Cameron, Bruce W.
Updated: December 1, 2011 8:16AM
Move over, Kindle: Cameron Industries, a mono-national corporation headed by CEO W. Bruce Cameron (no relation), announced today it will soon be marketing the “next generation” of portable readers. Dubbed the “book,” Cameron predicts it will take the world by storm.
As described by Cameron, the book will mark major advances in current reader technology. Among them:
Battery life: While some manufacturers boast that their reading machines can have as much as 150 hours of battery life, Cameron claims that the (pat. pend.) “always on” technology used by the book means the battery life is actually longer than human life.
We weren’t able to test that one in the lab.
The book comes with no power cords, transformers or car chargers — and Cameron refuses to explain where it gets its electricity. (Solar?) Should a buyer ever open one of Cameron’s books and it fails to come on, Cameron Industries promises to replace it promptly once they’ve stopped laughing.
Cost: E-reader technology is expensive — several hundred dollars for the device and then prices ranging above $10 (each) for the content. Cameron offers a significant breakthrough on cost: Each book will cost less than a tenth of current e-readers, and the content is included free of charge. Additionally, the content in the book, once consumed, can be given to a friend, donated or re-sold — all difficult to do with today’s crop of e-readers.
Or, if the customer prefers, the books can be displayed on shelves, making an attractive addition to living-room walls. No one ever puts his e-reader out on display, though in coffee shops a lot of people like to show off that they were smart enough to spend hundreds of dollars on an e-reader so that they can read online newspapers while they drink $4 coffee.
“This is a significant step forward and a major win for the consumer. Even when book content costs more than e-reader content, it takes a lot of purchases to hit break-even,” Cameron boasts.
Marketing will also be different for the book — Cameron plans to sell his books through stores, where people will be able to flip through the pages, assess the reviews and compare the content of several books rapidly. “In these so-called ‘book stores,’ buyers will be able to scan the covers of dozens of books on display in mere seconds, as opposed to the slow loading of postage-stamp sized icons on the e-reading technology of today. The time-savings will be another enormous advantage.”
Cameron did not address how his book-store concept would enable people to see so much content at once, and frankly, we’re skeptical. Even with a 4G connection, for Cameron’s book to be able to offer so many choices so easily defies what we know about bandwidth.
Page-turn: While some e-readers are better than others at changing pages, Cameron brags that his book will afford the user the best page-turn in the industry. “The user will feel as if he is actually flipping a piece of paper,” states the product description. Further, flipping ahead or back in the book will be easier than in any other e-reader.
This one we did test. With some practice, our lab techs were able to flip ahead and back hundreds of pages at a time (using the book “Emory’s Gift,” which is the current content available from Cameron). Page-turns were faster than with any other reader, and Cameron is right: The feel is almost unbelievably realistic.
Ink: This one floored us. We initially assumed that the word “ink” described the digital ink with which the content is displayed, and indeed, the appearance of the pages is as good as anything currently on the market and is far superior to some when in direct sunlight. However, what Cameron Industries has managed to do is provide the ability for the user to make annotations directly on the page — annotations that are then saved with the content file for redisplay! This could be huge for students who want to make margin notes.
Our verdict: While we are hesitant to bet the future on so many unproven technologies, we’re too impressed with the book to count it out of the competition. Read on!
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