it becomes really frustrating if you are skipping around or browsing through various documents and you want to navigate from one document to another like you might do while web browsing or working with legal briefs, etc.

        If you had something like B&N's Nook -- with an e-ink screen and a smaller LCD touchscreen "strip" -- it would make sense to use the LCD screen for navigation more complex t

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dare nMc (468959)

          FYI, the nook has Trook [nookdevs.com] as a unsupported add-on that does exactly this. It is really the perfect reader for news, it pulls the rss feed, and you browse the headlines like a iPhone finger motions. You click the articles you want and it pulls them from wifi to the Big screen.
          I have never had a better browsing experience. But it still is complete crap for a site like slashdot where you may want to enter data at some point... (you can, but the small touch keyboard is useable...)
          It is actually really easy to

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OzPeter (195038)

      I know I sure as hell am. The price of entry is the only thing that has stopped me from getting an eReader.

      Having played around with a B&N Nook and one of the Sony ones, the slow speed of the page changing drove me nuts. I realize that it is a feature/side effect of e-ink, but I can't ever see myself getting used to the whole flashing/slow page turning thing. No matter what the price.

    • Is my netbook (AO751h) + the yBook [spacejock.com] application (Win32 Freeware, also runs under WINE). No, it doesn't have eInk, but with a $55, 9-cell aftermarket battery, I do get ~10-12 hours without having to touch a wall wart. Plus there's a full size keyboard, and I can do just about anything else computer-wise with it that doesn't require huge video capabilities (due to Intel GMA500, which could be better, but is sufficient so far, @ ~6 months ownership). Netbook + battery = $350. More than a dedicated eReader, much
    • Re:Absolutely (Score:4, Interesting)

      by samuraiz (1026486) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:34PM (#31350762)
      I have more than $260 worth of shelving for my dead tree books, and I buy cheap shelves. There are infrastructure costs associated with any kind of book ownership.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by armyofone (594988)

        Bookshelves full of books look nicer than YAGLAOTKC, (yet another gizmo laying around on the kitchen counter)... :-p

    • by armyofone (594988)

      "... would be willing to pay the same if not slightly higher for ebooks as I would for dead tree books..."

      Why? Not trying to troll. Just curious about this statement. Knowing that the cost to produce is significantly lower, (yeah, yeah, I get the 'supply/demand economics' argument), why are you willing to contribute so much more to the supplier's bottom line? Is it all in the convenience factor or is there something else I'm missing?

      Help me understand as I have the opposite mind-set; if a thing costs less t

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Don't get me wrong, I think it's outrageous how much is charged for e-books...but if the readers themselves were cheap (say around $100), I would see the too-high prices of the e-books simply as a convenience charge.

        As it is now though, with expensive ebooks AND expensive readers, it's more like a middle finger than a convenience charge.

        • by armyofone (594988)

          Again, I have the opposite viewpoint; if the price of the books were more reasonable, then wouldn't that offset the higher initial price of the e-reader? That seems the more consumer-friendly approach.

          Disclaimer: Other than reading the occasional Gutenberg text on an old Palm TX, I don't own an e-reader. With the recent shenanigans by content publishers forcing Amazon to raise their e-book prices, I'm really not interested in even entering the market - no matter what the price of the e-reader. If they gave

          • by Big Boss (7354)

            My library has a number of interesting titles available for free. DRM, yes, but as I'm borrowing it, I really don't mind. $15 for a ebook without DRM I might be able to get on board with....

            • by Pojut (1027544)

              I think eventually they will have to switch over to no DRM on books (or at least "reduced" DRM)...especially considering some of the major formats are incompatible with their competition's devices. We saw a similar situation with early MP3 players (and, to a certain extent, still do)

    • I would gladly pay $300+ for an e-reader. However, it needs either a color display, or a secondary highres display (overlapped, see Pixel Qu http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/03/video-pixel-qis-e-ink-lcd-hybrid-screen-demoed-at-computex/ [engadget.com])... I could even live without those features, but without them I'm going to wait to see if there's another revolution in book stores (Google Books, or something similar) that doesn't lock me into just one... I read enough that I can all but justify the cost (I spend around
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by StayFrosty (1521445)

        I'm going to wait to see if there's another revolution in book stores (Google Books, or something similar) that doesn't lock me into just one...

        Pretty much all e-readers with the exception of the kindle use the epub format. No matter what e-reader you get you are not really licked in to any book store. You just download the book from whatever bookstore or other souce and copy it to the e-reader. Most bookstores these days sell in the epub format so that makes everything nice and easy. I've even seen a few libraries start "lending" ebooks in the epub and pdf formats as well.

    • but hopefully with things like this new chip combined with new processes of putting together e-ink screens will bring the price down.

      Even if that doesn't bring the price down much, sales will go up. If they go up enough, economies of scale may well bring the cost per unit down enough to make them more affordable.

    • You're thirsty? Along with lots of other people? And only a sub-$99 e-reader will help? You need water and vitamins, or at least a salt tablet or two.

  • Going down. (Score:2, Funny)

    by aBaldrich (1692238)
    2008 $99 laptop
    2009 $99 netbook
    2010 $99 ereader

    Yes, the ereader will run Linux.
    • by godrik (1287354)

      but will it run crysis ?

  • by quo_vadis (889902) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:15PM (#31350486) Journal
    According to isuppli's teardown of the kindle [isuppli.com] the E Ink display is $60. The main processor (made by Freescale) is ~$8. The EPD chip, which is what becomes redundant adds only $4.31 to the BOM. The main point is you cannot expect E Ink based readers to get any cheaper any time soon. Any price cuts will only come about due to increased competition from different technologies like Pixel Qi's, or by sacrificing things like onboard wireless (which adds ~$40 to the cost of the Kindle).
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:37PM (#31350808)

      >by sacrificing things like onboard wireless (which adds ~$40 to the cost of the Kindle).

      Its not wifi chips that are expensive its the EVDO and the deal Amazon has with Sprint that's expensive. I dont need a EVDO ebook reader. Wifi is good enough. Just give me an offline option if I cant get it on wifi someplace (copy file to USB drive and insert it into ebook reader). Really, there's a huge hole in the market for sub $150 dollar ebook readers. Its probably doable with a smaller eink screen and lack of bell and whistles. The Sony pocket edition reader is pretty close.

      • by owlstead (636356)

        I bought the smaller BeBook reader for 175 euro if you don't count the 25 euro voucher. That is already getting really close to 150 euro (which is roughly equivalent to 150 dollar because taxes and the smaller markets in Europe). It does not have WiFi, but that's not something I miss at all. Just copy the books directly to the SD card and put it in the reader. Why have all the hassles of setting up WiFi? Browsing is a PITA with only an eInk display anyway. Even the USB (which is TERRIBLE on the smaller BeBo

      • >by sacrificing things like onboard wireless (which adds ~$40 to the cost of the Kindle).

        Its not wifi chips that are expensive its the EVDO and the deal Amazon has with Sprint that's expensive. I dont need a EVDO ebook reader. Wifi is good enough. Just give me an offline option if I cant get it on wifi someplace (copy file to USB drive and insert it into ebook reader). Really, there's a huge hole in the market for sub $150 dollar ebook readers. Its probably doable with a smaller eink screen and lack of bell and whistles. The Sony pocket edition reader is pretty close.

        They can fund the recurring 3G bill with book sales.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by indiechild (541156)

          They could also burn money and give stuff away for free.

          Loss leaders are not generally a good idea if you want to make progress in business.

          I think this race to the bottom with prices is really foolish. It forces the gadget maker to cut corners and quality and do all sorts of silly stuff. Competing on rock bottom prices is for suckers.

          • So, Amazon is selling an ebook reader, and if you buy it and want any new-release books for it (ie books not already on PDF), you have to buy those books from Amazon, and you're calling that a loss leader?

            People that want to browse wikipedia and the select few other websites you can visit on the kindle are not going to buy one to visit those websites.

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)

            They could also burn money and give stuff away for free.

            Loss leaders are not generally a good idea if you want to make progress in business.

            "Loss leader"? I don't think that means what you think that means. The 3G plans are paid for by incorporating the cost into the price of the book, and since you only use 3G when you buy a book (generally speaking), any use of the plan is immediately paid for when the book is purchased.

    • Yes, I'm not sure why eReaders were brought into the discussion at all, other than idiocy on the part of the submitter (okay, blame where it's due, idiocy on the part of whoever wrote the press release). This is more interesting for Smartbooks (and please, if you meet the person who coined that term, please slap them on my behalf). The i.MX5 series is a Cortex A8 which clocks at around 1GHz. This is the budget version that has no DSP and 'only' an OpenVG 1.1 GPU. If you can live with a 2D graphics hardw

  • I for one don't really see the for a dedicated e-reader, I know save a tree, but the fact is, sometimes I like to sit down and go low tech with a good book. Besides, I enjoy the smell of books in my library and I like to flip through the pages of a new book. I might invest in an e-reader for use on the plane, or when I go on a trip if it is attainable at say $80 on some promotion and the books are cheap, but for general use on a daily basis, I just don't see a pressing need.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by c++0xFF (1758032)

      For pleasure-reading, I completely agree.

      But I want to go to classes with my e-reader and some paper, instead of my body weight in textbooks (which I may or may not need that day). I don't care about "enhanced content" (who actually uses the CD that comes with hardcover textbooks?) .. just give me a note-taking application, a good calculator and possibly access to my email.

    • by Chad Birch (1222564) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:33PM (#31350756)
      I like being able to hold (and turn the pages of) what would otherwise be an 800-page hardcover book in one hand while standing on the train, then slip it in my jacket pocket when I reach my stop.

      If you do all your reading at home where you don't need to carry your books around, there's not really much reason to have one.
      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @05:05PM (#31351166) Homepage

        Plus, they're great for reading in bed. Anyone who's tried to read lying on their side knows how much of an *enormous* pain in the ass regular paper books are. It's just not doable. But an ereader is perfectly comfortable.

        • The trick when reading while lying on the side is to turn from side to side as you turn pages. And hey, it also counts as extra exercise! ~

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)

            Bah, that's not a trick, that's just a hacky workaround to deal with a limitation in the format. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        If you do all your reading at home where you don't need to carry your books around, there's not really much reason to have one.

        It's still lighter than most books. It also lets me make the font bigger, so I can read without wearing eyeglasses. Bookmarks are less of a hassle as well, and table of contents is actually navigable.

        I mostly read at home, but I still find my PRS-505 to be more convenient than paper books.

    • I'm in the market because I plan on moving around a bit more. I moved across country last summer and had to liquidate the book collection. (Yeah, ouch.) It's not like I'm going to stop buying books, so portability is a big deal for me.

  • by RiffRafff (234408) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:15PM (#31350494) Homepage

    Cheaper than the Kindle, and OPEN. Meet those two criteria and they'll sell by the boat-load.

    • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:17PM (#31350512)

      Except most consumers don't care about something being "open".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thesandtiger (819476)

        Obviously, you are wrong. I mean, that's why the iPod failed, why iTunes hasn't sold more than a handful of songs, and why Linux has 95% of the desktop marketshare.

        It's like you live in an alternate reality or something!

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        They do. They just don't know it yet.

      • They care about how easy it is to put pirated stuff in it (or free stuff of various origins).
        I don't think he meant Linxu-type "open", but open in the sense of not getting in the way.

    • This isn't as cheap as I'd like: http://www.pocketbookreader.com/PocketBook_360.html [pocketbookreader.com], but at $240 it does run Linux and supports DJVU along with many other formats. You can even download a terminal emulator for it. I've been looking around for e-readers and I'm thinking of getting this one. I would like to test it first but unfortunately it's not sold in stores around here.

    • by Builder (103701)

      Not really. Sony's PRS meets both of those requirements and they're not selling them by the boatload.

      The problem eReaders are going to have for some time to come is publishers. They still think I'm going to be prepared to wait longer, then pay more for a book that I can do less with. I can't share it with my wife (I have the only reader in the house), I can't give it to my friends and I can't sell it on Amazon later. But they want more money for it.

      Guess where most of my books come from then ?

  • by TrippTDF (513419) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dnalih.> on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:16PM (#31350502)
    ...it's got a lot of "wow" factor, but just wait for the price on the technology to drop before you buy one- eventually, the e-ink tech is going to become as ubiquitous as the flash drive. Amazon did a good job of creating a great device, but eventually there are going to be so many clones out there that locking yourself into Amazon's platform (essentilly, Amazon was copying iTunes model) at such an early start might hit your pocketbook kinda hard... Just wait for cheap-ass readers, and then the publishing industry to set up their own store(s).

    This is going to be an interesting battleground, especially in the education text-book market.
  • e-Ink displays (Score:3, Interesting)

    by future assassin (639396) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:16PM (#31350504) Homepage
    How about someone just creates an e-ink display and no processor that can be hooked up to net/note book.
  • by JumpDrive (1437895) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:26PM (#31350646)
    The main reason I don't buy an eReader is a cost vs functionality. Most of the books I read, can be obtained in pdf format. So buying a computer with ability to read pdf format is more cost effective. Now if the functionality were to be increased so that I could take a pdf document and bookmark pages, scribble notes on it and such I would be happier with an eReader. There are some versions of eReaders which have this functionality, but in some cases I've heard you can lose this information. Maybe they should be thinking about eBooks being a lot cheaper or how about transitional marketing. Something where if you buy the hard copy you can obtain the electronic copy for free. Then I could better determine whether it's right for me. But then we are back to the entry level cost and the difference in cost between an eBook vs paper. Some of the books I have seen are advertised as $47 for paper and $44 for the electronic copy. So where do I come out ahead, yeah if most of my reading was fiction then it would be okay, but 90% of my reading is technical.
  • Right now the Que has the right idea but it is a bit pricey. If we could see an e-reader around $200 that is network capable and has the ability to send print jobs to it. You can sign me up for at least $50 units. THe possibilities of e-ink in the business environment are impressive. As an Admin I could control loose papers with a password, reduce the usage of consumables and really speed up the availibility of information. No more...where did I put that spreadsheet or flyer...Our management here is pre
  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:36PM (#31350798) Homepage Journal

    The only real justification for a dedicated e-reader device is that it can be locked to a company's book service. If the device is "open", it'll contain many more functions (free or very minimal cost) and look more like a laptop or iPad.

    Right now you can download text versions of thousands of books - and Notepad is all you need to read them. If I'm going to have a special device just for reading books it's going to have to be a lot more functional and a lot less expensive than anything they're even speculating about now.

    Those corporate types that think that $400 is a good price for an e-reader and books should cost $25 each are setting the stage for their extinction. That kind of pricing will create a "pirate" market for digital books; this and the low sales rate (due to the pricing) will kill their market in short order./P

    • The only real justification for a dedicated e-reader device is that it can be locked to a company's book service.

      At present, the main reason for dedicated readers is that eInk screens are good for that particular purpose, but are poorly suited for general-purpose computing. Even if someone releases a true open eInk reader, e.g. surfing the web on it would be so much of a pain that I doubt you'd use it much, if ever.

      Form factor also matters. Both ereader and general purpose device should be convenient to hold, but with a reader, the buttons you interact with 99% of the time are flipping pages forward; everything else i

  • LCD and eInk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by owlstead (636356) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:39PM (#31350824)

    It is interesting to see that the CPU supports both LCD and eInk at the same time. I've just bought a BeBook and the eInk is just perfect for reading. The eInk display is however absolutely worthless as an interface device. After buying a my Hero (android) phone, the BeBook is left at home most of the time. For my workplace I would be very interested in using an eInk display for PDF. But navigating and searching is such a PITA on the current readers that I can not recommend it to anyone. On my reader I get irritated by the navigating experience even when going from one book to another.

    Idea: maybe they should mate androids and iPhones with eInk displays, e.g. using bluetooth. You could make a really cheap one while using the wireless LAN / mobile internet / multi-touch screen etc of the phone for all the stuff that the current eBooks are missing. For now I'll just use my droid, even though I will get a headache from all that eye-strain.

  • This horse is pretty dead but I'll give it a couple more kicks. Outside of new releases, ebooks should be priced the same as paperbacks minus the costs of production and distribution associated with physical paper. Once a new title moves from hardcover to paperback, drop the "new release" premium on the ebook version.

    Honestly, does any avid reader think twice about spending a couple hundred bucks on a quality bookshelf? Okay, I cheaped out on my most recent bookshelf because I had to fit a weird-size spa

  • Well, I just looked at the EETimes article, and I found a couple of specious claims.

    Basically, they've got this chart, and they're using it to say that if the e-book reader gets below $99, the market penetration will rise to 65%.

    Now, call me stupid if you want, but I took a close look at that chart, and that's not what it said. The actual figures for the $99 e-reader were:

    Approx. 38% "Intend to buy in next six months"
    Approx. 42% "Want to know more"
    Approx. 54% "Frequent book readers with a household income

  • A couple years ago I bought a cheap mp3 player with a 2-1/2" screen for $69. Takes SD cards up to 2 GB. It also has a picture viewer and e-reader built in.

    I have about 100 Project Gutenberg books on it right now along with a shedload of music and pictures. It can be set to auto-scroll or you can manually flip pages with the side buttons. Not a huge screen and not set up for fancy features like magazine viewing, but for books it's great. And I bought this almost THREE YEARS AGO!

    Plus - the battery lasts f

  • ... $100 e-meter. Thankfully there is a kind group nearby who will hook me up to theirs for a nominal fee until that comes around.
  • by myforwik (1465003) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:11PM (#31351996)
    Obviously not many electronic engineers around slashdot... The main point of the chip is that the eink display driving is direct, this will save about $5. if you don't believe me you can get the cpu that does the same for $8 and the display chip for $6.50....
  • This would help competition not only in the ebook reader world, but in the inexpensive processor world as well, but having more than one manufacturer making 90% of the screens would be nice, too.

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