New Asus Eee Reader with Dual Screen

Fancy an eBook reader with two screens? Then you might want to take a look when Asus release their Eee Reader, which could be out before the end of the year.

I’m not totally convinced that having two screens will improve peoples reading experience, though perhaps the one book type that could benefit woud be the textbook. The ability to have the book on one screen and a web browser on the other, looking up a spelling, or word meaning over the internet would be quite handy too.

There is also speculation on what book format the device would use. Well, if this reader is based on the normal Asus netbooks I would say that every book format would be readable. Adobe DE? Mobipocket Reader? And why not, as Steve Jordan commented in his recent Teleread article, maybe we need eBook readers to support every format. If the Eee Reader is a Windows based system then that could be a reality, we’d even see Adobe Digital Editions on there, meaning ePub formated books will be readable to.

Steve Jobs talks again about dedicated readers, insisting that, “general-purpose devices will win the day”. Well, as usueful as it is to be able to read books on an iPhone/iPod Touch, the small screens just don’t hack it for me, so perhaps the Asus will be the first company that makes a viable general purpose device. The image above is not likely the real thing so it will be interesting to see what they come up with

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Comments

  1. says

    I think Steve Jobs is absolutely right. Multipurpose is the way to go; dedicated devices just don’t have a future as far as I can see.

    To be taken seriously as a reading device however multipurpose devices need to solve the screen quality and battery life issues.

    That Asus device looks like it would need a small nuclear power station to keep it running.

  2. Andy Sheppard says

    I don’t agree with Steve Jobs or Charlie. The problem with multipurpose devices is the compromises that are made. Reading a book on mobile phone screen is not the most comfortable especially if the ebook contains images and making the screen bigger then defeats the object of having a mobile you can fit in your pocket.

    As far as the Asus device goes, I can see a real market for this in Schools for textbooks especially if annotations can be made to the ebooks using the touchscreen. I agree that the battery life could be an issue but with their netbooks managing a useable 4-5 hours then the reader should be at least doubling that to make it worthwhile.

  3. says

    I have to disagree with you Charlie, as far as I’m concerned, dedicated readers will be strong for quite a few years yet, especially when they achieve colour displays.

    The way I see it, dedicated readers offer a reading experience that no other electronic device can yet match. The fact that they don’t have all the bells and whistles of an iPhone means there is nothing to distract from that reading experience.

    But you’re right, if a multi-purpose device wants to get the serious readers onboard, they’re going to have to do something to drastically improve the battery life.

    Andy makes some good points and I think I agree with most, although I feel a colour 10″ touch screen iRex reader would be perfect for the school environment rather than something like an Asus – you can be sure the battery life of an E-Ink reader will be better too. However, to get eBook readers into schools, these companies are still going to have to do something about the high prices.

  4. says

    I believe an important motivator (apart from the dedicated screen technology, optimized for reading of relatively static images and low-energy consumption, and ease-of-use) is the support for DRM that can be embedded in such devices with a somewhat better margin for success than DRM schemes on general purpose computers. For this same reason, we see dedicated game consoles. Under the hood, eBook readers are of course small computers, locked down by software, and probably capable of much more, if, for example, given full-fledged input devices.

  5. says

    I’ve been looking around for an ebook reader, but decided in the end to go for a net book with Adobe Digital Editions installed. The reason being the cost of the ebook readers. If they were cheaper, I would definitely buy one, but I am going to sacrifice the screen quality for the versatility of the netbook. I agree that that the multi-purpose devices will win (purely on cost) however I also agree that the iPod isn’t really a device I would want to use to read a book, far too small. If Asus bring out a double screen version at a reasonable price, I would buy one.

  6. Paul Rogers says

    I like the ebooks mainly because the diplay is more like print than a monitor, but I think they should also be more of an reading aid, text size able to read to you as you read a long, have a dictionary available, designed with children in mind help them to read, good battery life, no good if you have to keep finding a power source.
    I looked a few still think they are expensive for now.