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Old 01-23-2020, 07:28 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:45 AM
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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.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 01-23-2020 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:49 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:59 AM
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Is E-ink different than just black font on a white background?
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:01 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:03 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:15 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:15 AM
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You might find better answers here, especially in the News and General Discussions forums.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:16 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:18 AM
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For me, it's the separate device. I always have my phone with me, and it works for reading ebooks just fine.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:29 AM
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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.)
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:49 AM
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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!
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:09 AM
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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.

Last edited by scr4; 01-23-2020 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:11 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:16 AM
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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,
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:26 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:27 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:36 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:36 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:48 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:04 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:13 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:28 AM
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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
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:30 AM
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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)
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:43 AM
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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.

Last edited by Charlie Wayne; 01-23-2020 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:54 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:54 AM
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That's not what a Kindle does.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:55 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:57 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:00 AM
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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).

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Old 01-23-2020, 11:05 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:09 AM
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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).
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:10 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:16 AM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:27 AM
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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).

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Old 01-23-2020, 11:47 AM
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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."
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:54 AM
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Transflective displays, which is what a few of you may be thinking of:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transf...rystal_display
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:17 PM
Richard Pearse is offline
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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
  #39  
Old 01-23-2020, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne View Post
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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 03:01 PM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:18 PM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:26 PM
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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?
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  #43  
Old 01-23-2020, 07:34 PM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
Am I correct to say there are no large-screen readers available?
I linked to several in a post above.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:19 PM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:53 PM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:09 PM
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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.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:13 PM
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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.

Last edited by Morgyn; 01-23-2020 at 09:15 PM.
  #49  
Old 01-23-2020, 09:38 PM
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Is that with the sidelight on?
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone View Post
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.
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