The world of media is taking strides towards removing the trees away from the daily content people demand. Many companies have put their bets on e-readers as being today's must-have item, yet so far several seem like glorified Gameboys. They often have thick bodies and screens crowed by peripheral features. While many await Apple's entrance in this growing market, check out this Wiki matrix of the offerings out now - nearly 40 devices in all!
Of the e-readers we've seen so far, we've been most impressed by one of the latest to market, the Skiff Reader (Skiff LLC and Sprint partnership). At just over one pound and .26 inch thick, it will be the thinnest of the large readers currently available, and it might seem flimsy or fragile except for the magnesium housing. The full 11.5" touchscreen is the overall hero here, making it ideal for the transition from print, allowing users to be consumed in the content. The screen, developed by LG, is a flexible metal foil e-paper display that is shatter- and crack-proof, and the main reason the reader can be wafer thin. It also has the highest resolution in the e-reader market so far at 1600 x 1200 pixels.
A promised benefit of e-ink screens is far better energy efficiency than a traditional backlit displays. The Skiff reader combines a very large screen with a Lithium-ion battery to claim a full week of use between charges. Users can download blogs, magazines, newspapers and books from the Skiff Store using USB, Wi-Fi or even a 3G network connection through it's deal with Sprint. Although it was introduced at the CES, this reader will be available at an unknown date later this year.
While e-readers may not excite the laptop and netbook generation, this might be the perfect stepping stone for millions of baby boomers who prefer simple tech. The large screen is easy on the eyes and closer to a magazine than a paperback, and a touch screen is more intuitive than peripheral buttons. Depending on the price point, these might easily find themselves in your kids classrooms as well (similar to our concept Papyrus tablet).
Images from Skiff.com