A couple of weeks back Ectaco announced their new 9.7 inch E-Ink eReader (WiFi and Touch Screen), nothing special in that, but the big news about this is that it will be the first colour E-Ink device to be available for purchase!
The jetBook Color EDU.12 has been in development since earlier this year in Russia and will be made available in the States during Q4 2011. The new eReader is actually being pushed as a K-12 device, or as Ectaco put it, “Educational eTextbook tablet with Test System, Home Assignments, Remote Tutoring and eBook studies”.
Anyone outside of the education system us unlikely to get their hands on one, or want to for that matter, as the it seems to be tied heavily to the “Teacher’s Console” and purchasing looks to be only possible via the Ectaco website; so you’ll probably need appropriate credentials. Continue reading
Last week, Feedbooks co-founder, Hadrien Gardeur announced on the mobileread.com forum that they will be releasing their own dedicated E-Ink eBook reader!
Feedbooks.com is a service that provides public domain eBooks for download in multiple formats, including of course ePub.
The device itself will be available later this year (September/October 2008) through a large French retailer (yet to be announced) and then via online ordering later in the year.
Hadrien mentioned that they are dedicating their resources to what they consider to be the ‘basic features’ that any dedicated reader should have.
- A 6″ E-Ink device (presumably the Vizplex display), based on Linux 2.6.
- Browsing for books via folders or metadata
- A real bookmarking system (similar to the Sony Reader)
- A simple, yet customizable UI
Hadrien didn’t give too many details away just yet, but he promised to provide screenshots and even videos closer to the time!
As the Feedbooks website provides books in the ePub format I very much hope that their reader will be able to reader ePub books natively.
Although this is not directly related to ePub it could have big consequences in the future. There was a post over at DigiTimes.com (thanks to mobileread.com for picking this up) on PVI’s plans to “double its capacity for electrophoretic display (EPD)”, if you’re not sure what these are then take a look at the nearest Kindle or Sony Reader screen!
There’s no ETA on when they will start production of the E-Ink/VizPlex screens but the indications are that it could be sometime this year.
Currently there’s a lot of debate around the net on the ‘apparent’ short supply of VizPlex screens, with luck this will put an end to the shortage and no doubt allow even more dedicated readers to be developed.
What does this have to do with ePub? The way I see it, if there are more machines out there in the market place we’ll likely see more support for ePub books, this will then create more pressure for publishers to produce titles in the .epub format. With luck consumers will start to demand a format that is cross-platform compatible (with or without DRM), allowing them to read not only on their dedicated Reader, PDA or smartphone, but also on their PC or MAC…helping to bring down The Tower of eBabel.