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Gadget watch

At a Friday seminar, Kris Abel, CTV’s resident tech expert, looked at some of the electronic-reading platforms currently on the market and forthcoming. He pointed to:

  • Manybooks.net, which offers e-books in almost any format for greater consumer ease; most formats are variations of XML or PDF, with the latter the most common so far.
  • Mobipocket.com, an online store that offers free software to allow readers to transfer e-book text to their computers, cellphones, Palm, and Blackberry devices.
  • The Iliad, which uses “electronic ink” technology to mimic the texture and feel of paper. However, the electronic ink technology means a high price (about $700) and makes the device unsuitable for other uses like watching movies.
  • Amazon.com’s rumoured “Amazonkindle” reader, which was to have wireless capablility; Abel speculated that its release was delayed or scuttled by Apple’s announcement of the iPhone.
  • The iPhone itself doesn’t have e-book capabilities yet, but Abel said that’s a likely development and labelled it as “the device to watch,” with a “deliciously high-resolution screen” and touch screens instead of a keyboard. The phone comes with four or eight gigabytes of memory.
  • At the moment, the Sony Reader, sold for about $350, is a leader among the gadgets. Although it is not available in Canada yet, it is being sold at stores such as Borders in the U.S. as well as in Sony stores. It has a six-inch screen and supports Sony files but can also read PDF files.