July 31, 2013

Ten years-old ebook reader

I own a ten years-old ebook reader.

Is it a smartphone?
It has features that make it pretty much like one, except that it can't make phone calls. So no. (However, I dare to say that making phone calls is one of the least used features of smartphones nowadays. Perhaps in the feature smartphones won't even be phones anymore, due to atrophy.)

What is it then?
It is a Sony CLIÉ, a PEG-SJ22 to be more precise. A PDA running Palm OS 4.1 that I'm now using as an ebook reader. To my surprise, the Plucker and iSilo readers still exist and at least the latter seems somewhat alive - there is even a version for Android.

Nowadays there are ebook readers with electronic paper displays, wifi or 3G connectivity, and other features but they all come down to the same thing: an ebook reader. Truth be told, the technology is quite old. In 2004, a year after the release of the PEG-SJ22, Sony also released the LIBRIé EBR-1000EP in Japan, an ebook reader with a 6" electronic paper display. A few years later is was released in the US as the Sony Reader.

Certainly, there have been advances since those devices were first released, but I have yet to see something that is really innovating. This year we are back to wrist watches, which were first released more than ten years ago - and one of them even ran linux.

Netbooks also had devices like the PEG-UX50 as their ancestor.

And if you were thinking about shoes, you've arrived late: the Puma RS already had some chips in them, and the Adidas 1 were also sported a few years ago. World, it's time to innovate.

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