Both of the new amazingly priced Nook Touch ($139) and Kobo Touch ($129) seem to use the new Freescale i.MX508 (I first filmed i.MX508 a year ago) to facilitate smooth touch interfaces using Infrared Touch technology (first used in the Sony PRS-650) but also to easily enable those to be the first Android powered e-ink e-readers! Basically i.MX508 and Android makes first real useful use of WiFi and Touch on e-ink e-readers! Using Android on e-ink is awesome to provide for great files support, web browser, easily add apps like news readers, rss readers, Chrome-To-Phone functionality (just beam any article or any text from your Chrome browser on your laptop to your e-ink e-reader in one click!), synchronizing of bookmarks, wireless beaming of web based ebooks, all in one click. Android on e-ink just increases the e-readers potential greatly. Using infrared touchscreen technology is a great way to provide the best possible readability, not adding any layers on top of the screen.
Look forward to much more fascinating devices to come with:
i.MX508 + Android + infrared touch + WiFi/3G + e-ink = Low-cost e-ink e-readers!
Also see my video of the alternative Acoustic Pulse Recognition (APR) touch technology.
An interesting thing to follow though will be to see how open Android i.MX508 e-ink e-reader makers will be towards allowing for alternative e-book stores, and allowing for full open Android apps installation and full unrestricted access to the web browser. As it may be that part of the profit margins on these new low-cost e-ink e-readers may be subsidized by the hardware makers expecting to make later huge profits on selling e-books, like Amazon does with their Kindle e-book store, it will be fun to see if all the e-ink e-reader makers will seize the opportunity to be open with Android on e-ink and at the same time find new interesting ways to monetize those. I for example would prefer paying less than $10 per month for unlimited legal access to all e-books, all newspapers, all blogs, all websites, everything, perhaps even certain 3G bandwidth included, but will content owners and hardware makers be open minded enough to let that happen quickly?
When will Google officially announce open source Android optimizations for e-ink devices and with deep integration of Google Books, Google Reader, Google Fast Flip and more?
Here's how I think those e-ink e-readers could be sold in the best way: $99, $10/month optional pre-paid plan gives 100mb 3G data (upgradable bandwidth for $1/100mb or less) and full unlimited access to all e-books, all e-newspapers, e-magazines, blogs through RSS/search and more. Full unrestricted web browsing on e-ink. And nice complete cloud syncing with your Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop. While e-ink e-reader market is doing great perhaps reaching 20 million units to be sold this year, if they price them right and open them fully, I think they'll do even better.
- Kobo Bets on a Smaller, Touch Sensitive E-Reader (gigaom.com)
- Tipster: New Nook is 'The Simple Touch Reader' (news.cnet.com)
- $129 Kobo eReader Touch Edition unveiled, original slashed to $99 (geek.com)