Samsung E-Books Let You Read And Write: Remember the Apple Newton?

I have an Apple Newton in the basement from circa 1995.  Glad to see that Samsung et. al. are catching-up. Except that my Newton did not need a QWERTY pad.  Newton was an example of a great platform with no application (at the time) which means no market demand.  To put it in perspective, at the time I was using Mosiac to surf the web via my dial-up account.  Netscape was just gaining traction and AOL was king of the hill.  Lucky people lived close enough to a central office to get DSL.  ISDN cost a fortune.  After writing this, I have an intense desire to put on some REM or INXS.

Samsung E-Books Let You Read And Write

By Charlie Sorrel Email Author | January 7, 2010 |9:18 pm

LAS VEGAS — Everybody is showing off new e-readers at CES this year, and Samsung is no exception. But there is one reason for you to keep reading this post. With Samsung’s e-book, you can write on the pages.

We knew e-books would be a hot item at this year’s show, but the surprise is that there are so many large format readers. Samsung’s small range tops out with a 10-incher, which joins the Kindle DX in its new international clothing, and Plastic Logic’s enormous 8.5 x 11-inch Que proReader.

Samsung’s e-books, the E6 and E101, look just like any other black and white e-ink device. When you’re done reading either of the 6 or 10 inch books, though, you can pull out a stylus and start scrawling. These sticks come in various thicknesses and use “electromagnetic resonance” to draw lines on the page.

The smaller readers also have secret, slide-out controls hidden behind the screen, and an on-screen, soft QWERTY lets you type real text — your stylus scribblings remain just that, and are not automagically transformed into actual text. Still, its a lot easier to jot notes on top of your pages than to do it the Kindle way and tortuously tap out text on the chiclet keyboard.

The readers grab content over Wi-Fi (no 3G) and can display PDF, ePub and plain text files. I played with them briefly at Samsung’s stand (“No pictures, sir. It’s our policy this year.”) and took some pictures. The e-ink screen is much the same as any other, but when using the stylus to navigate, the local refreshing that draws menus is cleaner (but no quicker) than, say, the Kindle.

The navigation itself is clunky, and you never know whether you should be pressing an actual button, touching the stylus to the screen or using a finger (hint — fingers don’t work). Drawing, though, is responsive, and just like using a real pencil.

The e-readers need some work, and feel like the prototypes they are. Hopefully there will be some additional polish before these go to market, otherwise it will be yet another rushed product hoping to grab some sales from the flawed leader, the Kindle. Also, a quick question to the visitor at the Samsung stand who asked “Just what is the main difference between this and the iPod Touch?”: Are you serious?

$400 or $700, depending on size. And don’t say “Magna-doodle”. The pictured prototype with a hardware keyboard does not yet have a price.

via Samsung E-Books Let You Read And Write | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

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