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-   -   Why haven't E-readers advanced like other tech? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=888873)

ftg 01-23-2020 07:28 AM

Why haven't E-readers advanced like other tech?
 
I have an old Nook Simple Touch. Came out in 2011, $99 list price. Had mine since 2013, I think. (I right away rooted it and installed Cyanogenmod OS, use FBreader and other, old, Android 2.2 apps on it.)

It's a bit old in the tooth. Small display: 6". No built in light. Poor contrast. So, time to upgrade.

What I want: bigger with built in light and "paperwhite" contrast. E ink, of course, for better battery usage. Maybe better dpi. It's been 9 years, look at how far regular tablets have progressed in that time.

So I look around. What? The only qualifier I see is the Amazon Kindle Oasis (8th+ generation) with an 7" screen. Only 7"?? The current model is a $250! And that's with "special offers". Add $20 to get rid of those. (Although I've always been able to do that myself on Amazon tablets.)

Again, what?

This makes no sense to a computer person like myself. Normally I'd expect that in 9 years the cost for a slightly bigger tablet that requires such mundane CPU and memory would have drastically fallen. $50 would be pricey.

And look at other aspects of this.

Take the bezel. The Nook ST overall is 7.5" diagonally. So an 7" tablet with a modern bezel like many cell phones would be only slightly over 7". Instead the Oasis is almost 8.5". Just look at the size of the bezel, with the oversize right edge. A tablet that size should have an 8" screen. Yet another "What?"

And still only 300 dpi.

So, question time. Why are E-readers some sort of tech exception? Why aren't they more bangs per buck? Why isn't there the amazing leaps that you see everywhere else in this field.

The only think I can think of is the E Ink issue. Maybe patents and all that. But still doesn't explain things like the bezel size, etc.

Lord Feldon 01-23-2020 07:45 AM

Dedicated e-readers were a fad. Many users ultimately decided that the benefits of e-ink weren't so great that they justified lugging around a separate device. Sales have plummeted and so has ownership:

Quote:

Some 19% of adults report owning an e-reader – a handheld device such as a Kindle or Nook primarily used for reading e-books. This is a sizable drop from early 2014, when 32% of adults owned this type of device.

naita 01-23-2020 07:49 AM

A bunch of reasons. (Some of these influence each other.)

a) There's less money spent on research improving e-ink.
b) There _are_ larger screens available, but the average ereader buyer wants something portable.
c) Ereaders are a much smaller market than phones and people are less interested in upgrading.
d) Rapid tech advancement is not a given, and expecting e-readers to follow the same path as high energy consumption screens, batteries and chips is blinkered.
f) And when it comes to price, eReaders are close to a monopoly. Amazon has killed off all real competition and has evidently analyzed the market and found they can keep the price high and make the most money that way rather than attempting to increase volume.

Grrr! 01-23-2020 07:59 AM

Is E-ink different than just black font on a white background?

naita 01-23-2020 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 22096049)
Dedicated e-readers were a fad. Many users ultimately decided that the benefits of e-ink weren't so great that they justified lugging around a separate device. Sales have plummeted and so has ownership:

That's data from 2015, or in computer speak, forever ago. This link claims it's now around 52%, although I can't vouch for it's accuracy: https://www.statista.com/statistics/...es-since-2009/

I'm sure there are a lot of people who switched to reading ebooks on pads and phones, or who never had an ereader in the first place, but just because ereader ownership went down from a peak doesn't mean it was a fad or that the decline will continue.

As I already mentioned it's a much smaller market than for pads and phones, and less clamor for upgrades, but the available numbers say it's still a sizable percentage of the population.

naita 01-23-2020 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 22096073)
Is E-ink different than just black font on a white background?

Yes. Fundamentally. An e-ink screen is a passive device. You send it a signal to change the picture, it changes, and then it stays there, without any power. A black font on a white background on the screen of an ipad, computer or phone draws power constantly.

There are lots of descriptions of how it works online. I wouldn't do it credit here without illustrations.

Squink 01-23-2020 08:15 AM

White font, black screen works better for me. I use Aldiko on Android. The price is right, the performance flawless.
There is nothing worth changing on my 7.5" screen. When this one dies, I hope I can find another. Turns out most people would rather watch Netflix than read. As an exception, that puts me in a bit of a manufacturing hole.
9-11 inches is too darn big, and even the giant phones of today are too small.

Darren Garrison 01-23-2020 08:15 AM

You might find better answers here, especially in the News and General Discussions forums.

enipla 01-23-2020 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 22096073)
Is E-ink different than just black font on a white background?

It's huge if you like to read outdoors in bright light.

On my Wife's an my typical vacation, we will go somewhere warm and spend time around a pool reading. A phone or tablet sucks for this.

BrotherCadfael 01-23-2020 08:18 AM

For me, it's the separate device. I always have my phone with me, and it works for reading ebooks just fine.

txjim 01-23-2020 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enipla (Post 22096098)
It's huge if you like to read outdoors in bright light.

On my Wife's an my typical vacation, we will go somewhere warm and spend time around a pool reading. A phone or tablet sucks for this.

Also, battery life on e-readers is typically much longer than a tablet. My wife mostly uses her i-pad but the e-reader can run for several days (and is waterproof as well.)

TRC4941 01-23-2020 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enipla (Post 22096098)
It's huge if you like to read outdoors in bright light.

On my Wife's an my typical vacation, we will go somewhere warm and spend time around a pool reading. A phone or tablet sucks for this.

This!

It is impossible to read on a phone or tablet outside. The glare is horrible even with so-called anti-glare screens. Just thinking about it makes my eyes hurt!

scr4 01-23-2020 09:09 AM

There are many larger e-Ink devices. See here for example. And these. And this.

They haven't become mainstream because e-Ink is inherently slow, and while color versions exist, they just don't look that good.

Dewey Finn 01-23-2020 09:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by naita (Post 22096078)
Yes. Fundamentally. An e-ink screen is a passive device. You send it a signal to change the picture, it changes, and then it stays there, without any power. A black font on a white background on the screen of an ipad, computer or phone draws power constantly.

There are lots of descriptions of how it works online. I wouldn't do it credit here without illustrations.

I remember when e-ink was first developed, I read speculation on how it could be used for signage and other applications aside from e-readers. But that doesn't seem to have happened.

Thudlow Boink 01-23-2020 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 22096037)
So I look around. What? The only qualifier I see is the Amazon Kindle Oasis (8th+ generation) with an 7" screen. Only 7"?? The current model is a $250!

The Oasis is their most expensive model, and IMHO is only going to appeal to a very small fraction of the market. Meanwhile, they've been improving their cheaper models: the basic Kindle is now front-lit, and the Paperwhite is now waterproof.

What they don't have is a Kindle with a larger screen. They appear to have given up on that long ago when they discontinued the Kindle DX.

They also seem to have given up on color e-ink. Years ago I was hearing rumors about color e-readers being developed, but widely available cheap tablets seem to have KO'ed most of the demand for that,

yabob 01-23-2020 09:26 AM

Apart from reading outdoors, I just don't like doing pleasure reading on a backlit screen. It's funny - it doesn't bother me to program or surf the web all day on a computer or tablet display. I HATE reading an actual book on a screen, though, with the glowing text being pushed into my face page after page. That said, I've never owned an ebook device. I read lengthy things on, *gasp*, paper. The ebook isn't good for reading in bed and falling asleep with the reading material over your face, either. There's an aesthetic quality to doing that kind of reading on pages that bend.

Yeah, the bottom line seems to be that most people don't feel like me, and don't mind reading all the volumes of "Game of Thrones" on an LED display. So e-ink didn't last. The transflective display, which I thought held promise, never went anywhere either. Flexible displays which really mimic paper, and are cheap enough that you could print off an entire book you were reading to a non-rigid book like thing would be the real answer.

scr4 01-23-2020 09:27 AM

Right, the Oasis is the premium model. Metal body and all that. I love mine. The basic Kindle (6" 167 ppi) is $90, and the Paperwhite (6" 300 ppi) is $130.

As for the bezel - ever notice actual paper books have margins? If they didn't, your fingers would obscure the letters. That's the same reason e-book readers have wide bezels. These aren't pocket-sized devices anyway, so screen-to-body ratio isn't a big selling point.

ZipperJJ 01-23-2020 09:36 AM

I don't think you want your e-reader to be all that large do you? I have a Kindle 5, so it's 6" like the one you have. I have massive, strong, not-too-old hands and it fits just right in one hand. It appears that these are to be, at least sometimes, single-hand devices (see the image you linked to). Bigger screens mean heavier devices. Heavier and wider means you need two hands. Someone must have done the research - there's a point where an e-reader is too unwieldy and 7.5" seems to be it.

md2000 01-23-2020 09:36 AM

Several reasons - most indoor reading, and some outdoor reading, can be done with a phone or tablet - and this is the problem. Not jus that it means carrying around 2 devices, but also you can do so much more with a phone or tablet - email, browse (in colour),other apps.

One of the restrictions is access to books. Kindle, for example, locked me into their store. I could send other .MOBI files to my library, but it was on their store. Another problem was software - I have a choice of apps for my tablet that read multiple file types. I can put a library on a SD card. The apps get updated with new features.

Don't feel bad. The computer/phone has done this to many devices - from watches to typewriters, to mail, to CD and tape music players, to even cable TV. A general device that does an adequate job will often crowd out a dedicated device no matter how good.

bump 01-23-2020 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 22096049)
Dedicated e-readers were a fad. Many users ultimately decided that the benefits of e-ink weren't so great that they justified lugging around a separate device. Sales have plummeted and so has ownership:

And I would bet the usage of the online E-reader apps went up proportionately, or even more so.

I mean, I've had a couple of Kindles (still have one), and I find myself using my phone for 95% of my reading because I always have it around, and I don't have to lug around a second device.

I do agree that an e-paper/e-ink e-reader is a lot better for outdoors or bright light, but for most of the time, using an e-reader app on the phone is just fine.

scr4 01-23-2020 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yabob (Post 22096264)
The transflective display, which I thought held promise, never went anywhere either.

They are used in some outdoor applications - I have one on my wrist right now (Garmin Fenix smartwatch). But conventional LCD displays look much better indoors. And most tablets are used mostly indoors.

enipla 01-23-2020 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 22096306)
And I would bet the usage of the online E-reader apps went up proportionately, or even more so.

I mean, I've had a couple of Kindles (still have one), and I find myself using my phone for 95% of my reading because I always have it around, and I don't have to lug around a second device.

I do agree that an e-paper/e-ink e-reader is a lot better for outdoors or bright light, but for most of the time, using an e-reader app on the phone is just fine.

I have to agree with this. I will read my paperwhite in bed or on vacation as sort of a dedicated device. But since it's synched to my phone, I tend to read on my phone a little more right now as I have had a lot of unscheduled and unanticipated time away from home. Works fine. As long as I'm not outside.

markn+ 01-23-2020 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZipperJJ (Post 22096285)
I don't think you want your e-reader to be all that large do you? I have a Kindle 5, so it's 6" like the one you have. I have massive, strong, not-too-old hands and it fits just right in one hand. It appears that these are to be, at least sometimes, single-hand devices (see the image you linked to). Bigger screens mean heavier devices. Heavier and wider means you need two hands. Someone must have done the research - there's a point where an e-reader is too unwieldy and 7.5" seems to be it.

I have an 8 inch Fire tablet. it is indeed quite tiring to hold it up for long periods of time. I got one of these hand straps. It makes it much easier to hold up the tablet with one hand.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B071R5HMYP

yabob 01-23-2020 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scr4 (Post 22096335)
They are used in some outdoor applications - I have one on my wrist right now (Garmin Fenix smartwatch). But conventional LCD displays look much better indoors. And most tablets are used mostly indoors.

Yeah, I have an old Garmin Recreational GPS unit that has one. I wrote up a comparison to a smartphone display at one time:

http://infracanis.com/yggdrasil/fram...NotMainContent

(Yeah, I know the links in the article don't work anymore)

Charlie Wayne 01-23-2020 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 22096037)
I have an old Nook Simple Touch. Came out in 2011, $99 list price. Had mine since 2013, I think. (I right away rooted it and installed Cyanogenmod OS, use FBreader and other, old, Android 2.2 apps on it.)

It's a bit old in the tooth. Small display: 6". No built in light. Poor contrast. So, time to upgrade.

What I want: bigger with built in light and "paperwhite" contrast. E ink, of course, for better battery usage. Maybe better dpi. It's been 9 years, look at how far regular tablets have progressed in that time.

So I look around. What? The only qualifier I see is the Amazon Kindle Oasis (8th+ generation) with an 7" screen. Only 7"?? The current model is a $250! And that's with "special offers". Add $20 to get rid of those. (Although I've always been able to do that myself on Amazon tablets.)

Again, what?

This makes no sense to a computer person like myself. Normally I'd expect that in 9 years the cost for a slightly bigger tablet that requires such mundane CPU and memory would have drastically fallen. $50 would be pricey.

And look at other aspects of this.

Take the bezel. The Nook ST overall is 7.5" diagonally. So an 7" tablet with a modern bezel like many cell phones would be only slightly over 7". Instead the Oasis is almost 8.5". Just look at the size of the bezel, with the oversize right edge. A tablet that size should have an 8" screen. Yet another "What?"

And still only 300 dpi.

So, question time. Why are E-readers some sort of tech exception? Why aren't they more bangs per buck? Why isn't there the amazing leaps that you see everywhere else in this field.

The only think I can think of is the E Ink issue. Maybe patents and all that. But still doesn't explain things like the bezel size, etc.

OMG! I have been working with PCs and Mainframe computers ever since 1968 but .... yet .... I had to Google "what is an E reader" to understand your post.

I have heard of "Kindle" and "Kindle Readers" and had some vague idea they were a device that would take a printed page and read it so that people could close their eyes and listen to a human voice speak the English text.

I'm sorry. But I was never excited or attracted to the idea of getting such a device. Even if someone offered it to me for free, I would decline because I would not want to have to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. It's almost always a pain to learn how to use some new tech. I think that is why seniors tend to avoid answering machines or other new kinds of tech (I know answering machines are not really "new tech"). But it often takes time to learn how to use them plus people often seem to feel they are made to feel foolish when young children get to use these things - seemingly with no problems - yet when adults or seniors try to learn how to use them, they experience plenty of difficulties.

I try to welcome new tech - but only if I can see some useful component to it. I just can't seem to muster up the energy to get interested in many new tech devices.

For example, when telephone answering machines first came out circa 1979, I bought one for $500 and felt like a complete idiot because I soon learned there were perfectly good machines available for less than $100. The slick sales person who sold me the $500 machine gave me a real hard sale about how wonderful this machine performed. I think they repeated the phrase, "built like a real Mac Truck" several times. I never realized that I had no interest in a telephone answering machine that was built like a Mac Truck. I would have been perfectly happy with a machine that was built like a transistor radio. After that experience, I tended to avoid new tech - except for new PCs.

So, to answer your question, I would just say that IMO, a large segment of the population just has little need or little interest in a machine that will read English text for them. Another primary reason may be that people feel they just have no need for a machine to read to them because they can read English text perfectly well by themselves. They just do not perceive any need for such a machine.

Marvin the Martian 01-23-2020 10:54 AM

I think it comes down to a matter of volume. Orders of magnitude more square inches of LCD display are manufactures each year compared to e-ink displays. Enormous improvements in yield for LCD displays allow for the ginormous TVs you can buy for pretty low prices. All that manufacturing development filters down to smaller displays like tablets and smart phones.

There just isn't enough market pressure to to improve manufacturing processes for e-ink displays, and there is less volume for a particular e-ink display (vs. an LCD for a tablet) to amortize the development cost.

Chingon 01-23-2020 10:54 AM

That's not what a Kindle does.

Marvin the Martian 01-23-2020 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne (Post 22096425)
OMG!So, to answer your question, I would just say that IMO, a large segment of the population just has little need or little interest in a machine that will read English text for them. Another primary reason may be that people feel they just have no need for a machine to read to them because they can read English text perfectly well by themselves. They just do not perceive any need for such a machine.

I think you are misunderstanding the OP. The question is about dedicated e-book reading devices with e-ink displays vs. reading the same e-book on a tablet or smart phone. Not about a text-to-speech converter.

markn+ 01-23-2020 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne (Post 22096425)

I have heard of "Kindle" and "Kindle Readers" and had some vague idea they were a device that would take a printed page and read it so that people could close their eyes and listen to a human voice speak the English text.

...

So, to answer your question, I would just say that IMO, a large segment of the population just has little need or little interest in a machine that will read English text for them. Another primary reason may be that people feel they just have no need for a machine to read to them because they can read English text perfectly well by themselves. They just do not perceive any need for such a machine.

Um, I think you still don't understand what an e-reader is. Its primary purpose is to display text on a screen that you read with your eyes, not to have text read to you audibly.

Thudlow Boink 01-23-2020 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne (Post 22096425)
I have heard of "Kindle" and "Kindle Readers" and had some vague idea they were a device that would take a printed page and read it so that people could close their eyes and listen to a human voice speak the English text.

Some such devices have this capability as a "bonus feature" (not reading a literal printed page, but reading text in electronic form); but the main purpose of a Kindle is to display text on a screen so the users can read it themselves (like a book).

Darren Garrison 01-23-2020 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne (Post 22096425)
So, to answer your question, I would just say that IMO, a large segment of the population just has little need or little interest in a machine that will read English text for them. Another primary reason may be that people feel they just have no need for a machine to read to them because they can read English text perfectly well by themselves. They just do not perceive any need for such a machine.

Your research on the topic of e-book readers (checks, not The Pit) um...leaves much to be desired. E-book readers are not devices for reading books aloud (though some do that) but a dedicated device for reading text-based books on. They predate the mainstream acceptance of tablet computers (Sony Librie EBR-1000EP--2004) and typically (but not always) use a slow to refresh but stable screen technology involving electrically-charged colored balls moving through a fluid between the front and back of the screen to display greyscales. Advantages include reflective lighting (like with paper) and days or weeks of reading time between recharges.

Inner Stickler 01-23-2020 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 22096073)
Is E-ink different than just black font on a white background?

E-ink is fascinating! I highly recommend Technology Connection's video on it. It kinda but not really like an etch a sketch. The E-ink screen is black liquid with titanium dioxide (which is white) suspended in it. The charge any specific point on the screen gets determines whether the titanium dioxide ions move forward (point gets white because the TiO2 ions are on top of the black stuff) or move back (point goes black because the ions are underneath the black stuff).

DrCube 01-23-2020 11:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dewey Finn (Post 22096228)
I remember when e-ink was first developed, I read speculation on how it could be used for signage and other applications aside from e-readers. But that doesn't seem to have happened.

I remember hearing it would be paired with LCD screens for best of both worlds functionality. Turn the LCD off or down and read text on your phone outside in the sun while using very little battery. Turn the LCD up for full color, dynamic web pages that can be read at night, or for video, or whatever. That idea never got off the ground, apparently.

Darren Garrison 01-23-2020 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inner Stickler (Post 22096482)
E-ink is fascinating! I highly recommend Technology Connection's video on it. It kinda but not really like an etch a sketch. The E-ink screen is black liquid with titanium dioxide (which is white) suspended in it. The charge any specific point on the screen gets determines whether the titanium dioxide ions move forward (point gets white because the TiO2 ions are on top of the black stuff) or move back (point goes black because the ions are underneath the black stuff).

And not a video, the wiki.

Dewey Finn 01-23-2020 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrCube (Post 22096483)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dewey Finn (Post 22096228)
I remember when e-ink was first developed, I read speculation on how it could be used for signage and other applications aside from e-readers. But that doesn't seem to have happened.

I remember hearing it would be paired with LCD screens for best of both worlds functionality. Turn the LCD off or down and read text on your phone outside in the sun while using very little battery. Turn the LCD up for full color, dynamic web pages that can be read at night, or for video, or whatever. That idea never got off the ground, apparently.

I heard the suggestion (or perhaps someone was selling this) that a smartphone could have the conventional LCD screen on the front but a low-power e-ink screen on the back, which could display info like the time of day, number of messages waiting to be read and so forth (and the e-ink screen could be on constantly).

Darren Garrison 01-23-2020 11:47 AM

There was something sort of like an e-ink/LCD hybrid, but it was a flop. You can't actually layer an e-ink display and an LCD because e-ink can't be transparent and a backlit LCD needs...um...a backlight. There lies the possibility of overlaying a (self-lighting) transparent OLED panel on top of an e-ink display though. (But nobody has done it.)
And yes, there was a phone with an LCD on one side and an e-ink display on the other. Emphasis on "was."

yabob 01-23-2020 11:54 AM

Transflective displays, which is what a few of you may be thinking of:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transf...rystal_display

Richard Pearse 01-23-2020 12:17 PM

The TicWatch Pro has an LCD display over an AMOLED display giving a battery life of ~30 days.

https://www.mobvoi.com/au/pages/ticwatchpro

pulykamell 01-23-2020 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne (Post 22096425)
OMG! I have been working with PCs and Mainframe computers ever since 1968 but .... yet .... I had to Google "what is an E reader" to understand your post.

Why would you comment on something you have no understanding of and experience with?

An e-reader is basically just a form of tablet computer dedicated to displaying printed material (e.g. books/magazines/etc.) They have a little more functionality than that, but they are just essentially a screen for reading books on.

si_blakely 01-23-2020 03:01 PM

My Kindle Gen 1 (originally purchased for my wife who now has a new one) just died, and I am very sad about it.

I have a new tablet that is great for watching TV shows and reading comics on the train, and a phone, but I cannot read books easily on those devices.

Having a paperbacked sized device loaded with old and new books sitting in my bag for months on end ready to go if I need something to read is just awesome.

So I will be getting my wife a new Kindle Paperwhite sometime this year, and I'll grab the old one.

Fair Rarity 01-23-2020 07:18 PM

I read on my iPad. An older one (so old I can't put Disney+ on it, not so old I can't watch Netflix on it). It's a full sized iPad, so I read it horizontally in two column mode in the MapleRead app. iBooks only allows you to read two columns at certain magnifications, and my eyes are tired at the end of the day when I'm reading before sleepy time without my glasses. I need it bigger than iBooks allows you to have it two columns (which is a change because you used to be able to and they took it away).

I've read on my phone and computer and a few different kindles and I am getting fairly good for an amateur at tweaking my epub files for my personal preferences that can't be set in a reader well. Reading on my iPad is my favorite, but I had to buy the other app because of iBooks' limits. Like you can't have custom fonts unless you do all these weird work arounds in your html and css. When you put your own mobi file on a kindle, it doesn't seem to save it in books but rather in documents and the cover isn't always shown until you open the book, which is a great big bummer. Each device and app has advantages and disadvantages (I like auto night mode, Maplereads doesn't have it, for example). But I like that there is variety and I'm tech savvy enough now that if my iPad died tonight, I could have a kindle up and running fairly quickly. I didn't like the droid I used. I mean, the book looked fine, but getting files to that particular device was a pain.

So yeah they have gotten better in a lot of ways but I wish individual apps/software was more consistent. It's not as common now, but remember how you used to go to a website and it wouldn't quite work on your browser, but it'd work much better on another? That kind of is what goes on now with reader apps, even when they use the same type of files (nook, kindle, and itunes all use different ones, plus some stuff is still out there in pdf or even .txt/.rtf). If you take the same book and open it on several different devices, your visual experience can vary widely. This one doesn't render italics unless it's formatted like xyz, this one won't let you override the spacing. So hopefully some day it'll get to the point where the same file is more consistent, aside from user preferences.

Paul in Qatar 01-23-2020 07:26 PM

There can be no doubt that the Kindle DX was the epitome of Kindle design. I have always supposed that Amazon is more interested in selling the books than the hardware and is not very interested in improving the design.

Am I correct to say there are no large-screen readers available?

Kimera757 01-23-2020 07:34 PM

I have a Kobo Forma, which is roughly equivalent to the Kindle Oasis. (It cannot handle audiobooks, but it can handle epubs.)

I used to have a Nook (I think the Simple Touch, which had buttons) which I bought used, and eventually replaced when the batteries started dying. Before battery death, I could easily go two to four weeks between charges, and I read the e-reader a lot.

The Kobo Forma is somewhat larger, but honestly that's not an "advancement", as I could have bought a large ebook years ago. The visual quality is better, but 300 DPI is more than sufficient for reading. I can even read manga on it (the Japanese version specifically has more memory because that market has a lot of manga readers). It has buttons, which is cool, but some Kindles actually had miniature physical keyboards. It has wi-fi capability, which I never use, but some customers use all the time. It's waterproof; my old Nook was at least somewhat waterproof but had problems with milk. (Yes, you read that right. I can't get mad at Barnes & Noble for not expecting that situation.) Page flip speed is pretty fast; the Nook's button could be held down to enable you to speed through a book (and sometimes that would happen when you just tapped the button). The Forma does not do that, for both good and ill.

The Forma has a light that's slightly better than the older e-readers, but there's little room for improvement. It's not backlit, but even that technology is not that new. The most advanced lighting feature is a "night light" or "warm light" mode, which my PC has, every smartphone has, etc. Supposedly some have a lighting level detector. I don't know, as I pretty much never use the light, unless I'm reading a PDF with tiny text.

IMO there's little need for "improvement". E-readers have sufficient battery life, screen quality, lighting quality, and size to satisfy customers. The biggest battle is over formatting (such as e-readers not being able to handle epubs), and these formats tend to be quite old. Kindles don't have epubs because Amazon wants you to buy their books (not sold as epubs) and American libraries offer ebooks in Kindle format. (In Canada, they do this in epub format.)

A decent e-reader would go for $100. The Forma is about $300 CAD. I spent the extra money because I wanted a not-dying e-reader with buttons, epub capability and a larger screen. That's not worth an extra $200 to most people. I guess I'm a sucker who will pay $200 for buttons.

scr4 01-23-2020 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar (Post 22097280)
Am I correct to say there are no large-screen readers available?

I linked to several in a post above.

Sam Stone 01-23-2020 08:19 PM

Who says e-readers have not improved? The first Kindle had a slow, low resolution gray screen screen. It did not have a backlight. It was not remotely waterproof. Newer generations have higher contrast, higher resolution screens, paperwhite backgrounds and integral backlights. You can drop them in the tub and they still work.

The original kindle had UI issues, and a form factor that included a full keyboard and arrow pads for navigation, which turned out to be a poor idea. Newer Kindles have touch screens, swipe gestures, etc. The screen resolution has gone from 150 ppi to 227 ppi to 300 ppi. Memory capacity has also improved with each generation, and the price of the paperwhite is about half of what it once was.

Just what were you looking for that isn't there? These are specialist devices, optimized to one thing very well. E-Ink displays are perfect for long reading sessions, because passive screens have less eyestrain than active ones, they don't fool your brain into staying awake after you are done, and they use a tiny fraction of the battery power so the device can be smaller and lighter and last for weeks instead of hours. There's just currently not a lot of room for improvement.

wolfpup 01-23-2020 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 22096073)
Is E-ink different than just black font on a white background?

Absolutely different. I've read some ebooks in the past on tablets and found it acceptable, but the Kindle Paperwhite is immeassurably better. Tablets are relatively big and heavy consume a lot of power, whereas my Paperwhite is small (but its pages similar in size to the average paperback), and font sizes and types are selectable, and it's light as a feather. The front-lighting is completely different than LCD backlighting because there's no glare and it can be turned down as much as necessary; it compares more to a printed page being front-lit than to LCD backlighting. You can read it in total darkness, in dim light, or outside in bright sunlight, and in theory you should adjust the front-lighting accordingly, but I just have set it at "11" and that seems to suffice for most indoor lighting conditions.

I think the main reason ereaders haven't advanced like tablets is just that they're single-purpose devices that do what they do very well, so what's to advance except maybe slightly faster processors, more storage, and even better screens, toward which the Paperwhite was a major advance. The battery lasts for weeks of heavy use. So I intend to keep my Kindle a long time.

Darren Garrison 01-23-2020 09:09 PM

I really miss my Sony PRS-350, which suffered a death by broken USB port after several years of use. The 5 inch screen made it (just) small enough to put in a shirt or jacket pocket, and it had the full Oxford Dictionary of English and Oxford American Dictionary built in (along with several translating dictionaries.) I now have Moon+ Reader Pro that links to an off-line ODoE app on Android devices, but the integration isn't remotely as tight. And of course battery life on modern phones/tablets is abysmal.

Morgyn 01-23-2020 09:13 PM

Given a choice between reading a book on the computer or the phone and reading it on my Kindle Oasis, I'll take the Oasis. It doesn't hurt my eyes, and no matter where I am, I can read it. I carry it with me everywhere.

ETA: wolfpup, what do you call "heavy use"? I can run my Kindle out in a day or two, but we're also talking 3-4 hours of continuous use.

Darren Garrison 01-23-2020 09:38 PM

Is that with the sidelight on?

Thudlow Boink 01-23-2020 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Stone (Post 22097345)
Who says e-readers have not improved? The first Kindle had a slow, low resolution gray screen screen. It did not have a backlight. It was not remotely waterproof. Newer generations have higher contrast, higher resolution screens, paperwhite backgrounds and integral backlights.

Frontlights, not backlights.

Quote:

Just what were you looking for that isn't there? ... There's just currently not a lot of room for improvement.
The OP mentioned screen size and resolution, which makes me wonder if he wants to read something like scanned pdfs, maps, diagrams, comics, etc. For just text, today's basic e-readers are indeed perfectly adequate and I don't see much room for improvement.

wolfpup 01-23-2020 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morgyn (Post 22097421)

ETA: wolfpup, what do you call "heavy use"? I can run my Kindle out in a day or two, but we're also talking 3-4 hours of continuous use.

I'm not familiar with the Oasis, but the ad claims "months" of battery life, though that probably presupposes wireless off (mine is always off anyway), probably a low-light setting, and only maybe an hour or so a night.

The battery on my Kindle Paperwhite (I forget the exact model, but it's probably second or third generation) has been getting weaker, but after years of use I can still get through a big book at 3-6 hours a night that might take me a week to read, and still have power left over. Fortunately, although Amazon doesn't encourage it, I have a third-party battery kit that should make it easy to replace the battery when it really starts deteriorating. For anyone doing this, make sure you order the right battery for your EXACT model of Kindle (which isn't always easy to find out, either) because very similar models of Kindle can use very similar batteries that are nevertheless incompatible. Even the Paperwhite series switched battery designs halfway through it evolution. They all look identical but the older ones have three connectors and the newer one have four.

Charlie Wayne 01-24-2020 01:49 AM

To all those people who have posted that I still do not understand what a Kindle is about, I must admit you are right.

My only hope for some saving grace is that it seems to prove that seniors do have difficulty understanding new technology. I just hope the reason is not just that I'm stupid but that there are also some other reasons why this is often true.

Meanwhile, I thank those people for pointing out the true workings of a Kindle.

Ruken 01-24-2020 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inner Stickler (Post 22096482)
E-ink is fascinating! I highly recommend Technology Connection's video on it. It kinda but not really like an etch a sketch. The E-ink screen is black liquid with titanium dioxide (which is white) suspended in it. The charge any specific point on the screen gets determines whether the titanium dioxide ions move forward (point gets white because the TiO2 ions are on top of the black stuff) or move back (point goes black because the ions are underneath the black stuff).

Charged TiO2 particles; most of the individual titiania can't be ionized.

swampspruce 01-24-2020 09:28 AM

I despise reading for any great length of time on an LED screen, phone, computer or tablet. With the series of Kobos I've had over the years I can read for hours with no eyestrain and the lit screens are great for nighttime reading without disturbing my spouse who is a very light sleeper. I have an Aura H2O now but I'll likely get a Forma once it kicks the bucket. Being able to sideload epubs is the bonus feature that keeps me from buying a Kindle. The tech that's inside has advanced in a great many ways, it's just more subtle, as other have noted.

Kimera757 01-24-2020 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Stone (Post 22097345)
Who says e-readers have not improved? The first Kindle had a slow, low resolution gray screen screen. It did not have a backlight. It was not remotely waterproof. Newer generations have higher contrast, higher resolution screens, paperwhite backgrounds and integral backlights. You can drop them in the tub and they still work.

Those newer feaetures have been in existence for a long while, though. The only changes I expect to e-readers would be incremental and mainly software changes.

Quote:

The original kindle had UI issues, and a form factor that included a full keyboard and arrow pads for navigation, which turned out to be a poor idea.
Why are arrow pads a poor idea? The very first e-reader I owned was a Kobo, but not the Forma, and did not have buttons. I would tap on the right side of the screen to page forward, and about a third of the time it would move backward one page. It really felt like the touchscreen-only model existed purely to be "cool". I'm currently using buttons. I never use the touchscreen to turn pages, only to select books or occasionally turn the light or wi-fi on or off.

I use Calibre and Adobe to organize and load books, so I have little need for a keyboard on an e-reader, but some people want to use the e-reader for that. If there's no keyboard, it needs a vibrating feedback function so people will know what they've actually typed.

(I have this problem at work. My password is long because the info is private. When I use the new scanner, I have to put in the password into a touchscreen on the scanner. I get the password wrong at least half the time, despite not actually forgetting the password.)

Dr_Paprika 01-24-2020 12:09 PM

It’s been a long time since I looked at an e-reader. They have a role when space is limited and during travel. The early models did not seem that enjoyable to read. I’m sure they have improved and there is now a massive selection of material.

But some studies have showed people retain more from a physical book (like three times as much, not that I’ve read the actual studies). I much prefer actual books and often read non-fiction where retention is desirable. Some of the books I like are probably not available in e-format. Prices vary but are sometimes surprising.

None of this answers why the readers aren’t better, except the market may be limited by folks who feel likewise. Used books may be cheaper and more available now than any other time in history. People might pay $30-150 for an e-reader, and adding lights and features doesn’t seem that difficult. Better fonts, graphics, resolution and readability exist. But I suspect some are content to use their phones and not need another thing. Some have tablets which offer many of the same things. Many rarely read at all or not in volume. And some of the heavy readers like me prefer holding a volume to skimming a device.

ftg 01-24-2020 03:34 PM

Wow, I really started something here.

Re: the comments about the Kind DX. It came out in 2009! They could do a big (perhaps too big) screen then but now???

And the links to those large epaper things are interesting but they highlight my key beef: these should be a lot cheaper. (Well, not the draw on ones, maybe.) Hundreds of Euros. Wow.

I just find the 6" format too small for my aging eyes. So a bit bigger but not really huge. I'm also a fast reader to I find it a pain to repeated tap to change page. So a bigger screen might also mean a slower pace on the taps.

I just want to say that I will not be addressing any issue regarding "Why would you want one of those?" or anything. That's a completely unrelated topic.

I was asking mainly about the economics of these vs. standard tech progress. It would be like if cell phones froze at the flip/feature phone level ... and cost a surprising amount at that.

GMANCANADA 01-24-2020 10:28 PM

ftg
Quote:

It would be like if cell phones froze at the flip/feature phone level ... and cost a surprising amount at that.
Your sentence can be used to answer your question:
There is huge global consumer demand for cell phones. That results in more competitors and more competition for those consumers. That results in innovation (faster, lighter, better screens etc) and cheaper prices.

There is little consumer demand for e-readers so there's few competitors and no incentive for them to innovate or reduce prices. (As you say, why people don't use e-readers is a different topic).

I like my iPhone 8 and think that generally Apple has an admirable history of innovation, but I'm under no illusion; if Apple had no competition, I'd be using a Gen 1 iPhone and paying $3,000 for it.

Welcome to capitalism!

Manda JO 01-25-2020 06:26 AM

It's like graphing calculators. The TI-84 is still $100. It was $100 thirty years ago. It hasn't changed much at all. It's a small market, the current product pretty much does everything the market wants, there isn't much competition. So they keep churning them out and selling them at the same price.

ETA: Technically, the TI-84 has only been out for twenty years. But it's not a huge leap in functionality from the TIs we used in the 90s, and they were around $100 too.

scr4 01-25-2020 07:21 AM

I think there is another important factor: the E Ink Corporation owns the patent for the e-Ink displays, and effectively has a monopoly on this type of display.

Darren Garrison 01-25-2020 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scr4 (Post 22099749)
I think there is another important factor: the E Ink Corporation owns the patent for the e-Ink displays, and effectively has a monopoly on this type of display.

Here are three more manufacturers.

A good compilation of news articles on the tech.

This is interesting--see how bigly the price jumps as display size increases? 2 or 3 inch display? Around 5 to 10 bucks. 8 inch display? Around 80 to 100. 13.3 inch? 350.

Kimera757 01-25-2020 08:26 AM

The biggest e-book manufacturers in the US (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble) all sell e-books as well. The e-books sell for less than a physical book, and they're probably trying to recoup their costs by selling e-readers at a high price.

All require you to set up an account with the manufacturer to use the device. All try to get you to buy only from them as well. Without sideloading through Adobe or Calibre, I don't know how I could read an e-book from another website and put that on an Amazon Kindle, Kobo, or B&N Nook device.

scr4 01-25-2020 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 22099763)

Pervasive Displays manufactures displays under a partnership with E Ink. As far as I know, the other two are still not used on any commercially available consumer devices.

scr4 01-25-2020 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 22099763)
This is interesting--see how bigly the price jumps as display size increases? 2 or 3 inch display? Around 5 to 10 bucks. 8 inch display? Around 80 to 100. 13.3 inch? 350.

My takeaway from that data is that these displays are ~$2 per square inch regardless of size.

Turble 01-25-2020 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kimera757 (Post 22099799)
...
All require you to set up an account with the manufacturer to use the device. ...

I donít know about Kindle but I have had a Nook and now use a Kobo and have never set up an account on either Ė you can, but you donít have to.

ftg 01-25-2020 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kimera757 (Post 22099799)
The biggest e-book manufacturers in the US (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble) all sell e-books as well. The e-books sell for less than a physical book, and they're probably trying to recoup their costs by selling e-readers at a high price.

All require you to set up an account with the manufacturer to use the device. All try to get you to buy only from them as well. Without sideloading through Adobe or Calibre, I don't know how I could read an e-book from another website and put that on an Amazon Kindle, Kobo, or B&N Nook device.

Actually, the opposite price-wise often happens in the media devices world. They sell a lot of their low end products for below cost. The famous Amazon 7" Fire tablet is list price $50. It routinely sells for $40 and on special days even less. At the low range Amazon is losing money on these. It's like the old razor-and-blade model. Sell the device cheap and hope to make it back on selling content.

As for registering. In the last few days I "registered" two Nooks (Simple Touch and Color) that I got in an auction lot of tablets. Used fake name and email address. I have not once downloaded anything from Barnes & Noble on my old Simple Touch or Color HD. (In fact both of those were rooted and had Cyanogenmod OS installed on them.) Mrs. FtG's Kindle has never been used to get books from Amazon. All library and such. That's right, we borrow books from the library to read on a Kindle. It's easy to do but for the clueless folks our library has a guide on how to do this on the leading brands.

This is not magic.

(BTW, you can install the Kindle Reader app on Nooks if you are so inclined.)

There is no lock in. I repeat. No lock in.

As to "few sales". Come on. Yeah, not as many as smart phones but still in far enough numbers that prices should decline more while capabilities go up.

The TI calculator thing is an effective monopoly. Schools have standardized on it, students have to use it, TI charges what it can get away with.

While Amazon has the lion's share of the E-reader market, it's not so absolutely dominant.

tastysandwiches 01-26-2020 11:54 AM

The answer is simple economics. What drives prices down over time? Competition. For the majority of eReader purchases today, there is no meaningful competition.

Most people in the market for a dedicated eReader already own a library of ebooks tied to one platform or another, either from their precious eReader or from phone/tablet apps. Switching to a competitor means losing that library. Say my Kindle dies and I see that the Kobo costs $50 less than the feature equivalent Kindle. That's irrelevant, because I'd lose access to my $500 worth of ebooks. No competition means no drive to improve.

Now, there are ways to strip the DRM from ebooks and transfer them to another eReader. I've done this, and probably won't buy another Kindle, but I can't imagine there are a lot of us in that little chunk of the Venn diagram where technical aptitude, philosophical opposition to DRM, philosophical opposition to copyright infringement/piracy, and willingness to be inconvenienced overlap.

tastysandwiches 01-26-2020 12:03 PM

And no, you can't install the Kindle app on a Nook eReader. You can install the Kindle app on a Nook branded tablet, because it's an android tablet with more ebook oriented marketing.

ftg 01-27-2020 12:17 PM

My Nook Simple Touch E-reader is an Android tablet. Runs 2.2 or some such. (Yeah, it's that old.)

From here regarding B&N's newest E-reader:

"Barnes and Noble is using Google Android for the OS and this is the way it has been since the very first Nook."

B&N used to have it's own app store but gave that up since people were just installing stuff from Google anyway. And the Kindle reader app was and still is available on the Google store.

(The amount of misinformation that keeps getting posted here about these devices is amazing.)

Yeah, there are other things that sell in larger quantity, but that doesn't mean a lot. Clearly these things sell in significant numbers that costs should have come down (and features gone up). It just seems to be a "this is what the consumers accept" thing.

Anyway, I've ordered a "refurbished" Kindle Oasis 8th Gen from a person online who apparently sells a lot of these. I'm not too concerned about the age of it as you can tell by my current E-reader being quite old. I usually keep these things going.

We'll see.

tastysandwiches 01-27-2020 01:11 PM

Ok, I'll confess I don't have a Nook. I'm only going by what I've read online. Are you saying that I can buy an e-ink Nook and just start installing Play store apps? No hacking, rooting, modding or sideloading? And the Kindle app will be properly optimized for e-ink, not give the tablet UI that's expecting a quick, responsive LCD?

If so, I may be in the market for a new eReader after all...

Turble 01-27-2020 04:18 PM

The Nook Simple Touch E-reader is an Android device but it is not a tablet. You can not install apps on it. You can install the Kindle reader app on a tablet.

GMANCANADA 01-27-2020 09:55 PM

fog
Quote:

Yeah, there are other things that sell in larger quantity, but that doesn't mean a lot..
Wrong - That means everything. Please read my previous post. That is basic capitalist economics.

Quote:

Clearly these things sell in significant numbers that costs should have come down (and features gone up)
No, they clearly don't. What may seem like "significant" to you is obviously not significant to the tech companies that manufacture (or could manufacture) these products. If it were, they would offer new innovative features and the price would come down. That is basic capitalist ecomonics.

You asked for the economic reason previously, That's it, plain and simple. You don't seem to want accept that.

Darren Garrison 01-28-2020 02:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turble (Post 22104179)
The Nook Simple Touch E-reader is an Android device but it is not a tablet. You can not install apps on it.

Not so, Daddyo.

BigT 01-28-2020 03:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manda JO (Post 22099705)
It's like graphing calculators. The TI-84 is still $100. It was $100 thirty years ago. It hasn't changed much at all. It's a small market, the current product pretty much does everything the market wants, there isn't much competition. So they keep churning them out and selling them at the same price.

ETA: Technically, the TI-84 has only been out for twenty years. But it's not a huge leap in functionality from the TIs we used in the 90s, and they were around $100 too.

While they do have lower demand, the bigger reason for TI's lack of innovation is their successful vendor lock in with their target market: schools. They aren't just used in classrooms like other calculators. The textbooks are built around TI calculators. Teachers were trained on TI calculators. Standardized testing only allows TI calculators (or basic calculators). Competitors have tried and failed to innovate in that space--I remember a cheap HP graphing calculator I got but couldn't use well in school back in the early 2000s. TI has only recently added color (with the TI-84 Plus CE), and I think that was just to get schools to have a reason to buy new instead of continuing to use their old stock. And I could have chosen a color calculator back when I got my HP!

Amazon also has a lock-in of sorts, but in a different way. They have a lock-in on the standard e-book format. In particular, they control the DRM. If they don't want you to have the ability to handle Kindle format books, they can lock you out. Sure, they'll let people read books on their PC, Android, or Apple device, but they don't have any reason to allow a competing e-reader to use it.

Now, sure, both Google and Apple have their own book stores with their own format of books. But they never got into the e-reader space. They added e-books on top of their existing businesses. Amazon, on the other hand, started as a book-selling company, and got in on e-readers when they were new. They had the built-in audience for it--people who might like a single-purpose device for reading books.

And, unlike calculators, e-readers don't just use parts used in everything else. The big difference is that e-ink screen. So it makes sense that a company that doesn't already use them doesn't want to bother, given the low demand.

The devices linked all seem to be even more niche than e-readers, and thus can get away with higher prices. I could see Amazon not seeing those as competing with Kindle, and allowing them to open the Kindle format. I also know of a few devices that run Android with an e-ink screen, which gives them access to the Kindle Android app. But none really compete with the Kindle itself at its level--they're always more expensive.

Darren Garrison 01-28-2020 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 22105017)
Amazon also has a lock-in of sorts, but in a different way. They have a lock-in on the standard e-book format.

Actually, they ignore the standard e-book format.

md2000 01-28-2020 01:18 PM

Not sure Amazon can lock people out... You can download Calibre which not only converts between (unlocked) ebook formats, but also functions as a reader for a number of formats. You can find a number of books available in non-DRM format. I have studiously avoided paying for books that don't give me complete control over what I've bought. (Another use for Calibre is to convert PDF books to mobi or other ebook formats.)

ftg 01-28-2020 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tastysandwiches (Post 22103731)
Ok, I'll confess I don't have a Nook. I'm only going by what I've read online. Are you saying that I can buy an e-ink Nook and just start installing Play store apps? No hacking, rooting, modding or sideloading? And the Kindle app will be properly optimized for e-ink, not give the tablet UI that's expecting a quick, responsive LCD?

If so, I may be in the market for a new eReader after all...

Apps on an E-ink device (regardless of brand) are a mixed bag. That they are black and white and slow handicaps things quite a bit.

Examples:

I like to install Open Sudoku on my tablets. On a Nook Simple Touch the "coloring" is shades of gray which makes it hard to distinguish given cells from filled in ones, for example. But it is playable.

I have tried out Opera mini on my Simple Touch. It works on some sites, for example the SDMB. But is really, really slow.

If the app is B&W oriented, doesn't demand a lot of resources, etc. and runs on the tablet's version of Android, it just might work.

Like I said, newer versions of Nooks are setup to connect to Google Play Store out of the box. So that works just like any other tablet.

And yes, that really, really, really means you can install other reading software on a Nook. JUST LIKE ANY OTHER TABLET. (Come one folks, this is the Dope here. STOP repeating blatantly false information. Got that, Turble?)

For example, I have FBReader installed on my Simple Touch. And that's an ooooold device. Which means that a lot of junk being posted here has been provably false for about 10 years.

tastysandwiches 01-29-2020 07:43 AM

Can you provide any evidence for the claim that new Nook eReaders support the Play store out of the box? Because I can't find anything to corroborate that, and it just doesn't make sense to include an app store where most of the apps will be somewhere between non-optimized and unusable, and will directly reduce the device's profitability by making it easy to buy books from other stores.

Again, I mean e-ink devices, *not* tablets - yes, nook tablets support the Play store. It would really help cut down on confusion here if you stopped conflating the two.

The Nook Glowlight, with its B&W e-ink display, is an eReader. I still don't believe it supports the Play store without tomfoolery.

The Nook HD, with its colour LCD display, is a tablet. I stipulate that it supports the Play store.

Mama Zappa 01-30-2020 02:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 22096287)
...
One of the restrictions is access to books. Kindle, for example, locked me into their store. I could send other .MOBI files to my library, but it was on their store. ...

There is a trend (from some publishers anyway) to sell ebooks without DRM. Then you import it into Calibre and convert it to whatever format (MOBI, EPUB etc.). Calibre also does a nice job of managing your library and sideloading the books onto your device.

For books with DRM, well, do some googling. 'nuff said.

Me, I strongly prefer my Paperwhite to my phone for reading. It's about the size of a hardback book. Yes, it doesn't fit in my pocket the same way the phone does, but neither would a regular book - and i've literally got thousands of books on hand at any time.

I misplaced it about 2 months ago - no clue WHERE it's gotten to, though I know it's in the house - and I miss it every day. The phone works - but it is not as good.

scr4 01-30-2020 06:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 22103547)
My Nook Simple Touch E-reader is an Android tablet. Runs 2.2 or some such. (Yeah, it's that old.)

From here regarding B&N's newest E-reader:

"Barnes and Noble is using Google Android for the OS and this is the way it has been since the very first Nook."

B&N used to have it's own app store but gave that up since people were just installing stuff from Google anyway.

Yes it's true that the Nook e-reader software is based on Android.

And if you use one of several rooting kits available, you can hack the device to make it run a standard version of Android.

I can't find any confirmation that later Nook e-Ink devices have standard Android, or have access to the Google Play Store, straight out of the box.

ftg 01-31-2020 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scr4 (Post 22109614)
Yes it's true that the Nook e-reader software is based on Android.

And if you use one of several rooting kits available, you can hack the device to make it run a standard version of Android.

I can't find any confirmation that later Nook e-Ink devices have standard Android, or have access to the Google Play Store, straight out of the box.

Other than the links that I've previously provided, including a quote from one of them?????

Re: Google Play store. From Wikipedia: "On March 15, 2016, Barnes & Noble announced it would close the Nook App Store and Nook Video, probably because Google's Play Store, which runs on Barnes & Noble devices, has been far more successful."

Here's a sample thread from XDA-Devs (you know, the site that goes deep into Android stuff) on deep things with the latest Nook E-Ink E-Reader the Glowlight Plus. You will note (once people got their hands on one) various Android tweaks and rooting they did to it. In particular, the wonderful Renate NST there is making a lot of comments. One of the top Android on Nooks people out there. (She, for example, showed how to add a sound dongle to the NST which she uses for her music stuff.)

Now for the really insulting stuff:

tastysandwiches: "Again, I mean e-ink devices, *not* tablets - yes, nook tablets support the Play store. It would really help cut down on confusion here if you stopped conflating the two."

I own an NST and an HD+ (E-ink and LCD, resp.) for years. Rooted both and installed Cyanogenmod on them.

And I'm confused????

You've got people here insisting all sorts of trivially false crap and you decide to make this up????

It is astonishing the nonsense these E-readers bring in.

Folks: Unless you have the personal experience with something maybe it's a bad idea to post some false rumor you picked up somewhere.

tastysandwiches 02-01-2020 12:49 AM

Sorry, I did t mean to imply you were confused, only that you might be inadvertently confusing others with less understanding of the differences between the types of devices. I don't want some poor low-tech sap to read this thread, decide to go out and buy a Nook to read their Kindle books, and fail to understand that the HD allows doing so with no fuss, but the Glowlight requires a whole bunch of techie mumbo jumbo and a voided warranty.

Though to be honest, you've got me thinking about buying and rooting a Nook... Would you mind my asking a couple more questions, as you're the one with experience?

If I have a Glowlight that's been modified to run the Play store, can it still be used as a regular Glowlight? That is, can I use the Kindle app to read my Kindle books and then switch back to the normal GlowLight UI, the one designed for e-ink, to read my Nook and DRM free books? Or do you have to lose the original interface to use it as a tablet?

How is the experience of running the Kindle app on your Nook Simple Touch?

Thanks!

scr4 02-01-2020 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 22112377)
Other than the links that I've previously provided, including a quote from one of them?????

Re: Google Play store. From Wikipedia: "On March 15, 2016, Barnes & Noble announced it would close the Nook App Store and Nook Video, probably because Google's Play Store, which runs on Barnes & Noble devices, has been far more successful."

I took that to mean the Nook LCD tablets now run Google Play Store, while their e-Ink devices just run their e-book reader software.

I'm still confused as to why the Nook Glowlight Plus product info page, for example, does not mention Android or the Google Play Store at all, if it comes with the Play Store app installed and has access to all Android apps without any modification or rooting.

As for the XDA-Devs thread, I don't have time to go through a 14-page thread, can you point to a specific post that says the device does NOT need to be rooted to access the Google Play Store?

Sam Stone 02-01-2020 03:14 PM

The market is full of electronic devices that do not undergo constant revision and updating like cell phones and computers do. My Panasonic cordless phone is at least 10 years old, but they still sell virtually the same model. My Sennheiser headphones are at least 15 years old, but the same model is still being sold.

Sometimes products get to a point where they are mature, do everything people need, or are so close to it that no one can identify significant improvements that are worth the expense of R&D. Calculators have been mentioned. Digital watches were like that for a long time until the smart watch came along. Cessna 172's have not changed much for 50 years.

E-readers have nearly perfect screens for reading. They have plenty of battery life. They have more memory than most people need. The places where they have improved are on the margins: waterproofing, better front lighting, etc. Maybe someone will come up with an idea for a killer feature and the whole market will shift. If not, we might be using essentially the same tech for reading books 20 years from now.

Dewey Finn 02-01-2020 03:21 PM

Honestly, there are other products, like smartphones, where the companies seem to be trying really hard to justify introducing new models each year. Is there really that much of a difference between an iPhone X and an iPhone 11?

GMANCANADA 02-01-2020 08:58 PM

Sam Stone
Quote:

My Panasonic cordless phone is at least 10 years old, but they still sell virtually the same model. My Sennheiser headphones are at least 15 years old, but the same model is still being sold.
Sorry, your point is not valid. Cherry picking individual products from a full product line-up doesn't doesn't work. Both companies may have left basic models the same where there is enough consumer demand to justify the SKU, but they have also introduced many new models with new features like caller announcement, noise suppression, call blocking on phones and things like blue tooth on headphones etc.

Additionally, prices (certainly for phones) have come down. I was looking at a Panasonic phone at Costco last year and I was blown away by the features, the number of handsets and how low the price compared to the last time I bought 10 years ago.

The point is that when you have a robust consumer market, companies invest in R&D adding features and reduce prices to compete. When you don't, you get e-readers.

I confess, I know nothing about e-readers other than everyone I've know that had them 10 years ago has stopped using them. I do however, know about economics, I teach it at a university. This is classic capitalist economics, especially in a stagnant-growth oligopoly. This is literally an Economics 101 topic in my class.

puzzlegal 02-01-2020 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scr4 (Post 22096268)
Right, the Oasis is the premium model. Metal body and all that. I love mine. The basic Kindle (6" 167 ppi) is $90, and the Paperwhite (6" 300 ppi) is $130.

As for the bezel - ever notice actual paper books have margins? If they didn't, your fingers would obscure the letters. That's the same reason e-book readers have wide bezels. These aren't pocket-sized devices anyway, so screen-to-body ratio isn't a big selling point.

and the form factor is similar to the form factor of a paperback book. I think the choice of size is intentional, not based on some tech limit. It's a reasonably handy size to carry in a purse or hold with one hand. The Oasis even cleverly puts alone all of the weight along one edge so it's easier to hold for a long time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morgyn (Post 22097421)
Given a choice between reading a book on the computer or the phone and reading it on my Kindle Oasis, I'll take the Oasis. It doesn't hurt my eyes, and no matter where I am, I can read it. I carry it with me everywhere.

ETA: wolfpup, what do you call "heavy use"? I can run my Kindle out in a day or two, but we're also talking 3-4 hours of continuous use.

do you leave the WiFi on? Mine lasts for more than a week of heavy use, including reading at night by its light.

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 22105970)
Not sure Amazon can lock people out... You can download Calibre which not only converts between (unlocked) ebook formats, but also functions as a reader for a number of formats. You can find a number of books available in non-DRM format. I have studiously avoided paying for books that don't give me complete control over what I've bought. (Another use for Calibre is to convert PDF books to mobi or other ebook formats.)

Yup. I borrow a lot of DRM library books, but I only buy books that are DRM-free. That's not an insignificant number of books.

scr4 02-01-2020 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMANCANADA (Post 22114785)
The point is that when you have a robust consumer market, companies invest in R&D adding features and reduce prices to compete. When you don't, you get e-readers.

I confess, I know nothing about e-readers other than everyone I've know that had them 10 years ago has stopped using them. I do however, know about economics, I teach it at a university. This is classic capitalist economics, especially in a stagnant-growth oligopoly. This is literally an Economics 101 topic in my class.

Except prices have come down. The original Kindle came out 12 years ago, and sold for $400 - that's about $500 in today's dollars. The current equivalent model (the basic Kindle) costs $90. The Kindle Paperwhite has 4x higher resolution than the original Kindle and adds LED illumination and 32x more memory, and costs $130.

GMANCANADA 02-01-2020 11:04 PM

@scr4
Apparently ftg disagrees with you, which part of what prompted the OP. That's what I'm going by. You can have the debate with them.

ftg
Quote:

Normally I'd expect that in 9 years the cost for a slightly bigger tablet that requires such mundane CPU and memory would have drastically fallen. $50 would be pricey.

scr4 02-02-2020 06:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMANCANADA (Post 22114950)
@scr4
Apparently ftg disagrees with you, which part of what prompted the OP. That's what I'm going by. You can have the debate with them.

I thought that's what we've been doing. Have you read the whole thread?

GMANCANADA 02-02-2020 10:27 PM

TBH - I've skimmed most of the thread - I couldn't care less about the pedantic debate on the minutia of what different e-readers offer in terms features, compatibility and hacking that the thread has devolved into.

My focus has been on the OP's questions:
Quote:

Why are E-readers some sort of tech exception? Why aren't they more bangs per buck? Why isn't there the amazing leaps that you see everywhere else in this field.
and
Quote:

I was asking mainly about the economics of these vs. standard tech progress.
I think his question is valid and have no need or desire to correct him and prove his premise invalid.

ftg 02-04-2020 07:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tastysandwiches (Post 22113572)
Though to be honest, you've got me thinking about buying and rooting a Nook... Would you mind my asking a couple more questions, as you're the one with experience?

If I have a Glowlight that's been modified to run the Play store, can it still be used as a regular Glowlight? That is, can I use the Kindle app to read my Kindle books and then switch back to the normal GlowLight UI, the one designed for e-ink, to read my Nook and DRM free books? Or do you have to lose the original interface to use it as a tablet?

How is the experience of running the Kindle app on your Nook Simple Touch?

Thanks!

Running Google Play Store on an old Nook Glowlight or Simple Touch won't work. It's just an astonishing resource hog. But you can sideload apps on a suitably modified old Nook using one of the services that grabs the app you want from the Play Store. (And they can make it easier to get the older version that would run on the 2.2 ? Android version.) It's the newer LCD Nooks (and others?) that work natively with the Google Play Store.

Here's the sub-forum on XDA-Dev for the NST and old Glowlight models. While some discussion concerns full blown rooting and/or installing a different Android OS like Cyanogenmod, most concerns more mundane stuff. One classic topic was finding various versions of settings.apk to try and get access to more settings than the original came with. Getting into landscape mode (which I love) is another old topic.

----

However, I would like to stop here regarding the side discussions regarding various E-reader internals and capabilities outside the scope of my OP.

I really appreciate comments such as GMANCANADA's.


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