E Ink Doesn’t Matter

Sony’s getting plenty of good press out of their recently announced eBook device, which incorporates E Ink technology for displaying text. Text quality is slightly higher than a standard display screen at 170 pixels per inch, supposedly the equivalent to a printed newspaper. The text seems clear enough to read, but so does Microsoft’s ClearType technology, which works on Pocket PC devices designed to do much more than read books.
With Pocket PC resolutions now hitting 640×480 and Palm devices commonly presenting screen images at 320×320, Sony is missing the boat with another stand alone device. I already carry a digital camera, a PDA, a cell phone, and sometimes a DV camera. Why would I want to add a separate book reading device to my list of gadgets? If I wanted a bigger portable screen, I’d invest in a Tablet PC.
This isn’t even a new concept. Franklin sold a special eBook Palm device recently and the Glass Book Reader made an attempt at being the official device for digital publishing. Where are these devices now? Relegated to the bargain bins of a Computer Renaissance most likely. The Sony is obviously better quality, but it isn’t revolutionary.
And the plan is to use AAA batteries? What are they thinking? Anything not shipping with rechargeable batteries just doesn’t make sense.