Oct 20th, 2009

Yesterday we showed you folks the Alex Android eReader and pretty much denounced its existence as a useful device – some of you agreed and some of you disagreed. It is a Kindle-like device but instead of just having one e-Ink screen it also adds a capacitive touchscreen and allows the two screens to interact. I say meh. A far more interesting idea in my opinion is the enTourage eDGe Dualbook announced today:

edge-entourage

It claims to combine the functionality of the following devices:

  • e-reader
  • netbook
  • notepad
  • audio/video recorder
  • audio/video player

Yes… but will it run Crysis? In all seriousness the success/failure of these products is in how well they blend portability with usability. In the case of the Alex eReader I don’t think the design performed up to par but in THIS case I can see the form factor working. You’ve got 2 screens of equal size that, when not being used, fold back into one compact container. I do have one issue though:

Having dual screens is like having dual monitors and sure, it would be useful and fun to be browsing the web or instant messaging friends while using your dualbook. But you won’t ALWAYS want to do this, especially considering the purpose for this is on-the-go portability. What if you just want to read a book? What if you just want to be surfing the web or using Android functionality? In that case, folding the enTourage eDGe open and always having 2 screens display seems like a bit much. If they could have the screens somehow fold underneath each other or even fold so far open that the backs touch and the screens are facing completely opposite sides, locking to that position, I would find the form factor much more enjoyable.

That being said I find this a much better start for dual functionality than the Alex. That doesn’t mean I don’t find fault with the enTourage eDGe but hey – when you’re trying to innovate you’re going to make mistakes and you can’t be afraid to try something crazy that might be a bit off. One place I wish they wouldn’t have done this though is the name – can we please stop using capital letters in the wrong place for the sake of being cutesy? If that was your goal you could have announced this last year as the Entouragr. Awful, really.

The enTourage eDGe is $490 and ships in February 2010. If you ante up another $40 bucks you’ll have the option of Ruby Red, Glacier White or Icy Blue encasing. Otherwise you’re stuck with Midnight Blue.

The company put up a chart comparing the Entourage Edge with the Amazon Kindle DX, IREX DR800SG and Sony Digital Reader Daily Edition. Even if you just want to compare the other 3 to eachother it is kind of useful. Of course you know which way the bias leans:

edge-entourage2

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8.25″ x 10.75″ by 1.0″ (closed)
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs.
  • Internal Memory: 4 GB (3 GB for user) up to 3000 books
  • E-reader File Formats: ePub, PDF
  • LCD Touchscreen Display Size: 1024 x 600 (10.1″)
  • E-paper Display Size: 9.7″ e-Ink®(1200 x 825), 16 shades of gray
  • E-paper Input: Wacom® Penabled®
  • Operating System: Linux with Google® Android®
  • Connectivity: 3G, WiFi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth capability
  • Battery Life: Up to 6 hours
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion polymer
  • Mobile Modem (optional): EVDO or HSDPA
  • External Memory: SD card slot, 2 USB ports
  • Audio and Microphone Jack: 3.5 mm each. Includes internal microphone and speakers.
  • Audio playback: MP3
  • Video playback: MP4, 3GP
  • Input: Stylus input on e-paper and touchscreen. Virtual keyboard. Bluetooth keyboard (optional)

[Via CrunchGear]

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