Thursday, December 25, 2008

E-Book Devices: Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader—an embedded system for reading electronic books (e-books)— it uses an electronic paper display, reads the proprietary Kindle (AZW) format, and downloads content over Amazon Whispernet.

Display: 6" diagonal E-Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 4-level gray scale
Size (in inches): 7.5" x 5.3" x 0.7"
Weight: 10.3 ounces
Internal memory: 256 MB with 180 MB free
Expansion Memory: Officially up to 4GB SD, although SDHC tested to 16 GB.
Wireless: EVDO with no subscription required
System requirements: None, because it doesn't require a computer

The internal memory of the Amazon Kindle can hold approximately 200 non-illustrated titles. Users can download content from Amazon in the proprietary Kindle format (AZW), or load unprotected Mobipocket (PRC, MOBI) or plain text content. It also supports audio in the form of MP3s and Audible 2, 3, and 4 audiobooks, which must be transferred to the Kindle over USB or on an SD card. It does not fully support Portable Document Format (PDF), but Amazon provides "experimental" conversion to the native AZW format.[12] Users may also convert PDF files to supported formats using third-party software.

Using the experimental web browser, it is possible to download books directly on the Kindle (.mobi, .prc and .txt).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ebook Formats: AZW (Amazon Kindle)

With the launch of the Kindle eBook reader, created the AZW format. It is based on the Mobipocket standard, with a slightly different serial number scheme (it uses an asterisk instead of a Dollar sign) and its own DRM formatting. Because the eBooks bought on the Kindle are delivered wirelessly over EvDO (the system is called Whispernet by Amazon), the user does not see the AZW files during the download process.

AZW files can only be obtained from the Amazon web site. As of November 2007 there are 90,000 eBooks available in this format.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

E-Book Devices: iLiad

The iLiad is an electronic handheld device, or e-book device, which can be used for document reading and editing.

Main specifications:
an 8.1-inch (20.6 cm) electronic paper display, area for displaying content is 124x152mm
a resolution of 768x1024 pixels (160 dpi)
16 levels of grayscale
a USB connector for external storage,
a CompactFlash Type II slot for memory extension or other applications
a MultiMediaCard slot for MMC memory cards
a 3.5 mm stereo audio jack for a headset
WiFi 802.11g wireless LAN
10/100 Mbit/s wired LAN
390g weight
400MHz Intel XScale processor
256MB internal flash memory (128 for user, 128 for system)
Linux-based operating system (2.4 kernel)

The iLiad is capable of displaying document files in a number of formats, including PDF, Mobipocket, XHTML and plain text. It can also display JPG, BMP and PNG images, but not in color.

The distributor of the iLiad is iRex Technologies, a Philips spin-off company. It was initially advertised in December 2005, to be launched in April 2006, but was delayed until July, when it started to be sold as a beta product. It was released to the general public near the end of July, and since then has undergone considerable software revisions.

Its list price in Europe is €649, and in US $699.

Because of its open Linux operating system, the iLiad is able to run third party applications created for it. Developers and users wishing to create or run third party applications can request shell access from the manufacturer.

Developers have been able to improve on the device's functionality by porting viewers such as FBReader, and programs such as abiword and stardict. Full screen PDF reading is made available by community-supported iPDF releases. Programs for recreation, including audio playback, sudoku, and calendars, are rapidly growing community content available for use on the iLiad.

In May 2008, iRex Technologies added a third installment to the iLiad line of products, this time branded under the name iLiad Book Edition. This is the iLiad Version 2 without WiFi and a new silver look. The technical cutbacks place it at the $599 (euro 499) price point, which is cheaper than the original. It also comes with 50 free Classics, including works from well-known writers Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Lewis Caroll, and Leo Tolstoy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ebook Formats: PDF (Portable Document Format)

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format created by Adobe Systems, initially to provide a standard form for storing and editing printed publishable documents. Because documents in .pdf format can easily be seen and printed by users on a variety of computer and platform types, they are very common on the World Wide Web, but since they are designed to reproduce page images, and the text cannot be re-flowed to fit the screen width, PDF files designed for printing on standard paper sizes are hard to view on screens with limited size or resolution. Adobe has addressed the issue of people viewing PDF files on smaller screens as are found on PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). Adobe's Acrobat Reader for the PDA now has a re-flow facility.

PDF files are created mainly using Adobe Acrobat, but Acrobat Capture and other Adobe products also support their creation, as do third-party products such as PDFCreator,, and FOP. Acrobat Reader (now simply called Adobe Reader) is Adobe's product used to view PDF files. PDF files typically contain product manuals, brochures, magazine articles, or flyers as they can embed fonts, images, and other documents. A PDF file contains one or more page images, each of which you can zoom in on or out from. The PDF format can include interactive elements such as buttons for forms entry and for triggering sound and Quicktime or AVI movies. Acrobat PDF files are optimized for the Web by rendering text before graphic images and hypertext links. Adobe's PDF-like e-book format is incorporated into their reader.

PDF files are supported on the following e-book readers: Sony Reader, Bookeen Cybook and indirectly also Amazon Kindle.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Project Gutenberg

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