Kindle Killer stalks eBook market

plasticlogicpreviewselectronicreadingdevice-300x199Jon blogged about the Sony eBook Reader yesterday, which arrived in the office on a bed of rose petals and angel feathers, carried aloft by chanting Seraphim bedecked all in white. Or by grubby postal courier, one or the other, I wasn’t here to check.

Kindle Killer stalks eBook market

 Well I’ve finally managed to wrench it from his cold dead hands after some surprisingly challenging gladitorial comabt and will be writing up a review in the next couple of days. But almost to the second I laid the killing blow on Jon, my wandering eye caught sight of a potential rival, the Plastic Logic reading device, and I’ll be honest I’m already worried for my lovely little Sony.

 It’s worth checking out the video here, as Plastic Logic’s effort really is worth seeing, and if it lives up to its early promise we could already be looking at a Kindle Killer, too. The Plastic Logic reader is 7mm thin and the same size as an 8.5 x 11in piece of paper, almost all of which is dedicated to the display. A touchscreen swipe moves pages and allows you to mark up documents, underline paragraphs, ring important words or just add thick fingered comment. There’s also a touchscreen keyboard reminiscent of that on the iPhone, allowing you to type in docs and add notes.

In the demo the Plastic Logic chief exec spins us through an eBook page, a magazine cover, a peice of sheet music and a couple of Power Point slides, all beautifully rendered and far more impressive for the additional screen real estate available.

The range of support really is startling, with Office docs, Powerpoint slides, PDFs, text files and other eBook formats all accomodated and transferable over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, seance, prayer and general wafting near the device. All of this lovliness comes courtesy of its flexible plastic technology, which allows the sheets to bend and flex, hopefully making them far more robust than current readers. A durability the company rather bizarrely demonstrates by beating a laptop to death with a shoe, and then repeating the experiment on its reader, which turns out to be surprisingly shoe resistant – though there’s always the possibility that the shoe was tired after its initial epic battle with the laptop and so wasn’t giving it’s all against the reader. We wouldn’t want to rule that out.

The fact that he used a laptop in the demo also shouldn’t be overlooked. Throughout the exec seems to be positioning the device not against other readers but laptops. He compares its battery life, screen and weight against the MacBook Air, which could suggest a potential price point – or that he simply envisions a greater world of applications for his device than are traditionally associated with eBook readers.

There’s no price or release date yet, but I’ll be hassling Zombie Jon (resurrected through the magic of Voodoo) to get one in my sweaty palms at the earliest possible convenience, but in the meantime I will sate my longing by writing adoring poetry and reading it on the lovely Sony.


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