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E-books are facing a fuzzy future

By Charles Cooper, ZDNet News; By Charles Cooper, Wednesday August 09 09:15 AM EDT0

E-books: An idea still ahead of its time.,5859,2613263,00.html

.... And even if it were available, what would really change? Is anybody really up for an all-nighter reading "Moby Dick" on a handheld? How about a laptop or desktop? I don't know about you, but slugging through the saga of Captain Ahab and the great white whale -- sitting bolt upright in front of a screen, paging through all that text, mouse click by mouse click -- isn't my idea of a wow evening. .....

What you need to make this happen is a lightweight, low-cost and durable tablet-size device that displays text that is close in quality to a book.

Microsoft is working on such a device. In fact, the company offered a sneak peek of a prototype to reporters at its Microsoft .Net briefing earlier this summer. But that project remains a work in progress,and the company remains far from releasing a commercial version of the product for delivery to the market.

A similar idea has been kicked around at Sun Microsystems. More than a year ago, Bob Glass, who then directed the company's science office, showed me a video depicting a newspaper tablet, replete with wireless and multimedia hyperlinks. Sure, it was closer to Flash Gordon than reality. But the general theme -- portability, multimedia and crisp text -- echoed the one sounded by Microsoft.

The exciting news is that the industry is groping toward this still uncertain, intriguing future. And it's only a matter of time before somebody gets it right.


As I said in earlier posts - this is the next big thing.

IMO - XRX PARC has developed all the key technologies (epaper and content guard) to make E-books a commercial success. I'm disappointed that there's a lot of good press coverage on the issue and not a single mention of XRX. Looks like others (MSFT) will capitialize on the idea. Great partnership XRX has with MSFT, not a single mention of XRX.

IMO - This is the real crisis. Once again I see XRX snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It's my guess that XRX is probably concerned that E-Books will cut into the high-end copier business, so they're going to sit on their technology. Meanwhile other companies will seize the moment. When it's all over, and XRX is still selling (fewer) copiers we'll probably hear about the winners stealing the basic concepts from XRX Parc.

Bruno the Meateater
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