back to article Free from Philips, iRex launches A4 e-book reader

Philips spin-off iRex has gone up a size to produce an A4 version of its e-book reader, this one aimed at the document-reading business type, rather than the classic-consuming bookworm. The Iliad is already one of the most expensive e-book readers, packing Wi-Fi, support for various removable memory cards and an open OS onto …


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  1. Bronek Kozicki
    Thumb Down

    much too thick bezel

    Why don't they lear from display manufacturers?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought you meant....

    Free (as in beer). Now that would be worth buying. But seriously, surely the thing that would make these things really take off would be the razorblade model. Give away the reader and charge for the books. Even if they charged the same as a paperback costs now there would be profit available, I mean how much does it cost to "print" an electronic book?

  3. Ian K
    Paris Hilton

    What size at what resolution?

    "The most interesting thing about the new device is the decision to support a full-sized A4 screen, at a decent resolution of 1024 x 1280 and 160dpi"

    At 160dpi 1024x1280 gives a 8" x 6.4" screen, well under A4's 11.7" x 8.3". Perhaps it's the device as a whole that's A4 sized?

    Paris, because she knows size is important.

  4. Pete Silver badge

    someone's maths is a bit dodgy

    > a full-sized A4 screen, at a decent resolution of 1024 x 1280 and 160dpi


    A4 is 21x29.7cm and 160 dpi is as near as dammit 64 dots per cm. So 21cm needs 1344 pixels horizontally and 1900 vertically. That's off by a factor of two in terms of total numbers of pixels.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The razor blade model

    "Give away the reader and charge for the books. Even if they charged the same as a paperback costs now there would be profit available, I mean how much does it cost to "print" an electronic book?"

    Unfortunately, e-books often cost more than the "real thing". SWMBO reads a lot of Harlequin "bodice-rippers". The cover price is $5, but the bog box-stores like Walmart and K-Mart typically sell them for $3.50. The eHarlequin website says that it sells e-book versions at a discount on the paper back price, but the e-book still costs $4, and, because it's only available from the publishers website, there's no retailer discount available.

    No raw material costs, no transport costs, no returns, no savings for the end user!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    One day one of these manufacturers.

    Will realize that selling a device to read books needs to be competitively priced and 400 quid for the hardware is not competitive. That will get you a pretty good laptop nowadays and a shitload of paperbacks.


  7. Ed
    Thumb Down

    Cheap and lightweight

    If I were to buy one of these (seems unlikely in the near future at least!) it'd need to be cheap (i.e. < £100), light weight and minimal. This has a huge bezel and I bet it's not thin... I played around on the Sony ebook reader in Borders while I was in the US and wasn't massively impressed. Although the text is nice and readable, the refresh rate was very poor and the refresh itself seemed to be gradual - over half a second or so.

    Plus all these displays are black and white aren't they? That makes web browsing somewhat odd and a wide range of books out of the question (though obviously not the most common books)...

    I've yet to see much interest from publishers in e-book readers, and rightly so. It's not remotely in their interest to turn their products into something easy to pirate. As long as they stick to physical books their fairly safe (except for Harry Potter it seems!)...

    I go for audio books myself, but then I'm lazy!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Books are already easy to pirate. A well known book was pirated on the web days before it was released last year. Their relatively small size compared to films and music makes it even easier to direct download.

  9. Viet

    razorblade model ?

    The physical part of the price structure in a book is much less than you'd believe. Paper, ink, printing and shipping certainly accounts for less than 20% of the retail price. You must add unshrinkable parameters to your equation : promotion, advertising, author's fee, publisher cut (to pay for the staff and such), corrections, translations, reseller's costs, etc. Oh, yes, plus taxes, of course.

    The main part of the price pays for some people's work, and most of this work is highly qualified (read : expensive). Therefore, a razorblade model would yield a higher price for e-books files than paper books. Clearly impossible.

    It's no wonder that books are the vessels of knowledge since 2000+ years ; it certainly is the best compromise between available technology, price, size, and ergonomy (writing notes /in/ a book is dead simple).

  10. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down

    "400 quid for the hardware is not competitive"

    Well, quite.

    I was given some years ago a little electronic translater, which translates between languages on a 2-row alphanumeric screen, and will speak the words out loud after you have assembled a phrase. it seems such a compellingly useful thing to have until you discover that in most languages it has a vocabulary of less than 300 words. And that it cost a couple of hundred quid at the time.

    For that money you could certainly have got enough paper dictionaries to do the job but also a couple of decent nights out for two as well.

  11. Richard Reeve

    @IanK/Pete - 10.2" screen

    The iRex website correctly mentions a 10.2" screen and adds "even A4 or letter-sized documents look great". So this is just a mistake in the article. Looks very nice though - I'd have to hold one to decide whether it really could replace printing things out though. The iLiad wasn't quite big enough for all of the A4 documents I have to handle.

  12. Brennan Young
    Thumb Up

    Too expensive, but...

    I wanna see these things designed for sheet music. Landscape format, and a nice stand, with a massive library of downloadable scores. Could even have a little decorative brass harp at the top.

    This would be such an enormous convenience to musicians, who tend to have reams of scruffy music manuscripts, dog-eared fakebooks etc. that get lost, ripped or mixed up, that they might even pay for those downloads.

    Extra extra value if the page turns when you play the last bar. (Relatively easy to do with MIDI devices).

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