[clug] Advice request - "tablet readers" for eBooks

Ivan Miljenovic ivan.miljenovic at gmail.com
Tue Jun 8 22:03:34 MDT 2010

On 9 June 2010 13:27, Felix Karpfen <felix.karpfen at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 09 Jun 2010 09:31:23 +1000, Ivan Lazar Miljenovic wrote:
>> Felix Karpfen <felix.karpfen at gmail.com>
>> writes:
>>> I currently (successfully) use FBReader on my computer (Debian Lenny
>>> OS); and am widening my horizons by exploring portable "tablet
>>> readers".
>>> "SmartQ V7 MID W1050 Internet Tablet 7 UMPC HDMI 1080P"
>> Officeworks have a few more tablet-y kind of e-readers:
>> http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1458451
> The Officeworks reader are a fraction of the price of the SmartQ.  But
> they re-enforce my puzzlement (and reason for my initial query).
> It is unclear to me how <eBooks|packages> get loaded into the Tablet(s).

For the most part, the basically act as external storage devices (USB
drives, etc.).  Software like Calibre helps you get them into the
right format for your specific device.

> The SmartQ states that it comes with 3 OSs (Android, Ubuntu and a Windows
> version) and that it can be used to send emails and edit text-files.  So
> far, so good. It has a  USB 2.0 HighSpeed OTG port (whatever that means)
> and the supplied package contains a HDMI cable and a touch pen.

OTG == On-The-Go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_On-The-Go

My understanding is that the USB port is semi-two way: it acts as a
storage device when plugged into the computer but its also possible
for you to plug certain USB devices (keyboards, etc.) into the device
and have them work.

> But there is no indication that a connection to an external keyboard
> exists and it is unclear to me whether the flagged USB port could be used
> to plug into in my current (desktop) setup (and thus transfer programs
> and data that I now use routinely).

For the keyboard, it depends if they've enabled keyboard support on
the firmware.  However, it should act as a mass storage device when
plugged into your computer.

> I have little enthusiasm of starting again from Square One in a new
> gadget and I would prefer to know what I am buying before I put my money
> down.

Go to a Borders or Angus & Robertson store and have a play with their
Kobos, or see if Officeworks has any demos of their devices.

Short list of differences between the two types of devices (dedicated
e-readers and media tablets):

* e-readers typically use some type of e-paper display (which is a bit
like a high-density etch-a-sketch or magna-doodle than an LCD); this
means that the quality of the printed text is higher, usually causing
less eye strain than LCDs and use less power (since they only need
power to change the display rather than to keep displaying it).  On
the other hand, there is a slight flicker when you change page (you
typically don't scroll pages like you do on a computer) and the
screens aren't back-lit (but it's not like dead-tree books are backlit

* e-readers aren't that versatile: there are a few with either wifi or
3G internet capabilities, but they're rather limited in the types of
web pages you can view as it's more like they take a snapshot of a
certain part of each web page; as such it's sufficient for getting
reference material off of wikipedia, etc. but you typically wouldn't
use it for emailing, etc.  However, a few can also play mp3s (for
audio books).

As such, if you want something primarily to read books, you're better
off getting an e-reader; if you want a multimedia/internet device
which can also read books, get one of the tablet-like devices.

Ivan Lazar Miljenovic
Ivan.Miljenovic at gmail.com

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