Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Musings on an eBook Reader and Tablet PC Combination

Posted in Information Technology, Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on January 28, 2010

I had originally blogged about this topic about 6 months back. See original post ““. Also attached below.

After Apple’s much anticipated iPad announcement today, I thought I will revisit this topic once again. I think the LCD display in the Apple iPad would still have certain limitations as compared to the epaper technology display in the Amazon Kindle. The readability and feel of the iPad screen may not be like that of a paper book. It remains to be seen how much ‘real life’ the iPad LCD screen actually feels like.

In terms of creating a ‘hybrid solution’ like the one I had described in the earlier post, the Barnes & Nobles Nook comes a little closer. In the sense that they are using the epaper technology for the display screen and a small touch sensitive multi-color LCD display for the interactive features. Though I wonder that in the midst of Apple and Amazon, does Barnes & Nobles have a chance?  It remains to be seen what approach Microsoft takes in its own Tablet PC (no details/dates as yet).

Going forward, I wonder how the epaper/LCD screen gap would get bridged? Lot of research work is going on in the epaper technology area. Future epaper displays could feature full color support and some level of touch sensitive surfaces. Till that time though, a simple hybrid may not be a bad solution?

What are your thoughts?

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Original Post, Dated: July 28, 2009

I have followed the news around Amazon’s Kindle with great interest. I think it will be a tech game-changer. It fundamentally tries to address the readability issues associated with the LCD screens in other devices. Though, I haven’t had a chance to use it as yet, I can imagine how the epaper display technology can produce images and text that is very close to printed paper. In my view, this capability alone will lead to a large scale adoption of this device in the coming years.

I also see a huge opportunity in a ‘next gen’ Tablet PC. I haven’t digged deep into reasons why the existing Windows based Tablet PCs haven’t been that successful over the past few decade. Is it the cost? Or usability? Or both?

There is a lot of discussion in the media around Apple launching a new Tablet – I am sure this will be a game changing device, given Apple’s innovation track record. My initial thought when I first read about it was – here’s comes a potential Kindle killer. But then I realized that the Kindle’s display will be a major advantage over the tradional LCD display.

A tablet’s LCD display is critical for many functions (graphics, media, interactive software and tools, etc.), and doubt if there’s a substitute.

My simple thought: Why can’t someone create a smart, usable tablet computer with an epaper display on the back side??

Such a device could provide you with both capabilities in one single device! You can read a book and then if you want to use your tablet, just flip the device around! Isn’t it as simple as adding an epaper like display onto a tablet device??

As a user, I for one would definitely queue up to buy such a device, at a premium!

3 Responses

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  1. Sameer said, on January 28, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Amit, I have been wondering about this too. Logically, it would seem that a tablet and e-book reader would be a killer device. (Disclaimer: I have never used a tablet or an e-book reader – I am waiting for the perfect device before taking the jump). The USP of Kindle and other e-book readers is that they come as close as is possible today to replicating the experience of reading a paper book. The perfect device would have to provide the same experience. A bright LED/LCD screen cannot provide the same experience as yet.

    I think Windows based Tablet PCs have not done well because they are little more expensive laptops. Although, one they are more portable and you can do some operations with the stylus, the experience is not much different from a traditional laptop.

    As for iPad, at the first glance it just appears to be large iPod touch. There is an interesting article & discussion on BusinessWeek (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2010/tc20100127_783646.htm) called “The iPad Threat to PCs”. The real threat is to the netbook segment rather than PC (desktop, laptop).

  2. […] an e-paper display on the other. Unfortunately I googled around and found that someone else had the same idea more than a year ago. Great minds don’t you […]

  3. siddhya said, on June 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    i am waiting for this one http://www.notionink.in/adamfeature.php
    it becomes a colour lcd with the backlight on, without it its epaper🙂


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