A book for every worm, combined with a gadget for every nerd

Since the first Kindle was brought out, e-readers have flooded the market, turning what was the reserve of the highly tech-savvy nerds who were going around with clunky PDA’s into something for the mainstream user, an electronic method of reading that appealed to everyone using some basic principles; strong battery life, competitive pricing and most of all convenience; the availability of ebooks which was stifling to the original models along with their technological constraints.

As readers of this blog will know, I own a Sony PRS-505. It’s a fantastic device, lightweight, comfortable to hold, good screen and it feels good and solid in your hand. There are some drawbacks, the basic memory isn’t strong (thought this can be fixed with the various SD cards on the market) it’s buttons are slightly all over the place which can be annoying and it has a general lack of connectivity; it just doesn’t like to play nice with other devices.

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iPhone OS 4.0 demo time

It’s been a good month for Apple, the iPad has finally hit the shelves and was whipped up in the first day by eager fans and tech shoppers, and after much waiting and speculating; iPhone OS 4.0 is also finally set to be announced.

It is expected that on Thursday (tomorrow) Apple will be announcing the details of the long awaited update which will be sent out to around 40million iPhones and 300,000+ iPads in June.

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An Apple a day, keeps the competition away…

Apple has changed the world, literally. They’ve let us bring our music libraries with us where ever we go, made smart phones cool for the average joe blogs, now they’re going to shake up up portables and how we read news and magazines.

While this is brilliant for us, who are now so used to seeing the Apple logo, it’s practically one of our five-a-day now. The Software and hardware giant has also livened up competition, made other companies fight for our attention and forcing them to produce machines that don’t just work, but look attractive.

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Three E-Readers which will shape 2010… if Apple don’t get there first.

This year’s CES show in Las Vegas has produced a host of mouth watering gear, not least of all, amongst e-readers. Three companies have released new readers, with the intent of breaking both Sony and Amazon’s strangle hold on the current market.

Firstly and slightly surprisingly, perhaps is Samsung’s attempt at venturing into new waters, far from its netbooks and phones; the E6 and E101 readers, with six and ten inch screens respectively. The new e-reader line comes with anywhere up to 8GB of memory for all the books you’ll ever need, and a stylus for note taking, and doodling.

Is it a phone, is it a Kindle? No, it's an E-Reader

The readers, which more resemble phones than books, also pack WiFi abilities and allows users to take advantage of Samsung’s content deal with Google to access over 1million+ free titles available through the search engine in the public domain.

The reader feels sturdy, and looks it too; being similar size to the Kindle, but does look noticeable bigger.

The E6 is expected to retail at $399, and the E101 at $699, and will be available in early 2010, nothing said yet about how much the product would cost in Europe, so we’ll have to wait and see for now.

A complete show stopper at CES was the Skiff, an impossibly thin, and flexible e-reader.

The Skiff sports an 11inch screen, making it bigger then most e-readers currently out there, and is almost completely touchscreen. The device itself is housed in a thin, metal frame which really is barely noticeable.

Flexible, light, like something from the future; today!

The touchscreen is designed to take input from both finger and stylus, which makes it feel much more natural then the Kindle, or some other models out there which make reading feel more like being on a computer than curling up with a good book.

The Skiff also packs a lot into it’s 7mm thickness, such as a USB port, 4GB memory for enough books to put a librarian out of a job, SD card slot, and wi-fi and 3G wireless abilities.

All in all, the Skiff combines the wireless joys of the Kindle, with the flexibility of real books and magazines which is really what it’s aiming for, and versatility of any of its competitors.

Not currently available in shops, the Skiff is rumoured to make a debut sometime in mid-2010 in US, again not a peep about a European release date.

Another flexible E-Reader brought out at the CES, was the QUE, from UK based; Plastic Logic.

Almost equally as thin as the Skiff and packing similar memory, the Que also represents another glimpse into a more, flexible future. Encased in plastic, instead of metal thereby making it shatter-proof, the Que aims to expand the now jam-packed E-Reader market, by introducing itself into the workplace, and replacing the many messy documents which might be lying around, rather like a notepad that will never fill up.

Presenting; (Drum Roll...) The Paperless Office!!!!!

The Que boasts the largest touchscreen of all the readers, coming in at 8.5”x11” along with 3G and WiFi inbuilt as standard, and a choice of 4GB or 8GB, depending on how many books or documents you might want to be bringing with you.

The 4GB version comes with WiFi only, and costs $649 while the 8GB version has both WiFi and 3G and will set you back by $799. Currently only available in the US, with AT&T providing the 3G coverage, Plastic Logic is expected to roll out the Que over the coming year.

Of all the E-Readers being churned out, it seems the CES has finally begun to spark the market widening into new fields, whether it be the office, or dedicated magazine and broadsheet displays.

Depending on what you’re looking for; there’s an E-Reader to suit you;

Samsung would probably suit best if you were a hardcore bookworm, offering a nice comfortable sized screen, with buckets of memory and connectivity. While should magazines and newspapers with some books thrown in be more your thing; then it looks like the Skiff might be right down your alley; thin, flexible, sturdy, clean and big you can take whole news-agents with you everywhere! Finally if you’re just a high flying exec, then surely there’s nothing better then having your desk with you without the pain of skimming a laptop screen for hours, you can sit back and read a report as if it were a piece of, slightly plastic feeling, paper.

Whether the Skiff and Que will be affected by Apple’s iSlate remains to be seen; the new device that everyone is talking about could well change the E-Reader market while it’s still in its infancy, but we’ll have to wait and see. It will be interesting to see how colourless e-ink displays stand up to the might of Apple.