The Sony Reader.

By Suzanne Richardson
During Bootcamp last Wednesday, Michael Masterson mentioned a new “toy” called the Sony Reader that allows you to download several full-length books and carry them with you.

“Is this worth having?” he wondered out loud.

The idea of a computer/book hybrid intrigued me, so I decided to do a little research on it. Here’s what I found out …

The device is about the size of a paperback book and weighs about nine ounces. It’s covered in leather, with a computerized screen inside that looks more or less like paper.

Sandwiched between sheets of plastic, millions of transparent liquid-filled spheres float in some sort of electronic solution. Inside those spheres are white and black particles. (Think of them as tiny snow globes.) The solution is electrically modulated by the computer in such a way that some particles, black or white, rise to the surface, “forming crisp patterns of black and white,” according to The New York Times.

The effect: The black particles are so close to the surface of the screen that they resemble printed ink on light gray paper. The text can also be magnified for sight-impaired readers.

There’s no backlight, which means these books have to be read in ambient light, like regular books. But that means you can easily read them outdoors in the sun, something you can’t do with a laptop.

Okay. So maybe it’s not just a “toy.”



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