At today’s TLUG meeting Jim Maricondo gave a talk about writing applications for the iRex iLiad. He brought two with him as well as a two of Fujitsu’s FLIPea prototypes of the first colour e-paper reader.
I was surprised by how good the iLiad looks and did think, when looking at one page of text, that I could read books using one of these. It weighs a lot less than the book I am currently reading and since it doesn’t have a back-light it seemed that it wouldn’t be tiring on my eyes. But then I changed the page. The refresh that takes place involves the screen being made completely black, then white, and then the text appears. It looks like it flickers and given that I read quickly it would be refreshing maybe twice or three times a minute – which would be really annoying.
It has given me hope that there will be a way in the future for me to replace paper books. In Japan my books are getting damp and I don’t have the room I used to have to store these. I also find it difficult to carry them when I am travelling and it would be great to have a light-weight way to carry the text of multiple books.
The FLIPea was certainly interesting to look at but is in no way useful for reading something like a book as the refresh takes 15 seconds when you change page. It’s also surprisingly hard to read, as the contrast isn’t particularly good inside. But it is supposed to look really good in natural sunlight and I imagine that it will be used to display adverts and pictures to begin with and not pages of text.