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Foxconn, China Mobile to Develop Ebook Reader

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

China Mobile and Foxconn are discussing the possibility of an ebook reader, according to CM's chairman, Wang Jianzhou.

Ebook readers are really starting to take off. There are now several iterations of the Kindle available, along with some fairly recent updates to Sony's line of readers. Plastic Logic is all set to release its own ereader in a partnership with Barnes and Noble and so, it seems Foxconn and China Mobile have a few ideas of their own.

According to Digitimes, China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou recently said the wireless network plans to team up with Foxconn Electronics for the production of ereaders and that he will meet with Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou to discuss the possible partnership. Digitimes went on to cite Wang as saying shipments could start as early as the first half of 2010.

Do you have an ereader? If not, do you plan on buying one in the near future or are you waiting for something a little more innovative than the products currently available? 

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  • -4 Hide
    deadlockedworld , August 24, 2009 7:14 PM
    pfff. ipad will quickly achieve dominance with all of its apps.
  • 4 Hide
    tenor77 , August 24, 2009 7:16 PM
    Will it make people commit suicide?
  • 5 Hide
    doc70 , August 24, 2009 7:56 PM
    I am new in this thing but I have a Sony PRS 505 and I am happy with it. With an SD card you can put a ton of books on it and you can not loose tham by being remotely deleted or anything. I use OpenOffice to convert books to pdf and have had no problems; to me touch screen on an ereader is not important, it could even lead to inadvertently turn the page when I want to show some paragraph on the page to someone else, so I am happy with the turn page button. As far as screen quality, the epaper is very good for my eyes and I do not like the later issued backlit one, as it is not so crisp and friendly... my opinion.
    The more competition, the merrier; I just wish they would be available in more retail stores, so one could try before buying's important because we're talking hours of staring at the screen.
  • Display all 14 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    B-Unit , August 24, 2009 8:00 PM
    tenor77Will it make people commit suicide?

    Only if they 'loose' the prototype...
  • 3 Hide
    FSXFan , August 24, 2009 8:20 PM
    I guess I don't understand the point of these reader devices. The (small) Kindle costs $300 and looks like it would break the first time it was dropped. For around the same money (or less) you could get a netbook. Wouldn't that do everything the Kindle would and then some? The Kindle has a long battery life and a screen that looks like paper, but I don't have any trouble reading an LCD anyway and I've never wanted to sit on a beach reading even as long as it takes for a netbook battery to drain. You can get 3G for your netbook too and do a lot more than download a book or newspaper article.

    Also, nobody's ever deleted any of my books from my PC.
  • 0 Hide
    jhgoodwin , August 24, 2009 8:21 PM
    I would buy one if it had better PDF support than Kindle, or a great desktop re-encoding program. Re-encoded files should still look good, keep images in the document, support resizing text, etc. In addition, it needs a great e-ink image, non-flashing refresh like Kindle currently does, and ideally color plus a expansion memory slot. Also, the Kindle DX size is just about right. I'd also like a setting where the device idled off without changing the screen like Kindle DX does. I like the idea of Amazon's mobile purchase with preview.
  • 1 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , August 24, 2009 8:36 PM
    I'm torn apart between electronic books and paper back. I like paper back, but some books, such as Leszek Kolakowski's "Main Currents of Marxism," a three-volume master piece on why Stalinist is the logic conclusion and natural evolution of communism, is too big to carry around.
  • 4 Hide
    cekasone , August 24, 2009 9:18 PM
    For some odd reason, when i see Foxconn and China in the same headline, i think about death.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2009 1:25 AM
    I see no real future in e-ink.

    PixelQi is closer to a more suitable solution. There's a trade off in battery life, but PiQi screens are fluid motion screens (downto ~5ms) while E-ink will always stay between 300-1000ms refresh rate per screen.
    Plus, it loses contrast over time. Many of the older e-ink screens already have a grey background.

    The Sony PRS-505 has a moderate pdf support, but 6" is just too small for regular PDF reading.
    The majority of A4/letterbox sized pdf documents show too small on such a screen.
    The price of e-ink is expensive,but it uses very little battery, and is small and light too.
  • 0 Hide
    dimar , August 25, 2009 9:35 AM
    When there's going to be a 9 - 10" reader with color, popular format support, Wi-Fi, 3G, and SD card reader, for 100$ - 300$, I'll buy few for sure :-)

  • 0 Hide
    dimar , August 25, 2009 9:36 AM
    oh, and 1000 hours battery life, YES...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 6:15 PM
    foxconn...don't care what it is, pass.
  • 0 Hide
    dannybloom , September 2, 2009 1:33 PM
    screening is not reading: see for my long rants on why reading should only be done on paper.
  • 0 Hide
    dannybloom , September 2, 2009 1:35 PM
    I screen, you screen, we all screen

    by DANNY BLOOM in.........Taiwan

    Alex Beam, writing in the June 19 issue of the Boston Globe, in a very
    interesting column titled as above by a savvy copyeditor (is that
    copyeditor or copy editor?) began his piece by asking:
    "Do we read differently on the computer screen from how we read on the
    printed page?

    He then quoted Jakob Nielsen, a Web usability researcher, who reported
    that humans generally read 25 percent more slowly on a plastic
    pixelated screen, also known as a PPS.

    Beam said he reads more quickly on the screen and edits out about 40
    percent of what appears before his eyes. And then he warned readers
    online and on paper in the printed edition of the Globe: "

    "If you haven’t told me what you want by line four of your e-mail,
    trust me, I didn’t get the message."

    Beam then tells us about Dr. Anne Mangen of Norway, who has asserted
    in an academic paper that screen reading and page reading are
    radically different. (emphasis added by Danny Bloom on screen)

    "The feeling of literally being in touch with the text is lost when
    your actions - clicking with the mouse, pointing on touch screens, or
    scrolling with keys or on touch pads - take place at a distance from
    the digital text, which is, somehow, somewhere inside the computer,
    the e-book, or the mobile phone,’’Dr Mangen wrote in her paper
    published in London last year.

    And she concluded: “Materiality matters. . . . One main effect of the
    intangibility of the digital text is that of making us read in a
    shallower, less focused way.’’

    When Mr Beam asked Dr Mangen if she thought there might be a future
    convergence of Kindle reading and Gutenberg reading, she told him:
    “Reading digital text will always differ from reading text that is not
    digital (i.e., that has a physical, tangible materiality), no matter
    how reader-friendly and ‘paper-like’ the digital reading device (e.g.,
    Kindle etc.). The fact that we do not have a direct physical, tangible
    access to the totality of the text when reading on Kindle affects the
    reading experience. When reading a book we can always see, and feel
    with our fingers and hands, our progress through the book as the pile
    of pages on the left side grows and the pile of pages on the right
    side gets smaller. At the same time, we can be absolutely certain that
    the technology [the book] will always work - there are no problems
    with downloading, missing text due to technical or infrastructure
    problems, etc.’’
    Dr Mangen also said that the e-reader experience introduces “a degree
    of unpredictability and instability’’ that influences reading, even if
    we are not aware of it.

    Beam then quotes William Powers on Cape Cod, who wrote a romantic
    defense of the ancient medium called Mr Paper. Powers' 75 page essay,
    “Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Why Paper Is Eternal,’’ -- set to be come a book
    in the middle of 2010 from HarperCollins -- was widely quoted in the
    blogosphere, with this one passage often noted:

    “There are cognitive, cultural, and social dimensions to the
    human-paper dynamic that come into play every time any kind of paper,
    from a tiny Post-It note to a groaning Sunday newspaper, is used to
    convey, retrieve, or store information.’’

    Powers concluded: “It becomes a still point, an anchor for the
    consciousness. It’s a trick the digital medium hasn’t mastered - not

    So the final question, now that you have scrolled down to the bottom
    of this seemingly endless bottomless page -- another of the drawbacks
    to reading on screens, it might be noted -- is this: are you screening
    this on a screen (see the UrbanDictionary definition of screening to
    understand this question better) or are you reading it on paper?

    There is only one answer. Dish!