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Skiff eBook Reader Promises Big Content



skiff-readerOne of the recurring themes that will undoubtedly come out of CES2010 is eBook Readers, or maybe we should start calling them eContent readers. The Skiff eBook Reader is certainly a reason to raise that question. Yes, it will read eBooks, yes, it has always on connectivity (Sprint at launch) but it is also a larger form factor than we’ve seen previously and is really aiming for magazines and large print content. (Read newspapers.) It also has a Touchscreen.

Make no mistake about it, this is a play by Hearst Publishing to try and move their newsprint business to digital and that touchscreen? Well, it’s a convenient way for you to click on ads. Word is that this device will not only have Sprint connectivity, but also WiFi, and that Sprint will probably be rolling these out in stores.

The Skiff (and other eReaders for that matter) beg the big question that we may or may not see answered this year. Will devices like this move customers in large numbers to digital reading? Based on purely unscientific results from talking to folks on my trip to Chicago, many consumers aren’t paying attention just yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t be six months from now. So, we’ll have to see.  As for me, I can’t see the large form factor (11.5 inches) working as a stand alone platform for this kind of content delivery. But I’ve been wrong before.



  1. Joseph Bleau

    01/05/2010 at 3:11 pm

    I have been a Sony eReader user since first introduced. Use it mostly when traveling.

    Skiff is exactly what I have been hoping for for home use. The difference is that at home I want to read newspaper & mags and the large format is perfect.

    The smaller format is great for books and I will continue to use it for that purpose.

    BTW, Sony has ability to read Word files (.doc). This is critical for me as I also use it to read long work related documents when out of the office. I am disappointed that more eReaders don’t support this format.

  2. somename

    01/06/2010 at 1:16 am

    I like the larger format too for my usual reading usages. This size will fit in carriers I’d usually haul magazines around in, props better, and is more functional for reading than anything smaller.

    It would be nice if it opened like a magazine to two screens, was in color, etc…but maybe that’s crossing into what you’re alluding to when you say as a standalone device. Not sure I really want a standalone device…really, I just want something that will talk to my main computer seamlessly, have a more comfortable screen than the usual computers for extended reading, and have anonymous access to whatever booksellers might want to purvey appropriate books and magazines my way, hopefully to include the whole known universe of published works. If it was in the same box as a convertible laptop, that would be best, assuming it was thin and lightweight. I’d like it to dock a stereo bluetooth headset too, and have enough battery (or fuel cell, etc.) life to run it all. We’re not there yet, but are creeping up on it a bit.

    At some point, maybe we’ll have screens on general-purpose computers that provide the maximum reading comfort that technology allows, but the lack of motion video on the better reading screen technologies seems to be holding that up into the indefinite future. So I think we’re likely to see standalone or linked devices for a while. The size needs to fit the usage pattern — I’m not a public transportation commuter, nor do I read fiction, and I think there are some people who do such things for whom the smaller screens and their enhanced portability might be a better fit.

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