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Electronic paper ‘PDA’ debuts

Those first faltering steps of any new technology are often the ones left unseen. And those that strike out first aren’t always the ones left running when the race is several years old. For me, the market for electronic paper is enormous. Thing is, we just don’t know it yet.

And the topic of electronic paper is something I’ve rambled on about before now, so if you’ve got the time and the appetite for a long read, then do so after you’ve read this little lot.

“Billed as a PDA, electronic book and music player the Readius device has onboard a flexible LED screen that unrolls to 12.7cm (5in) across … the monochrome screen on the first Readius can only display up to 16 shades of gray,…”

While the Readius electronic book can claim to be something of a trailblazer, I think they’re over reaching on the PDA claim, and it’s a claim that they might want to distance themselves from once someone dignifies the claim by way of a comparison.

Bullish sales speak aside, there’s no discounting what they’ve achieved and brought to market.

It’s the kind of thing that’s going to attract the gadget fiends out there who are endlessly curious of anything nascent and cutting edge:

“Although unable to make phone calls the Readius uses several wireless technologies, including wi-fi and 3G, to allow data to be shipped in and out.

The device has 4GB of memory, a mini-USB port and is expected to last 10 days between battery charges.”

So what the Readius electronic book lacks in on-screen oomph, it more than makes up for in connectivity options, if somewhat hobbled by the lack of phone functionality.

But this has the hallmarks of an entirely new class of mobile device, so I’m sure we can find it among ourselves to forgive them.

It’s also likely to attract the attention of some of the more senior players in the field who might fancy their chances of making a much better fist of things.

Or, they might just go and buy Readius out and be done with it!

What with the Sony Reader occupying a similar space, and Xerox seemingly closer to adding in motion and colour to their electronic paper product, we might see some movement in the next few months.

For now, innovative touch screen technology like that previewed by Apple with their iPhone product is a good enough intermediary way point while the stage is set for the drama of electronic paper to unfold…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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