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Conversations interrupted

A good weekend last weekend - up to Staffs for Oatley minor's naming, with an overnight stay in Leamington (at the Angel Hotel) en route. Some follow-on notes from conversations:

For ngma: the best source for non-pink girl's clothes (and non-blue boy's clothes) that we've found is Vertbaudet. French, as you might expect from the name.

For ruthj and jow_n_chris, the iPhone/iPod Touch ebook app was Stanza. The iPod Touch and the Sony PRS-505 are comparable in price: £165/£214/£283 for 8Gb/16Gb/32Gb iPod Touch vs. £199 for the PRS-505 (256Mb internal, expandable via SD cards). Battery life on the PRS-505 is excellent (Sony claim 6000+ page turns, which I suspect is optimistic), whereas the iPod lasts about a day of solid reading. On the other hand, the iPod does more than read ebooks. Both support EPUB format ebooks (which is what Waterstones sell), although the implementation on the PRS-505 isn't great (for example, only a partial implementation of CSS2, significantly below that required by the OPS component of the EPUB spec). Sony's support for the PRS-505 isn't great; there has been one firmware update to date in the US which introduced EPUB support (the UK version has always had support for EPUB).

A summary:

PRS-505iPod Touch/iPhone + Stanza
Price£199£165 (8Gb)
£214 (16Gb)
£283 (32Gb)
Battery life6000+ page turns (over a week in standby)~1 day
Display6" diagonal
3 bit grayscale eInk
3.5" diagonal
colour LCD
Daylight visibilityExcellentGood
Night visibilityNone (no backlight)Good
Page turn speed~0.5sInstant
Prerender speed10-15s2-3s
Internal Memory256Mb8Gb/16Gb/32Gb
Additional MemorySD cardNone
ePub supportPartialGood
MP3 playbackYes (but hampered by limited memory and poor battery life)Yes
User InterfacePhysical buttons (PRS-700 has touch screen)Multitouch screen
Aspect switchYes (but hampered by physical UI)Yes (via accelerometer)
EBook UploadSony software (Windows only)
Calibre (multiplatform)
Stanza desktop (Mac only)
Calibre (multiplatform)
Download over wifi
Application supportNoYes
Software updateInfrequentFrequent

My feeling is that the iPod Touch has the edge in terms of usability and readability (the page turn speed on the PRS-505 is still a limitation), although the PRS-505's display is very legible. Having used both for at least a couple of weeks, I'd recommend the iPod Touch/iPhone + Stanza more strongly.

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(Deleted comment)
Yes, the charge time is remarkably short. I'm very happy with it.

Thanks ever so much for showing me the iPod Touch and the PRS and for the above table. This is really, really helpful.

I'm about to get an iPhone so will play with Stanza rather than getting a dedicated ebook reader device at this point I think.


the elonex claims 8k page turns battery and the battery didn't shift in 3 hours of reading and reading on an e-ink screen is less tiring for hours at a time - but at this point of immaturity in the market, I don't think going for a closed ereader platform is a good move, and I just can't stand the flush to black on page turn with e-ink.

Although the Apple Tablet is still just a rumour, it's a very widely-spread rumour, and may be out within the next 6 months.

Something netbook sized that will run all the iPod/iPhone apps, might make a great ebook reader, and may be worth waiting for.

Yes, 10" screen if the rumours are to be believed. Probably not a netbook per se - and certainly not one running OS X.

Indeed :) Could be interesting, if the price is pitched right :)

I wonder how wedded Apple will be to OS X if an avalanche of Android tablets follows. Given how they were ahead on the desktop in the 80's but lost out to Windows will the same happen to the iPhone in the years ahead?

Edited at 2009-07-28 03:03 pm (UTC)

Yup, thanks for bringing then with you the weekend. Was good to see them up close and compare them side by side. The comaprison table above is great, really helpful :) I think at this point I'm going towards a iPod Touch as it does so much more. The Sony reader is lovely, just limited at this point.

Now the question is get an iPod Touch or wait it out for a Tablet... it's all good fun :)

I might have another go at "reaching out" to ebook reader manufacturers.

EPrints would make such as amazing research/business partner. Think podcasting for papers.

We could save a butloading of printing etc. in Universities. Academic staff are are rare breed who need to read for a living and could get the fucking things as work items. But noooo..... nobody ever returns my bloody emails. Sony etc. can just fuck off at this stage.

And Amazons orwellian antics, sheesh.

Where ebook manufacturers is a list containing Sony and Amazon only. iRex are a bit player (and their big tablet still doesn't do A4 well without zooming).

There's probably a niche for an eprints extension to the iPhone Papers app.

I think I will hang on for the Plastic Logic Ereader, I have had a prototype in my hand and it feels good :)

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