Paper has been integral to society ever since our ancestors began scrawling on calfskins with cuttlefish innards. We’ve come a long way since then, and in this technological age, e-paper promises to revolutionize reading in a way unprecedented since the invention of papyrus.
E-paper provides a means of electronically simulating ink on paper. It’s not backlit, but reflects light naturally; its images are stable; and once text has been downloaded onto it, it remains there indefinitely, without draining any more electricity. All of these are distinct advantages over conventional electronic displays, allowing for a more pleasant and altogether less headache-inducing reading experience.
E-paper is more than a glimmer in the electronic inventor’s eye; it has already had numerous commercial outings, including the e-paper cover of the 75th edition of Esquire Magazine. E-paper’s potential is huge, and it could possibly negate the need for hard copies of newspapers, magazines and books, altogether. Such a thought will no doubt have Oxbridge dons coughing up their gentleman’s relish, but considering 24 trees are used in the production of 1 ton of paper, this can only be a good thing for the environment.
Unlike good old-fashioned paper-paper, e-paper is not a stand-alone product. An e-paper enabled device is needed to view its contents. Here we take a look at 5 such devices.
1. Sony PRS-505
The Sony PRS-505 is smaller and more manageable than your average paperback. It can store 160 books on its 256MB internal memory, and can read files stored in almost any format. It is an attractive object, with a sleek aluminium case and a leather cover.
The Amazon Kindle is similar in size to the PRS-505, but has a keyboard, allowing the user to annotate text as well as highlight words and dogear pages. It comes complete with the New Oxford Amercian Dictionary and offers free access to Wikipedia over the 3G network. Unlike the PRS-505 however, it only reads files in the Kindle (AZW) format.
3. Cybook Gen3
The Cybook Gen3, produced by French company Booken, is particularly lightweight, and has an impressive battery that can handle 8,000 page flips from a single charge. It functions like a USB mass storage device, making it quick and easy to use. However, the Cybook Gen3 does have a major downside: it can’t zoom in on PDFs, rendering academic articles illegible.
The Iliad ER 0100, from iRex Technologies, an offshoot of Philips, is an e-book capable of reading documents in a range of formats, including PDF. It has a touchscreen, useful for annotations, and built-in WiFi connectivity.
The FONE F3 is not an e-book like the first 4 devices on this listâ€¦ yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s a phone. But it’s no ordinary phone; it was designed for use in developing countries, and has an e-paper screen. Using e-paper enabled Motorola to decrease the phone’s width, increase its battery-life and improve its viewability in direct sunlight.
This is a Guest post by Tom Walker from Cartridge SAVE.