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Summary:

Earlier this week iRex launched the 1000 series Digital Reader device and I wondered if it actually replaces a printer as opposed to a notebook. Regardless of what it replaces, one thing it won’t have is 3G wireless broadband which some folks were claiming it would. […]

Irex1000Earlier this week iRex launched the 1000 series Digital Reader device and I wondered if it actually replaces a printer as opposed to a notebook. Regardless of what it replaces, one thing it won’t have is 3G wireless broadband which some folks were claiming it would. I scoured the press release earlier this week and saw mention of WiFi and Bluetooth on the high-end model, but that was it.I reached out to Loeki van der Lee at iRex at that point and he responded early this morning. “You can find the technical specifications on our website,” he says. He also cut and pasted a line from the specs and highlighted the following bit: “WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.”So that’s it then: no 3G in any of the iRex 1000 devices, not even the one priced at $849. It’s not a Kindle killer and not really much of an eBook reader either. This is definitely a device geared towards the corporate audience for reading documents on an eInk display that they would have otherwise printed or viewed on their notebook.

  1. This product definitely moves into corporate or academic territory and is not primarily for reading books. You can do work on a 10″ e-paper device that is PDF compatible and enables marking comments and taking notes. If you’re in a profession where you have to read and review large numbers of full-size documents which are digitized at the production level or during fax communication, you can’t use a device with a 7″ screen. Notebooks and tablet PCs have always been a bad solution for doing this sort of work, when you’re comparing it against real paper and pen. The battery life alone on notebooks kills productivity in this arena.

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  2. iRex makes purely awesome products. I once got to film their iRex Illiad here http://youtube.com/watch?v=V1RNiGXoRyY

    This would probably be the perfect tool for teachers that have to read and annotate through dozens of papers every week from their students. Students should simply submit digital format of the documents, the teacher loads in all the assignments, he can carry them around, go read through them in the park or something. And just annotate the whole thing and write comments using the wacom pen.

    Annotating on E-Ink is a truly awesome experience. Anyone that hasn’t tried it should simply try it. It’s amazing.

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  3. If it support USB HSDPA Dongles on its USB host, then no problem keeping connection with you everywhere. What they should have, if they haven’t got it yet, should be real-time collaborative annotating of text. So for example several teachers can collaborate reading through copies, you would also see in real-time which pages have been read by the other user. With bluetooth, use a wireless foldable keyboard to type in a bunch of text for the annotations as well.

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  4. they should bundle these with a driver that lets PC users print to it as a wifi or bluetooth printer. definitely would kill 85% of my nightly take home reading print jobs!.

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  5. Don’t know if this is a price drop, but it’s listed as $749 for the higher end model. The difference between the two seems to be the “Wacom Penabled touch sensor input with stylus.” The lower priced model doesn’t include a stylus. I’d say that’s a pretty nice feature.

    The lack of 3G is not that much of a problem for the intended business customers. Documents will be loaded over a wifi network, or using a USB flash drive, or perhaps over BT from a smartphone(?). Turning it into a virtual printer to PDF would probably not be that much of a problem. Businesses will be very motivated to not print out tons of paper and to not carry around files all the time.

    I’m skeptical that a letter sized scientific article in PDF format will be very usable at this screen size, still.

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