In my pocket/mobile/portable computing post I suggested that mobile devices may be forced to exist only in niche markets. Here’s a great example of a niche market for portable computing – electronic reading devices. Specifically devices that do one thing and do it very well, and that’s replace a paper book with something digital. I have heard many great things about the Librie, Sony’s reading device that is available only in Japan, and it appears a North American counterpart is on the way:
The Sony Reader, a new text-reading device that lets you have the Bible or the entire works of Tolstoy on hand but carry around the physical equivalent of a paperback, will be sold at Borders bookstores. The high-resolution (SVGA 800×600) electronic-paper display screen supports BBeB Book, PDF and MP3 formats and can also display JPEG images.
The device measures 6.9 inches by 4.9 inches by 0.5 inches and weighs in at just more than half a pound. The Sony Reader takes Memory Sticks or SD flash memory cards to augment 64MB of internal memory, creating the potential to travel with hundreds of books.
I have never used one of these devices, but everything I have heard so far suggests that the screen is simply amazing. And the one drawback that would keep such a device from taking off appears to be taken care of too:
The Sony Reader also has “a seemingly limitless battery life equivalent of 7,500 pages turns,” according to a Stony statement. That’s because there is no rundown on the battery over time. Power is only consumed when a reader turns the page.
You can’t complain with battery life like that! The device should be available this summer for around $400.
Read: CNET News.com