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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Turning the ebook page (again)

Chris Morrison at Business 2.0 has the latest spin on the (hardly inexolerable) rise of the EBook..

Back in 2000, the handheld electronic book was thought to be as much a part of the future as MP3s, broadband video, and ad-supported websites. That year, Forrester Research predicted $251 million in sales of e-book content by 2005. It seemed a modest goal, but today the market is so small that Forrester doesn't even track it. Held back by a lack of available titles and stifling copy protection, the e-book reader gathered dust while other dotcom-era innovations flourished.
But one part of the stalled e-book industry could yet surprise us: electronic paper. At the forefront of the technology is E-Ink, a company spun off from MIT in 1997. E-Ink's thin film display functions as a screen and looks much more natural than its LCD counterparts. Instead of using standard pixels, e-paper contains millions of microcapsules that change color when an electric charge is sent through them - mimicking the look of real ink on real paper, without any backlight to hurt your eyes. The power required is negligible.
Right now e-paper is still married to bulky devices like the Sony Reader and the Motorola MotoFone, which use e-paper in their displays. But in the next three years, according to E-Ink, e-paper will become untethered. E-Ink customers like Samsung and LG Philips have already created 14-inch color displays nearly as thin as a piece of paper.
E-paper's success, says Lawrence Gasman, principal analyst at tech research firm NanoMarkets, "depends not so much on the technology as on designers coming up with cool stuff." In 2008, for example, U.K.-based Polymer Vision will launch the Readius, a mobile device with a flexible 5-inch e-paper display that unfurls like a scroll.
By 2010, look for stand-alone e-paper that plugs into your laptop to update its content. Eventually e-paper could display video and contain tiny Wi-Fi chips to update itself on the go. (E-Ink has demonstrated paper with limited Internet connectivity.)
If that makes you think of the moving, self-updating newspaper featured in the movie Minority Report, you're on the right track, says Kenneth Bronfin, president of interactive media for Hearst and chairman of E-Ink's board of directors. "The dollar you pay for your newspaper doesn't even pay the printing costs," he says. "If there was a device that newspapers could give consumers to eliminate the printing cost, the economics could really work." Sign up for a two-year subscription to an e-paper, he suggests, and you might get the device for free. E-Ink's profit in such a venture would be more than paper-thin.


jenifer said...

I have seen very good collection of digital magazines at ...Try it once...!!

losgasnasos said...

The technology has controlled our life in so many aspects, that it is amazing. In my opinion the "simple life" is much better than this "robotistic" life. The humanity becomes dependent on computer and electronics. I don’t understand way people prefer reading a book on the internet instead of a real book with ink and pictures. The technology
Emphasizes the differences in the society by making the rich richer and the poor poorer. I am hopefully for changes in our thinking and hoping that we will realize that we've make a mistake.

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