Pixel Qi demonstrates hybrid reflective/backlit display

While Pixel Qi on their website explicitly states that their displays are not based on eInk technology and that they are not affiliated with eInk Corporation this piece of news is highly related to eInk, because potentially we may have a eInk competitor here.

Pixel Qi Hybrid Display

Pixel Qi Hybrid Display

It is a display which according to Pixel Qi is extremely cheap to build from standard LCD display components and in fact it is for the most part an LCD display. With one exception – it can be switched to reflective mode. In this mode it consumes much less power than ordinary LCD display would and becomes monochrome but it can potentially display 3x as many pixels.

According to Pixel Qi consumers will see these displays in notebooks and netbooks by the end of 2009 and in “other devices” sometime in 2010. It looks like it’s easy to integrate this technology into existing designs since according to nerdword, Pixel Qi engineers rigged couple of retail-purchased laptops with their new display with seemingly little effort.

While this technology is mainly geared towards netbooks, notebooks and cellphones to make them usable in the sunlight (another interesting piece of news being Pixel Qi planning to supply displays for $75 laptops), it’s quite possible that much cheaper products price along with acceptable power consumption (though still much higher than eInk which is based on electrophoretic technology) and ongoing developments in battery technology may produce eBook reader that will run for several days on one charge, be usable in sunlight and cost less than Amazon Kindle.

Douglas Adams, Good Kindle Books at a Glance #10

Douglas Noel Adams is best known for the science fiction comedy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Originally radio broadcast series, they later inspired “a trilogy in five parts” as well as TV series, a movie and stage productions. Some of these are available in Kindle edition.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first book of the “trilogy”. Published in 1979,  it was soon number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list, and in five years its 1,000,000th copy was sold. The novel is written in the form of an encyclopedia that helps Arthur Dent and his alien friend, Ford Prefect, in their travel through the universe. “Required reading for science fiction fans, this book (and its follow-ups) is also sure to please fans of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and British sitcoms.”

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe was published in 1980 as the second book of the series. It continues the funny adventures of  Arthur, Ford and their strange pal Zaphod Beeblebrox in entertaining and unusual style. Adams himself thought this novel to be the best of the five.

Unlike the previous two books, Life, the Universe and Everything was not  adapted from radio series, but was originally written as a novel.  In the US edition the book was censored, you can find the differences here. “Join Arthur Dent, earthling, “jerk”, kneebiter and time-traveler; sexy space cadet Trillian; mad alien Ford Prefect; unflappable Slartibartfast; two-headed, three-armed ex-head Honcho of the Universe Zaphod Beeblebrox… and learn to fly.”

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (published in 1984) is the fourth book in the series; the title has since become a humorous “goodbye phrase” among science fiction fans. Arthur returns to the Earth that has been replaced by Dolphins in the “Save the Humans” campaign, and falls in love with a girl named Frenchurch. “Was the earth really demolished? Why did all the dolphins disappear? What is God’s final message to His creatures? Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and the new voivoid gang are off (by commercial airline) on a wacked-out quest to answer these truly unimportant questions.” While the previous novels showed Adams’ rather negative attitude towards computers, he definitely changed his mind at the time of writing this one, which is reflected in the plot. By the way, he claimed to have bought two of the first three Macintosh available in the UK.

Mostly Harmless (published in 1992) is “The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy”, as it reads on the cover.  The plot of the previous books continues to evolve, with Infinidim Enterprises trying to destroy Earth in every possible dimension.

Douglas Adams on Kindle

Douglas Adams on Kindle

Sprint Earnings Per Kindle User – Kindle Economics #1.1

According to nielsen wire, average Kindle user earns Sprint $2/month. Given 12 cents/MB price this yeilds 16.6MB on average downloaded by Kindle user per month. This includes book purchases, periodicals, blogs and web-browsing. It’s hard to speculate as to how much each of these activities contributes to the total number… My guess would be that web-browsing and blogs are negligeble at this point. As to books vs. periodicals, I’d guess that average Kindle user subscribes to 1 periodical and the rest are book purchases.

Another thing to consider are software updates. In little over 3 months since Kindle 2 was released there were 3 software updates totaling 12 megabytes in size. Cost to Amazon – $1.44. This is 24% of $6 wireless charges for this time period. Each update contains several packages – one for each previous version of the software. This makes it possible for users to skip updates and jump from version 2.0 to 2.0.3 directly, but it also bloats future updates. If these numbers are right updates will become a serious problem for Amazon in the future. We’ll see…

Kindle DX Release Date Contest


Amazon Kindle DX Leather Cover

Amazon Kindle DX Leather Cover

I’ve decided to have another date guessing contest here on BlogKindle.com. This time it’s about guessing the release date of Amazon Kindle DX.

The rules are quite simple: pick a date and send an email to [email protected] with the date in the subject line in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY. So 4th of July 2009 would correspond to 07/04/2009. Please be careful about the date format as I use automated means for selecting winners. This means that if you get the date right but write it wrong you can not win.

I’ll randomly choose a winner from all the people who correctly guess Kindle DX release date or among those who guess the closest.

Rather than setting a specific deadline for submissions I’ll set the following rule: winners will only be chosen from entries submitted at least 7 days before the date is officially announced. When is it going to happen? I don’t know :) But I believe it’s more fun this way. So technically it’s possible that the date would be announced 5 minutes after this post gets published and no entries would be eligible. Oh, well…

The prize would be Amazon Kindle DX Leather Cover that would go nicely with your Amazon Kindle DX once it’s released.

I’ll never use your email addresses for any other purpose than contacting the winner. People who participated in the previous contest can testify to that being true – except for the lucky winner, none ever heard from me.

If you like the idea of this contest you can help by letting other people know about it and this blog.

Plastic Logic eReader Update From All Things D

Yesterday Plastic Logic demoed their upcoming eReader on All Things D conference.

Here’s a summary of features that were announced so far:

  • OS: Windows CE
  • PC OS Supported: Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS
  • Size: 8.5″ x 11″ x 0.25″
  • Weight: less than 16 oz
  • Screen Size: ~10″ touchscreen active eInk
  • Connectivity: USB, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: “days, not hours”
  • Formats supported: PDF, DOC(X), XLS(X), PPT(X), TEXT, RTF, HTML, JPEG, PNG, BMP, ePub, eReader Format
  • DRM: undisclosed at the moment
  • Release date: 2010 Q1
  • Price: undisclosed at the moment

Some highlights from the video:

  • Device is geared towards business users rather than eBook readers.
  • Documents are organized into folders called binders.
  • Documents can be scribbled on, annotated and highlighted using touch screen. Nice feature is partial screen refresh.

Verdict: at the moment prospects of this device seem mediocre at best. There are no strong indicators that would show it will be successful as eBook reader. Mainly because nothing is yet known about book store which was crucial to Kindle’s success. As for business documents while this device is good for reading and annotating, I doubt that it will provide good experience for editing and creating new documents. This would be important for business users. While battery life that is “days, not hours” is important for business people on the go, there are notebooks available today that can go 6-8 hours on a single charge and run full-featured version of Microsoft Office. 6-8 hours is more than enough for most users. By the time Plastic Logic will release their product battery technology would have improved and this advantage would diminish even more.

Plastic Logic eReader

Plastic Logic eReader

Overall it seems that many companies were inspired by success of Kindle and Sony eReader and decided to jump into what seems to be a promising market. But you can’t expect to succeed just because market is great and growing fast and you offer something that’s different from competitors.

Herbert George Wells, Good Kindle Books at a Glance #9

Herbert George Wells, better known as H.G.Wells, is by right referred as “The Father of Science Fiction”, as he has greatly influenced much literature after him, especially popularizing such conceptions as “time travel” and “alien invasion”. Here are some books that are available on Amazon Kindle

The Time Machine, now a classic of science fiction genre, was first serialized in the New Review from 1894 to 1895. It brings up the idea that time is a fourth space dimension, and thus people and things can travel back and forth in a proper device, the “time machine”. The time traveler is brought 800,000 years into the future, to witness the sad evolution of humans. “In enduring, electrifying detail, he[H.G.Wells] takes us to dimensions of time and space that have haunted our dreams for centuries — and shows us ourselves as we really are.”

The Island of Doctor Moreau is another bestseller by H.G.Wells; it was written in 1896 when the issue of animal vivisection led to fiery debates in English society, and has inspired three movie adaptations since then. “A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then “beastly” in ways they never were before–it’s the stuff of high adventure.”

The War of the Worlds, a classic alien invasion fiction, was first published as a serial in Pearson’s Magazine in 1897 and was a quick success among both critics and fans. The novel is written as a journalistic report of the Martians’ attack on Earth, so readers can imagine they are reading a newspaper with the summary of dreadful events that took place in Victorian England. “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own…”

H.G. Wells On Kindle

H.G. Wells On Kindle

See Your Notes and Highlights Online



If you’ve made notes or highlights in your Kindle books, you can now see them online at http://kindle.amazon.com/

At the moment the service if quite limited. You can see your notes and highlights but can’t edit or share or even email them as I’ve hoped but this is definitely step in the right direction and I hope more will follow…

This was one of the issues I’ve submitted feedback to Amazon in the past and it looks like I wasn’t the only one. So now I’m going to take some time to write them once more and thank them for this feature and hopefully it’ll get more traction… I encourage you to do the same.

Twitter On Kindle

Since everyone is tweeting nowadays, I’ve decided to check how well does this service work in Kindle‘s Basic Web Browser. It turns out to be quite usable. I’ve created a profile using my PC and opened http://twitter.com on Kindle. Both mobile and full versions render correctly in both basic and advanced modes. Advanced mode feels sluggish. However as you can see it’s entirely possible to tweet from Kindle on the go. For faster updates I would recommend using http://m.twitter.com/ with Basic Mode.

Twitter On Kindle

Twitter On Kindle

Although I’ve created the account – don’t expect me to tweet much. I’d rather spend my time blogging here.