The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

iRex ebook reader – coming real soon, we promise!

Posted by Deliverator on March 19th, 2006

iRex iLiad

I just read on engadget that it looks like the iRex iLiad ebook reader device is actually going to make it to market. It will be going on sale next month with an expected price somewhere between $300 and $400 (which probably means $399.99). The iLiad is, in my mind, the first real stab at a general purpose ebook reader device since the Gemstar Rocketbook (now available through eBookwise). Sony has been selling an ebook reader in Japan for a number of years called the Librie, but its strange control layout and crippling DRM makes it a non-viable option, imo. Sony is also planning on releasing an ebook reader for the US market, but I am not much interested in purchasing Sony products any longer. The Sony rootkit debacle left a very bad taste in my mouth and until I see some signs of real contrition from Sony, I will not be purchasing any Sony branded products.

Anyways, back to the iLiad. Here are the reasons I think it will be a success:

-support for a large number of non-proprietary formats at launch
-very high resolution display
-20 hour battery life
-high contrast eink display, which is readable in direct sunlight
-touchscreen
-wide variety of connectivity & storage options

Some fairly detailed specs of the iLiad have been released, but I still have a few concerns.

-The iLiad appears to be a totally flat tablet, without any consideration of the ergonomics of actually having to hold the device for hours on end. The gemstar line included a curved , rubber molded grip so that the reader could be held comfortably with one hand for hours on end.
-no indication of dedicated page up and down buttons. Ideally, the device should be able to be held in one hand with controls for basic functions such as flipping the page accessible without having to use one’s other hand or having to reposition the device.
-Uses rechargeable batteries. Lets face it, batteries technology just plain sucks and trying to find a replacement battery years down the line for a gadget that is no longer sold comes close to my vision of the ninth circle of hell. I cannot recall the number of battery packs that I’ve had to rebuild over the years. I would much rather see a device like this come with NIMH rechargeables in a standard size.

Unless this device receives some very bad feedback, I will almost certainly be purchasing one. You should be able to order your very own iLiad next month through iRex’s online store.