While the first round of $300 e-books were impressive (I enjoyed my Sony Librie until it's firmware went all nuts and I couldn't get support from Japan), there's a new bunch of e-readers on the horizon that might make life quite a bit more awesome for all of us.
Two of the main drawbacks of e-ink are being addressed with this second generation. First, the contrast ratio is better, closer to the contrast of a paperback book. And second, the refresh rate of the pages has been doubled. There's nothing like waiting for the page to appear after you've pushed the 'next' button. I found it surprisingly frustrating to wait a full second for a page to load.
A third drawback of E-Ink is also being addressed, and this might be the most important of all: cost. The new displays that will be offered to e-book manufacturers have a simpler device interface, and come in a wider variety of sizes. So, we could see this extremely low-power paper replacement in a variety of inexpensive devices quite soon.
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