Quest for the perfect reader is almost over

Those who know me know that I’ve been searching for a perfect ebook reader device for years. I’ve used mobile phones, Palm PDAs, pocket PCs, laptops… About 7 years ago I got excited about prospects of E-Ink technology, promising to deliver just what I needed. Unfortunately, E-Ink has turned out to be utter disappointment, so far delivering little but bold promises. It took years and years for the first E-Ink devices to turn up on the market.

A few years ago I finally got my hands onto Sony PRS-500 E-Ink reader. Got disappointed with it after a week and sold it. A year ago I bought another E-Ink reader - that time BeBook. I still have it, but now my wife uses it. And I’ve got myself something better. That is iPhone.

Don’t get me wrong. I still like E-Ink readers. But even after all those years E-Ink remains to be a promising technology. Guys, it’s about time to deliver on promises. Maybe one day… But now, E-Ink has more cons than pros: devices are expensive, screens are slow, the screen contrast is poor. And versatility is even poorer - every E-Ink reader is practically useless for anything but reading, making you carry yet another device in your bag. And if all those weren’t enough, many manufacturers lock the devices to just a few supported DRM-enabled book formats (this is for you, Amazon).

In few short years, iPhone delivered what E-Ink failed in decade. The truth is, the iPhone’s screen is brilliant. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s bright, highly contast and it (almost) doesn’t fade in sunlight. Yes, it’s resolution is not as high as of some VGA PDAs and laptops, but it still looks better than any other LCD screen I’ve seen. Reading from that screen is a pleasure. Honestly, if I am provided a choice to read from either E-Ink (in its current state) and iPhone’s LCD, I’d probably choose iPhone.

And unlike the dedicated readers, iPhone is immensely versatile. I don’t know the statistics, but it’s got to be the most popular mobile software platform out there. Thousands and thousands of software titles are available. And there is no problems with ebook types either - Software like Stanza and Calibre make reading almost any kind of book a simple task.

All in all, for all of you who has been waiting for a perfect reader - the wait is almost over. iPhone has delivered yet another revolution. Now is the time for a major publishing houses to wake up.