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Topic: E-readers (Read 3178 times)

  • ersi
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E-readers
It seemed that e-reader screens would converge to 6 inches, but considerably bigger devices keep being produced too.



Amazingly, after new year I still had money left, so I bought myself an e-reader. It turns out that the screen is indeed very nice to have when you read a lot of pdfs and epubs (which I do), even though the devices tend to be short on other functionality. The screen is wonderfully convenient compared to a night lamp and a book, and better than a mobile phone's LCD screen.

Insofar as e-readers are meant to display text, there should be font settings (types and sizes) everywhere. My e-reader doesn't permit changing fonts in pdfs, not even when the text reflows. There's no changing of font types and sizes in the web browser either. There should be.

The web browser should permit saving pages as text or HTML. Web-to-PDF would be nice to have. These things are easy to do in a computer and then load onto the e-reader, but it seems like a natural function for the e-reader itself.

Text-to-speech (and saving the file, i.e. conversion of text formats to audio) should be standard in sound-capable devices. Producers of e-readers should be pioneering the speech software for other languages than English. It's an accessibility thing.

More dictionaries too, particularly from other-than-English to English. And more non-Latin scripts/fonts. Producers of e-readers should be actively developing these things.

Even though e-ink screens have only shades of grey, no colours, there should be colour settings to adjust contrast and such. At least there should be a setting to invert the text and background colours. It's again an accessibility thing. Koreader is a program that fixes this particular aspect on my device, though not globally. Settings like this make sense globally.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #75
The right word would be "oldalszámok", page numbers. They made a typo, I guess.

Anyway, good to know it's fixable. Thanks :up: but I think there are infinite ways to malformat stuff and only Google Chrome can keep up with all the bad innovations.

As long as the file isn't crashing while browsing and the page numbers are visible, it's tolerable.

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #76
That typo's mine, sorry about that.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #77
For Koreader's purposes, I guess the easiest is to provide an option to not display the TOC markers in the progress bar at all (that's an option, the markers should be displayed by default). Or perhaps display the markers in a fainter shade and the progress indicator in a stronger shade so that the progress is visible even when the bar is tightly full of markers on every page.

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #78
That option's already there in Options (Gear) → Status. It's global though, not per document.

I'm not sure why they aren't in a darker gray; might be worth opening a FR or something.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #79
That option's already there in Options (Gear) → Status. It's global though, not per document.
Yes, found it: (Gear) > Status bar > Progress bar > Show chapter markers. Less nesting in this menu would be nice.

I'm not sure why they aren't in a darker gray; might be worth opening a FR or something.
There should be bigger contrast between the progress indication and the chapter markers. And to avert the current problem, I just realised that the chapter marker inside-the-progress-indicator should be a third shade in order for chapter markers to be distinguishable both in the unread part of the file and the read part of the file. So at least three shades would be needed in the progress bar.

- Progress indicator
- Chapter markers in the unread part
- Chapter markers in the read part

Anyway, Koreader is already awesome and it's pretty much nitpicking at this point.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #80
Pocketbook has released Aqua 2 http://www.pocketbook-int.com/us/products/pocketbook-aqua-2

As the name implies, it's supposed to be watertight. Improvements compared to the earlier Aqua:

- 1024x758 resolution over earlier 800x600
- 8GB storage over earlier 4GB

This is not enough improvement, because

- still 256 MB RAM
- no expansion slot

Additionally, on the webpage there are inconsistencies between the Description and Specification sections. For example, Description says mp3 and text-to-speech, but Specification denies audio-out and the list of possible file formats does not mention mp3.

Watertight electronics is a good idea, but pretty useless when there is no expansion slot. And in wet conditions the touchscreen gets erratic, so hardware keys are indispensable. (This is more about Kobo Aura One.)

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #81
Note that an underplayed aspect of being IP67 certified is that the 6 stands for being protected from dust.[1] That means you can safely take the device to the beach, although I've never personally done so. I'd be much more reticent with regular electronic devices or even paperbacks because of all the sand. Then again, I don't go to the beach to read.

Additionally, on the webpage there are inconsistencies between the Description and Specification sections. For example, Description says mp3 and text-to-speech, but Specification denies audio-out and the list of possible file formats does not mention mp3.
I see mention of a "Micro USB audio adapter."
http://www.resourcesupplyllc.com/PDFs/WhatDoesIP67Mean.pdf However, the Pocketbook Aqua 2 "only" offers IP57, meaning limited protection against dust.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #82
Then again, I don't go to the beach to read.
How about the pool or shower?
Speaking about a consumer need for this type of device, Kobo CCO Michael Tamblyn said "When we asked our customers what held them back from reading more ebooks, many told us they love to read in the bath, by the pool, or on the beach, but believed that devices and water didn't mix. As we dug deeper, we found that more than 60% of customers surveyed said they would love to be able read near water without worry. We designed the Kobo Aura H2O, our latest premium eReader, so that ebooks could be just as common at the beach or in the bath as they are on the bus or in bed."

Additionally, on the webpage there are inconsistencies between the Description and Specification sections. For example, Description says mp3 and text-to-speech, but Specification denies audio-out and the list of possible file formats does not mention mp3.
I see mention of a "Micro USB audio adapter."
So no direct plug-in for headphones on the device? And when you manage to connect the adapter to do intensively battery-draining stuff, there will be no charging of the battery at the same time?

And, all along, no expansion slot. My library soon surpasses 32GB. I wasn't quite ready for this to happen.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #83
Here's a review of Koreader on Kobo Aura One.


  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #84
Yotaphone 3 with two screens, one of them eink. More details http://www.gsmarena.com/yota_yotaphone_3-8727.php


  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #85
The huge ereader presented in the first post has meanwhile got an upgrade. Most importantly, the screen has been upgraded from about 150 ppi to roughly 260 ppi. Here is a good close look at the thing with its quirks https://youtu.be/xUDOCPijzmI?t=217

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #86
I went to the product page, clicked purchase "in the online shop" and was presented with a $160 price tag. But sadly no, they only linked to the "ebook reader" category. It's actually 800.

But if I were going to waste $800, which I'm not, I'd much rather waste it on that than on a stupid expensive phone.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #87
Two places where to keep an eye on its prices:

- a webshop in Germany, €755,65 at the moment 
- a webshop in China, €592.44 (!!!, subject to taxes when imported?) at the moment

Free shipping from both.

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #88
I was just looking at this review on German Amazon. It raises many good objections, such as these:

Quote
- The device is running an over 5 year old version of Android. Many apps won't even install because it is that old. There are a lot of manufacturers out there who don't bother updating their firmware. But this tops is all off, for this version was already outdated and unmaintained a long time before the device came out. For an 800 euro device this is absolutely unacceptable.
This is quite true though. Android 4.0? Even Android 5 would be pushing it...

Quote
- The SD-card slot has a speed of about 5MB/s, which is extremely slow. I would have expected something like that from a device in 2007, but not in 2017. Have fun running apps from that!
That's extremely bothersome.

But the last criticism I couldn't care less about.
Quote
- No automatic screen rotation - really? The device costs 800 euro and they couldn't even spare one of them for an accelerometer?
As we've established, I much prefer non-automatic screen rotation.[1] If they can save money doing it, so much the better. :)
It reminds me a bit of how Google voice input used to be amazingly good about five years ago. Because I could specify in which language I was going too speak to it. Now I've been forced to switch back to only two languages (Dutch and English) and it still gets it wrong half the time... Automatic is terrible.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #89
Android 4.0? Even Android 5 would be pushing it...
I've heard that (all?) Onyxes can be updated to 4.2. This may not sound much, but let's recall that Onyx and Boyue are currently the only producers offering eink+Android. If it's so easy to do, then there should be more makers, right? Unfortunately the situation is such that if you want Android 7, the option is Yotaphone with a tiny eink.

Android 4 may not give you all the apps you want, but even so it enables you more than any other ereader.

I would not personally buy it for myself. There's some faint hope that an employer will buy it for my use. Or maybe a ReMarkable, which has also become an actual product recently https://youtu.be/giIYoto4ZkA

Edit: In principle an ereader should be just a tablet with eink screen. Tablets are pretty awesome. Just slap an eink screen on tablet hardware and all that is required from the opsys is to turn off animations. Does not sound technically complicated, but somehow nobody is doing it.
  • Last Edit: 2017-09-22, 20:48:25 by ersi

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #90
Tablets are pretty awesome.
Are they? Whenever I use one they feel pretty useless without something like a bluetooth keyboard and by that point you just have a very bad laptop. Those Microsoft Surface tablets look pretty sweet though.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #91
Tablets are pretty awesome.
Are they? Whenever I use one they feel pretty useless without something like a bluetooth keyboard and by that point you just have a very bad laptop. Those Microsoft Surface tablets look pretty sweet though.
Tablets are good for looking stuff up on the internet with a few clicks. Little good for anything else. Eink devices are nice to stare at at length, but would be nicer if they were as good as tablets. They definitely have the potential, just upgrade the hardware (and software) to tablet grade and it should be okay.

Remember once upon a time someone here talked about slapping an eink screen on a netbook or such. Somehow nobody has done this a regular business, even though the idea should be completely obvious.
  • Last Edit: 2017-09-26, 12:33:47 by ersi

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #92
Kobo Aura One comes with 7.8" screen 1872 x 1404 pixels and is waterproof. It has sold so well that it has made even Amazon Kindle turn its head. Now we have the first Kindle with a bigger than 6" screen.

By the name of it, it's an updated Kindle Oasis - the lopsided shape with buttons that came out last year and flopped due to high price, bad battery, and no extra value. The new Oasis has extra value, most importantly the bigger screen (something unheard of in a Kindle until now), waterproofness, and large storage (8GB or 32GB - no microSD slot)



Meanwhile, Tolino also released a new waterproof device with a bigger screen, exactly the same screen as Kobo Aura One.

I hope not everybody begins aping Kobo now. I, for one, most definitely need that microSD slot.

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #93
Quote
Ragged Right Alignment: You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text.
How was this not a setting?

Meanwhile, Tolino also released a new waterproof device with a bigger screen, exactly the same screen as Kobo Aura One.
Considering Tolino was acquired by Kobo earlier this year.

Btw, "This product is not available in your country." Apparently I'm only allowed to get the Tolino Vison 2 and the Tolino Shine 2 HD.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #94

Btw, "This product is not available in your country." Apparently I'm only allowed to get the Tolino Vison 2 and the Tolino Shine 2 HD.
Only if you attempt to buy direct from Tolino. There are other re-sellers.

Thanks for notifying that Tolino has been acquired by Kobo. This makes Tolino completely uninteresting.

  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #95
I forgot to type the second part of that introductory sentence though. :P Of course that should've read that considering Kobo took over the technology part of Tolino (meaning they provide the hardware if I understand correctly, possibly software too?),[1] it wouldn't surprise me if it were effectively a different hardware revision of the Kobo Aura One.

This review seems to support that:
Underneath the hood is a Freescale i.MX6 1GHZ processor, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. You will get around three weeks of usage via the 1200 mAh battery.

It sounds pretty much exactly the same, even the battery.

  • ersi
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Re: E-readers
Reply #96
Wow. Now you can say Onyx has set a new standard: Onyx Boox Max2 13.3" e-reader+monitor with Android 6.



  • Frenzie
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Re: E-readers
Reply #97
On the spec sheet in your video I notice "HDMI". Does that mean HDMI out or HDMI in?

Edit: OMG it's in. https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/15/hands-new-android-6-0-onyx-boox-max2-canvas-note-ereaders-video/

https://youtu.be/TtYHWEh7ERk?t=30s

(Of course you could already hackishly use these devices as monitors with VNC and stuff like that, but meh.)

I wonder what price range this'll be in.