The Sony Librie  APR 28 2005

I spent the afternoon at the half-day session that GEL has added this year (it was formerly just a one-day conference). There were twelve different sessions described as "hands-on experiences" to choose from and I attended the gadgets session with Dan Dubno, who is a self-described lunatic when it comes to gadgets and technology products. I'm not much for gadgets, especially new ones...I'm a fairly late adopter among my tech-savvy friends. But some of the stuff I saw today...wow. Aside from the thinnest touch-screen tablet PC I've ever seen, the thing that blew me away was the Sony Librie, the first commerically available electronic ink e-book reader. Here's a photo I took:

Sony Librie

What you can't see from the photo is how insanely crisp and clear the text on the "screen" is. It was book-text quality...it looked like a decal until you pushed the next button and the whole screen changed. It was *really* mind-boggling and you could instantly see how most books are going to be distributed in the very near future. Despite looking like a computer, when you were reading, it felt like a book because of the resolution (a very odd sensation). And it's not only for books...I was told that there's e-paper that's capable of full-color 24 fps video. Can't say enough about how blown away I was by the Librie. (Now for the bad: 10MB storage capacity, uses Sony's Memory Sticks for more storage, and the content self-destructs after 60 days. If Sony opened this up and used normal flash memory like everyone else, this thing would be huge. Enormous. It's a TV, video player, book, magazine, gaming platform, and hybrids of all of the above. Instead, they'll probably keep it closed and someone else will capitalize on it.)

Anyway, if you can handle navigating the Japanese menus, you can get one from Dynamism for $600 (which I would totally do if I still had my old job).

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