Saturday, November 26, 2011

Does the Kyobo Reader Pass the 'So What' Test?

If we had a colour ‘eink’ ereader device some 18 months ago we world may have been different today. If we had a colour ‘eink’ ereader device even 12 months ago it would have had a significant impact on the market. But today we have to ask whether it even passes the ‘so what’ test?

Kyobo Book Centre in South Korean has launched a Kyobo eReader, with a full-color display using Qualcomm mirasol technology which is even fast enough for video.The Kyobo eReader uses a 5.7-inch XGA mirasol display from Qualcomm with resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The device also features a 1 GHz Qualcomm SnapDragon processor, multitouch touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity also has English-language text-to-speech capabilities.

The display combines the long battery possibilities of E Ink displays with a full colour output. The Mirasol display controls the distance between a membrane and a reflective glass surface, and this either blocks light or amplifies particular frequencies. The result is that the membrane can appear transparent, black, or a particular colour. Qualcomm’s mirasol display layers three of these together to create a full colour red, green, and blue display. The displays then only consume power then they’re moving the membranes around, and only have to move a few hundred nanometers to change colour, The display gets brighter in direct light, and uses a front-light LED system to simulate sunlight in the dark.

The Kyobo eReader is available in South Korea for a relatively high ticket of around US$300.
So does it pass the ‘so what’ test?

It would appear to be halfway between a smartphone and a tablet. It reads ebooks but is that its main draw and in our opinion it fails on some basic counts. It is not a smartphone. Size wise it falls uncomfortably between the new smartphones and today's tablets. The screen technology may now offer colour but anyone who has a Amoled screen will know this game has already been decided and the winner is here today. Finally the price is sitting on the high side of unattractive.

Interestingly we wonder whether those UK booksellers that have a somewhat daunting ebook challenge may go for it just to be different? As the market moves progressively away from devices to platforms these devices will still create interest but will not become mainstream just expensive gadgets with a limited life expectancy and novelty usage.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Kyobo? Looking forward to the Kyindle and the Nyook...