Researchers at Fujitsu have upped the ante in the very competitive E-reader market by releasing a group of color E-readers in their new FLEPia line. These E-readers incorporate Fujitsu’s ground breaking color e-paper and look to be the first in a new wave of color E-readers. This gives Fujitsu the technical lead over similar devices like the Kindle that are still stuck back in the black and white era. The announcement by Fujitsu comes on the heels of the release of the new Kindle 2.0 and it will be interesting to see how the folks from Amazon react to the latest salvo in an ever competitive battle for nothing less than the future of printed media.
These new devices from Fujitsu are currently being tested as a point of sale (POS) terminal in the Termina Kinshicho Fujiya restaurant in Tokyo as an interactive menu. In addition to allowing diners to select their menu choices by tapping its sexy touchscreen, the device also gives patrons access to train schedules, local weather, and other shopping sites. It does this through its wireless LAN connection, all from the convenience of their table, and all in living color. The device is also thinner than many other E-readers like the Kindle and has a larger screen as well. Even though this is a small test with only a few E-readers being used, it does represent a great application for the technology and could be an indication of things to come.
The E-readers from Fujitsu are being offered in two sizes and three colors: white pearl, pink pearl and silver. They are both a very slim 12 mm thick and have a clean and organized look. The larger of the two (A4) has a letter sized display and weighs about 480 grams. The slightly smaller (A5) version is letter sized and weighs just 320 grams. The display is an XGA quality that supports 768 X 1024 and either 8 or 4096 colors can be chosen. Both of them sport an internal wireless LAN connection that enables them to connect to the local network for communication and downloading of content. The units incorporate a 4GB SD flash memory card to provide for local storage of content and with the minimal storage requirements of most newspapers and magazines this should be enough space to keep you entertained for quite a while. For navigation the E-reader has a compliment of 6 buttons and a scroll key on the lower portion of the device, positioned for easy access as well as a touchscreen display. The units also support a USB 2.0 connection port as well as internal stereo speakers.
Fujitsu claims that a single charge of the battery will give you 50 hours of operation. This is possible because of the way that e-paper works. Unlike a standard LCD display, e-paper only requires power to initially draw the image. Once the image is displayed, there is no additional power required to sustain it. This is one factor that makes e-paper the perfect medium for ebooks since reading involves the display of a page of text that is static while you are reading the page, and then changes before another long period of rest as you read the next page. Another nice feature of the Fujitsu E-reader is that it incorporates a touchscreen display. This makes navigation much easier and allows for more interactive menus and programs than relying on a scroll key and navigation buttons alone. These two features are what really sets it apart from other current E-readers and may prove to be the next milestone for the Kindle to reach. Currently the retail on these new units is close to 3 times the cost of the new Kindle, but expect this to drop as more FLEPia units are sold and production increases. For now, the FLEPia unit looks to be the king of the hill in the E-reader space, but expect others to challenge it soon.
Marco Gustafsson is author of articles on eBook Readers, e-inc technology and electronic books. Find more information here on http://www.digital-book-readers.com/