Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yes, Please (EEE Reader)

So I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. I have a few ebooks, mostly from Project Gutenberg, as well as an ancient 18-volume set I'm slowly scanning/converting to ebook form so I can take it on the road (and not damage it by reading). I've considered buying an ebook reader, but have never really needed one. I used to have a Tapwave Zodiac (PDA) which I used as an ebook reader. The screen broke though, and I eventually replaced it with a Nokia N800, an internet tablet, which has gotten the most use from me as an ebook reader so far. I stopped using that a year or so ago. Since my cell phone can pretty much do all the same things, it's impractical to the N800 around anymore, even if it did have a bigger screen (and better web browsing).

So here's the deal: I eventually discarded the idea of using a dedicated ebook reader. Something like the Kindle, that really only reads ebooks seems impractical. I can use my phone for that, however it's screen is almost too small for that purpose. I'm currently using my eeePC 901 for ebook reading more than anything else, but it can't fit in ,y pocket, so it's not as practical as my N800 was, or as my cell phone would be. I'm really just waiting until someone comes out with a HUGE cell phone that combines the best features of the N800 and my current cell phone. Perhaps the N900? We'll see.

Asus has kind of angered me with their abandonment and mistreatment of their 9" netbook line (saying they wouldn't make any more 9" netbooks, then releasing the 9" T91 without many of the advertised features, and refusing to release the more advanced versions unless the crappier model sells). However, they've actually managed to capture my interest with a dedicated ebook reader. I give you, the EEE Reader. A dual-screened, foldable (like a book), touchscreen ebook reader, probably available in 7" and 9" models.

[caption id="attachment_587" align="aligncenter" width="385" caption="EEE Reader"]The EEE Reader[/caption]

Now, there's some discrepancies in online reports. Some sites are saying the EEE Reader's two screens will be full color, some people are saying they'll be grayscale. Some people are saying two touchscreen panels, some are saying just one. It's supposed to have wifi support, a web browser, and a microphone for Skype. It's also supposed to be $165, however keep in mind that the eeePC 701 was released at twice it's announced price.

If this does have a touchscreen that can act as a keyboard, and it's super-responsive, I could actually see this replacing my netbook on the road.

You know what, I'll say it. This is the first dedicated ebook reader that's actually given me pause. The first I've ever actually considered buying. No one is more shocked than me at this. I'd always figured that ebook readers would slowly die at the hands of smart phones and tablets. What Asus has done, is given us a (potentially) cheap ebook reader that could stave off netbook and tablet cravings. Fascinating.

Can't wait for it to come out, and see how it holds up.


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