Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2010 Issue

New Color E-Readers Announced - Do They Stand a Chance?

Primer

The Skytex Primer.


By Tom McKinney

Until Apple's iPad was released there were few, if any mobile devices (other than smartphones) that featured both a color screen and e-book reader software. Dedicated e-book readers have in the past all featured a black and white "e-ink" display, with some having smaller color screens used for navigation. The arguments for e-ink include easy readability in any environment, and better battery-efficiency. However, a black and white screen has strong limits on the sort of content it can display. It's why only devices dedicated to reading e-books use e-ink. Magazines would not even appear correctly on these readers as they make prominent use of color. Apple was the first to design a multi-function tablet, with one of those functions being an e-reader. Apple's contemporaries in the computing industry have taken note, though, and have already begun releasing competitors, like Dell's Streak. The Streak carries a pricetag of $549, though, so it's right up there with the iPad in terms of price. Apple has opened the door for other competitors to try to create cheaper alternatives, and they've begun to arrive.

Two recently announced E-Readers from relatively unknown players carry color displays, and pricetags of $200 or less. First up is a new device called the Primer. Due for release in October by Skytex, a developer of netbooks, tablet computers and other portable devices, it features a 7" color screen and costs $99. It includes 2GB of internal memory and is expandable up to 16GB using separately sold flash memory. For $99, you get a device that reads e-books, but also plays movies and music. There's no wi-fi or other wireless connection so Internet's out of the question. While the device is limited to multimedia consumption, and it lacks Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble's slick wireless downloading systems, it's hard to argue with a color-screen costing less than most e-ink E-Readers today.

What makes or breaks a device like the Primer is how easy the software of the reader is to use, and the selection of e-books available. The Primer has these formats listed as compatible: PDF, TXT, ePub, HTML, PRC, JPG, & PNG. These seem to be pretty standard when compared to the specs for Amazon's Kindle 3: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion. It is unclear currently where the Primer's main source for material will be. And I think unless a partnership is made with one of the major e-book sources, there's no chance this device succeeds as an e-book reader. Human readers want a selection that rivals what they can obtain traditionally. However, for $99, the Primer could easily be viewed as a very cheap multimedia platform for watching movies on the go.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
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  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Original Gemini 133P Trainer Assembly Five Part Electrical System & Attitude Maneuver ... US$ 60,000-90,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Rover Development. Collection of 11 vintage gelatin silver prints and 4 vintage NASA lithographs. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000.
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Orbiter I. The first image of the earth as seen from the moon. Gelatin silver print. August 23, 1966. US$ 2,500-3,500
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Apollo 11 Navigational Chart. Taken to Lunar surface mapping the start of the <br>first manned lunar descent. <br>US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> FFlown Apollo 11 Flight Plan Sheetmission Day One. Some of the first words and data values written by Neil Armstrong. US$ 18,000-25,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Apollo 12 - Alan Bean in the Ocean of Storms. Signed and inscribed by Bean. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000

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