Sprint, provider of cellular phone and other mobile services, is partnering with Skiff, a company that provides E-reading solutions that includes its own service platform, Store and enabled devices, to launch a new E-Reader, or wireless electronic reading device, that they claim has a higher resolution than any E-Reader on the market currently.
This new device is called the Skiff Reader, and it should give considerable competition to the current market powerhouse, Amazon’s Kindle.
According to Information Week, the Skiff touts an 11.5-inch display with a resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels. The Kindle DX, which is the largest of the Kindle products, is the only other E-Reader to come close to these specs as it has 9.7-inch display at a paltry resolution of 1200 x 824 pixels.
The Information Week report said Skiff signed a multi-year deal with Sprint to give the Skiff Reader access to Sprint’s 3G wireless network for downloading of digital content to the reader. Skiff has said the reader will be able to display newspapers and magazines in original graphic formats as an addition to the e-book downloading and reading that can be done with an E-Reader.
In order to purchase any materials to read on the device, though, users will have to use the Skiff Store. The device will also be able to use Wi-Fi to connect to the data stream, but reports have said the device will only connect with the Skiff Store while on Wi-Fi.
This all sounds pretty good, except for the possibility that one couldn’t access the Internet via the device, but the coolest part to me is the size. It has a large screen, but it only checks in at a quarter-inch thick.
And it is flexible, which is not common for E-Readers because they generally have a rigid design. However, Information Week said the Skiff’s display is “based on a thin, flexible sheet of stainless-steel foil and developed by LG Display.”
I think that is way cool. You can practically bend the thing in half, which makes it more like a paper-based product while still maintaining its presence as a neat electronic device.
Reportedly, the Skiff will be previewing the device at the International Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.
Prior to coming across this device, I haven’t paid much attention to the E-Reader game because they don’t quite do it for me. The resolution of an electronic device is hard to match that of a printed product, so if I was going to read a book, I would rather go with paper than plastic to avoid eyestrain.
Also, most E-Readers use a digital ink that is reactive to available light. That just doesn’t cut it. I want something back-lit so I can read it any time, day or night, whether I’m on the beach under the sun or in a wine cellar hiding from my family.
That being said, the Skiff probably works the same way. It probably isn’t back-lit. Even so, the Skiff has actually got me interested in the E-Reader market. I like to read, but I don’t always have time to get to a bookstore to pick up another piece to read. Maybe an E-Reader from which I can download materials is just the ticket.
Of course, I have bookcases upon bookcases full of books to read, so it still might be a while before I use an E-Reader to read novels. However, it see the possibilities of using one to read magazines and newspapers quite appealing, except for the fact that E-Readers seem to be in black and white. That would OK for a newspaper, but it simply would not kosher for a magazine because part of the reason I would buy a magazine is to look at the stunning photography and colorful graphics such publications generally contain.
I hope with the Skiff, which is already making progress with the flexible design, a full-color E-Reader isn’t too far off. When that day comes, I’ll probably be buying one. Until then, I will just continue to admire the continual progress of technology and try to figure out how journalism can adapt and prosper with these new advancements.