Handheld E-Book Reading
By Donna Loyle, Editor
They're getting smaller, smarter and cheaper—all at the same time. In the last year or two, numerous handheld e-book reading devices have hit the market. Innovative features include audio capabilities; built-in dictionaries; revolutionary easy-on-the-eyes type; backlit LCD screens; highlighting ability; direct Internet connections; and much more. While this article does not cover all of the e-book readers available (for example, many e-titles can be read on Palm PDAs, which are not marketed as e-book reading units), the information below offers a quick roundup of some of the latest and coolest devices recently introduced.
The new RCA-brand Gemstar e-book, REB1100 (successor to the Rocket eBook) is lightweight and includes a built-in 28K modem that enables consum-ers to download titles via regular phone lines, directly into the handheld reader; a PC isn't needed. The REB-1100's reading screen is about the size of a standard paperback book, is high-resolution and back-lit for easy viewing. Special features include touch-screen technology; built-in Webster's dictionary; stylus to underline passages and add notes; bookmark pages; and variable font size. The eBook Catalog Service comes with the device, and is updated regularly after the REB1100 is registered. Con-sumers can order new titles only from the catalog. Specifications:
Weight: 18 oz.
Display: 5.5-inch monochrome LDC touch screen with 320x480 resolution and backlight
Memory: 8MB (enough for 8,000 text pages); expandable via Smart Media expansion port to 72MB (70,000 pages)
Battery: rechargeable, non-removable Lithium-ion (rated for 20 to 40 hours of continuous use from a single charge)
Suggested retail price: $299
Available from: major electronics retailers, such as Best Buy and Circuit City. For more info: www.thomson-multimedia.com
The new RCA-brand Gemstar e-book, REB1200 (successor to the Softbook reader), features a vivid color display and a built-in modem and Ethernet connection that allows consumers to digitally download titles, via standard analog phone lines, directly into the handheld reader—bypassing the need for a PC. To the hand, the device (includes a protective flip-open screen cover) feels like a hardcover book. Special features include a back-lit screen capable of displaying three-dimensional photos; stylus to underline passages and add notes; bookmark pages; and variable font size. It also features the eBook Catalog Service (see REB1100). Specifications: