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.

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