E-readers are a funny old bread, the pushmepullyou of the tech world. The Kindle 2 was hailed as the breakthrough – the saviour, the e-reader to get everyone e-reading.
But after getting to grips with one (and a DX) myself I found it e-lacking: Its electric-ink screen’s resolution is miserable, and its physical buttons seem, at best, clunky. It wasn’t as nice an experience as reading a paper book or a newspaper, and with no plans to release it in the UK anytime soon, the Kindle looks more like a false profit than the Messiah.
The Plastic Logic e-reader, which surfaced again at D Conference this week, looks like a big step in the right direction – toward genuine acceptance for the e-reader. Controlled using a touchscreen, the PL Reader is big enough to allow for the reproduction of whole newspaper pages as opposed to the linear appearance of news on the Kindle 2, which to me, still seems like a weird way to read a newspaper.
It’s creators, Plastic Logic, say its aimed at the business market, which has lead some to suggest it’ll have limited appeal and won’t replace the Kindle. May I remind them the Blackberry was aimed at the business market and now every errant 12-year-old cousin I have has one. And sadly, that is the true measure of success.
It’s on-screen keyboard might be harder to use than Amazon’s QWERTY but you can use a stylus to write on it (and apparently do crosswords – which is oddly exciting), and it’s design is certainly more appealing than the Kindle’s button mince. It’s got WiFi and 3G so connectivity isn’t an issue and with support for Office, PDF, Pages and a host of other files, the Plastic Logic e-reader may be a genuine contender.
As long as they can reign in their price-tag which might well be over £400.