ARE WE THERE YET?
As an enthusiastic early adopter of the electronic reading devices like the Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader, I found this New York Times article on these devices extending to newspapers to be of interest. It starts off discussing a topic that's long been on the wish-lists of geeks everywhere. The device is pictured on the left, with the Sony and Amazon devices in the middle and on the right:
"The electronic newspaper, a large portable screen that is constantly updated with the latest news, has been a prop in science fiction for ages. It also figures in the dreams of newspaper publishers struggling with rising production and delivery costs, lower circulation and decreased ad revenue from their paper product.
While the dream device remains on the drawing board, Plastic Logic will introduce publicly on Monday its version of an electronic newspaper reader: a lightweight plastic screen that mimics the look — but not the feel — of a printed newspaper.
The device, which is unnamed, uses the same technology as the Sony eReader and Amazon.com’s Kindle, a highly legible black-and-white display developed by the E Ink Corporation. While both of those devices are intended primarily as book readers, Plastic Logic’s device, which will be shown at an emerging technology trade show in San Diego, has a screen more than twice as large. The size of a piece of copier paper, it can be continually updated via a wireless link, and can store and display hundreds of pages of newspapers, books and documents."
This device won't be ready for sale until early next year.
The piece then goes on to provide a time-line on how current technology may evolve:
"The ideal format, a flexible display that could be rolled or folded like a newspaper, is still years off, says E Ink. But it foresees color displays with moving images and interactive clickable advertising coming in only a few more years, according to Sriram K. Peruvemba, vice president for marketing for E Ink.
E Ink expects that within the next few years it will be able to create technology that allows users to write on the screen and view videos. At a recent demonstration at E Ink’s headquarters here, the company showed prototypes of flexible displays that can create rudimentary colors and animated images. “By 2010, we will have a production version of a display that offers newspaperlike color,” Mr. Peruvemba said."
The article goes on to describe issues beyond the technology that'll make and break the mainstream adoption of the devices, primarily the business models that need to be win-win for all the constituents involved. At this point, it may be realistic to say that we may be well into the early adopter phase of this trend in half a decade. Not that far away in the big scheme of things.