Home' InDaily : January 15th 2010 Contents January 15 - 21, 2010
The Independent Weekly
Atorrent of portable devices for
reading e-books, newspapers
and magazines was unleashed
recently, with some models adding
colour screens and even computers
running Windows 7 and Google s
The noise surrounding e-book
reader devices at the 2010 Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas was
deafening, helped no doubt by the
fact that Apple is widely expected
to debut a tablet e-reader device on
Many believe Apple will bring
digital book reading to the main-
stream, but competitors, including
Microsoft and Amazon, are not
going to simply let the iPod maker
take over the market like it did with
Shawn DuBravac, director
of research at CES organiser
Consumer Electronics Association,
said he expected sales of e-book
readers to double again this year
after doubling last year.
E-readers, along with a dazzling
array of 3D technology that is
being showcased in eye-catching
displays such as Intel s Infoscape
multimedia panel, were among the
big themes of this year s show.
Amazon, which last year
launched a 6-inch wireless Kindle
e-book reader in Australia,
announced it would begin selling
a new model featuring a 9.7-inch
electronic ink display.
The device can be used to read
magazines and access more than
400,000 books, including novels,
textbooks and travel guides.
Amazon is taking pre-orders on the
new Kindle, which begins shipping
on January 19 and costs $US489.
At CES, an entire section was
devoted to e-readers, many of which
ran full operating systems and
could function like a computer.
Samsung unveiled two
touchscreen e-book readers at CES,
both of which are wireless, double
as notepads and include built-in
MP3 players. They have 6" and 10"
screens, and users are able to add
notes and drawings to their reading
material using a stylus.
The devices, which cost $US399
($A428) and $US699 ($A751), respec-
tively, can also read out passages
but unlike the Kindle, Samsung s
offerings cannot download books
over 3G networks -- only WiFi.
Google has signed up to provide
the Samsung devices with more
than a million free public domain
Sony showed several new
versions of its touch-screen Reader
device, including the US-only Daily
Edition, which can wirelessly
receive The Wall Street Journal and
the New York Post.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
focused part of his keynote speech
on displaying new colour "slate"
e-readers for Windows 7 from
brands including HP and Archos.
He said the tablet devices were
"almost as portable as a phone
and as powerful as a PC running
But Microsoft did not speak
about its rumoured Courier tablet
device, which many, including The
New York Times, reported would be
announced during the keynote.
Microsoft has been trying to push
tablet computers for a decade, but
only now, with Windows 7 and its
multi-touch support, is the platform
seen as viable.
Reports on Courier prototypes
suggested it would be revolutionary
and include two touch screens that
face each other in a book format.
A smaller company called
Entourage Systems managed to
beat Microsoft to the punch on the
twin-screen design, unveiling its
Edge e-book reader at CES.
The $US490 ($A526) Edge has
two screens -- 9.7" and 10.1" -- folded
together like a book and is, in fact,
a netbook/e-reader combo, running
Google s Android operating system.
Notes can be added with a stylus
and specific sections of text can be
saved or searched using a Google
toolbar on the right screen. The
bulky device can also browse the
internet, play video and run on both
WiFi and 3G networks.
Taiwanese computer maker
MSI also displayed an e-reader/
computer combo device but its
version had two 10-inch screens and
ran Windows 7.
Spring Design unveiled a $US399
($A428) dual display e-reader with
Named Alex, it runs Google s
Android operating system and
features books from Borders.
A 6.5" e-ink screen for reading
sits above a 3.5" colour LCD that
can be used for browsing the web,
viewing notes or displaying images
Liquavista, a company spun
out of Philips Research Labs, and
Fujitsu, showed off e-readers
that can display e-books and
magazines in full colour, but the
Liquavista model was a prototype
and Fujitsu s is only sold in Japan
Plastic Logic revealed its thin
Que e-reader, which does not
have any buttons and is operated
completely by a touch screen that
Asher Moses travelled to Las Vegas
as a guest of Samsung.
be divided over
the merits of
as Asher Moses
writes, there's no
Only the beginning
The early e-readers will quickly be superseded with a flood of new devices. Photo: Pat Scala
Books are big business
If the size of an author s advance
predicts popularity, this year s
most anticipated book is a political
fable about the Holocaust, starring
a taxidermist, a talking donkey and
Canadian writer Yann Martel
received a reported $US3 million
($A3.3 million) for Beatrice and
Virgil, out in May, based on the
success of his previous novel, Life
of Pi, which sold almost 200,000
copies in Australia and more than 2
Just as exciting
is Bridge of Clay,
about a young man s
search for perfection,
by Sydney writer
Zusak s 2005 novel,
The Book Thief, has
sold more than three
million copies in 30
as Stephenie Meyer s vampire
romances and Dan Brown s
conspiracy thrillers, literary
writers are likely to shine this
Former bestsellers Jonathan
Franzen, Lionel Shriver and
John le Carre have new novels.
Martin Amis work of 10 years,
The Pregnant Widow is already
drawing mixed reviews, while
Ian McEwan s global warming
novel, Solar, is keenly awaited.
Top cookbook is set to be Our
Family Table by MasterChef
winner Julie Goodwin.
Political books will keep coming,
including an autobiography from
Kevin Rudd has a children s
book out this month. Jasper and
Abbey and the Great Australia Day
Kerfuffle, penned in collaboration
with actor Rhys Muldoon, tells the
story of the Prime Minister s dog
and cat as they take an adventure
through the grounds of The Lodge.
Mr Rudd s daughter, Jessica,
also has a first novel -- about a
young woman working on a federal
-- Sarah Wyndham Markus Zusak's new book is eagerly
Looking forward to a literary year
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