A quick post reporting back on my view of the Eco Reader which I had an opportunity to look at last week. First there was a reminder that it’s called an ebook reader not an ebook – the ebook being the content not the hardware. I knew that but I’m human and like to shorten things.
I have to say that I wasn’t impressed. I did like the fact that it’s not the same technology as LCD and so is not hard on the eyes. The actual technology used is very clever but too technical to go into here. The first text I looked at had a small font but you can enlarge it. The second was much clearer. It was not an intuitive device to use. You really need to read the manual before using an ebook reader and, ironically, the manual is in good old paper book format.
“Turning pages” took a long time – the next page took a few seconds to load and a few fast readers commented on this slowness. The device then seemed to lock itself so that nothing happened regardless of which buttons you pressed. The battery however, does last a substantial amount of time because it’s not being used on LCD. Any light on the ebook reader is natural light reflected off it.
I still think the greatest advantage of an ebook reader would be for textbooks but they’re not readily available yet. It’s a market that would take off if the cost of the e-textbook is reasonable. Display of large graphs and illustrations would be an issue. Would you have to enlarge and scroll around it?
There are still issues surrounding DRM, access, supply and availability. The ebook reader has a long way to go in my opinion. Now if they could combine the digital camera, mobile phone, netbook and ebook reader in one, then it might take off. At the moment it’s too expensive for what it offers.