Everything old is new again: a reading platform that starts out the size of a pack of cigarettes (I know, it is politically incorrect to even use that c-word)and expands to a full 5 inch screen.
Photos of the so-called Readius prototype have been kicking around for a while. I couldn't have told you the thing was called Readius® but I did know that it was a small light reader with a roll up screen and just eight buttons!
What's not to like about the idea other than the fact that it isn't OLED based? But I won't bore you with my particular hobby horse.
OLED or not, you still get a small, light thing to carry around. A gadget that combines high resolution and long battery life -- always a winner.
Secretly, I've wanted one since I saw the first prototype. If nothing else you have to admit that there is a real "coolness" factor to that roll up screen.
Looks like I might actually be able to get one soon. According to a Reuters story earlier this week, the Readius will be available for sale by this summer.
The word is that it is really a cell phone that handles eBooks, RSS feeds, email and audio files. Added features include a 30 hour battery life, an SD slot and it's very own portal.
According to Karl McGoldrick, chief executive of Polymer Vision: "We are taking e-reading and bringing it to the mobile phone."
Coolness not withstanding, before I get too excited there are a few question I want answered:
- About that portal: what exactly do they mean by "the portal allows users to personally configure the Readius® User Interface and design content and services to their own style and needs"?
- About reading: What eReader software will I be able to use? Will I be able to read my Mobipocket or PDF files? Even the protected (DRM'd) files?
- About eCommerce: Will I be able to buy eBooks, news services and subscriptions anywhere or will I be stuck with a proprietary reader and limited choices?
- How much will it cost?
The other thing I wonder about is if this device represents competition for current eInk readers (Kindle, Sony, Cybook, Irex etc) or the iPhone? I guess time will tell.