Monday, September 22, 2008

iRex Digital Reader

iRex released a new 10.2" e-book today. Engadget has the recap:

The new iRex Digital Reader is pretty much what we expected: a 10.2-inch, Lithium Ion battery-powered, black and white e-ink device that still leaves us hungry for that snazzy reader that Plastic Logic has coming down the pipe. Geared towards business users, prices start at a hefty $649 for the Digital Reader 1000, and if you want a stylus thrown in -- you know, something else to lose -- be prepared to spend $749 on the 1000S. Still, the big daddy 1000SW -- with WiFi, Bluetooth and that 3G data connectivity -- adds some new functionality that will be welcome, though it's hard to say who's breaking off $849 for those aforementioned features.
This device is the first publicly available e-book that I know of that is large enough to display a page of a .pdf file in its entirety. This Mobile Read thread has more details on the device including that it has a 1024 x 1280 pixel, 160dpi screen and 1 GB of storage. They also say it has a 24 hour battery life, but it is not clear what exactly that means. If you use it 1 hour a day, will it last for 24 days? I thought that e-ink devices were limited by the number of page turns rather than an amount of time.

While the price is high, it is following my adapation curve for a large e-book by marketing it at professionals who can justify the expenditure with a small increase in productivity. From iRex's press release:
“Tax specialists, accountants and lawyers that previously had thick piles of documents can carry them in their digital reader; students and academics can easily save their textbooks in the device.” Says Brons.

“Government and public sector organisations can make minutes and reports available electronically whilst medical specialists can have all their patient information and key texts at their fingertips. Plus, in addition to their professional documents they can also have their e‐books and newspapers available.”
As the price lowers in the future, expect students and book lovers to purchase them as well.

I would like to know how long it takes to refresh the screen on a page turn and whether Kindle books can be hacked to be displayed on it.

More images of the device here and more information in the Mobile Read iRex Digital Reader forum. Available for purchase in the US on October 1st at eReader Outfitters.

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