10 January 2010

CES: Tools, eReaders, & Dual Screens

Anybody who follows any tech news knows that this last week was the Consumer Electronics Show. It's a yearly get together of almost all of the electronics companies where they show off all that's new and interesting. The big things this year have been 3D TV's, eReaders, and tablet computers. I could care less about 3D TV's, which I hope die a quick death (unless someone figures out holographics). However, eReaders and tablet computers are heading somewhere that I see as being extremely useful.

The best of the eReaders seems to be the QUE proReader. Here's a video in which engadget examines the proReader:

The proReader appears to be the thinest, lightest most capable new eReader out there. At 8.5 X 11", it is larger than the Sony Reader Daily Edition at 7" and maybe smaller than the Amazon Kindle DX at 9.7" (measured diagonally). Effectively, I think the sizes will probably all be adequate for viewing .pdf's or .doc's stored as part of a case file. The proReader seems to have the same flaw as the DX, in that the reported capabilities does not include the ability to add SD memory cards. As well, both the proReader and the Sony RDE do not have the Kindle's ability to access the web pages via the internet (limiting the access to downloading books and magazines). The proReader, at 8gb, has more memory than the DX, at 4gb, and far more than the Sony RDE, at 1.6gb. There does not seem to be the ability for freehand note taking in either the proReader or the DX that the Sony RDE claims to have (a vital need if this is going to become business useful). It's becoming more and more foreseeable that in the near future the cutting edge attorney won't be going to court with the four files for that day's cases, but with an ereader that has the files for all his cases in it.

However, the tech's not there yet. One innovation which I think would be a boon would be the folding dual screen. MSI was showing off a very early version of this sort of device. Here's engadget's video:

Obviously, that device is still flawed and I suspect that it would be too heavy to carry and have too little battery power for long use because it's still trying to be a full on computer. Still, imagine having a document displayed on one side and taking written notes on the other side which could be saved to the same case file. It'd be a great way to work on another case while waiting a couple hours for the case you are in court for to be called. As well, it would allow you to take notes straight into your file in the courtroom and easily store them forever.

Personally, I'm looking for a very light, very thin, fold-open device which used e-ink on both sides, both to save on eye strain and extend the battery to a couple days. Wifi and/or telephonic internet connection would be good, so that files and messages could be sent back and forth between the office and so legal web resources could be accessed. We're not there yet. If I had to buy a device at this moment, I'd get the Sony RDE because it allows SD cards to be exchanged and freehand notes.

Of course, now we all wait to see what the Apple most wonderfulest superslate tablet computer which every tech site on the web is already drooling over, even though it shan't be even possibly announced until the end of this month. Newton 2?

ADDENDUM - I was just watching TWIT and they pointed out the enTourage eDGe, which is pretty close to what I want. Here's Cnet's first look video:

They say that the ereader is on the slow side and the computer isn't exactly the fastest in the world. I could live with that, but I still need it to be very thin, very light, and have 2 days worth of battery power once charged. I doubt they'll be able to do this unless both sides use e-ink. Still, this is the closest to what I've been looking for.

BTW: Apparently, the proReader does allow freehand. You just have to provide your own stylus (or write with your finger like you did in kindergarten).

No comments: