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Hearst's eReader…actually looks kind of awesome (but…)

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I’ve never been a huge fan of eReaders. If I were still in college and I had one as an alternative to hauling around 75 pounds of books? Yes, please. But I have a laptop and an iPhone, which combined, get me all the news I need in easy-to-read formats.

That said, Hearst’s Skiff Reader is a pretty sleek looking device:

Hearst's Skiff Reader bends

It bends...

Hearst's Skiff Reader is super thin

...and it's super thin.

Kudos to Hearst for building something that not only looks good, but also has a couple unique qualities.

Still, I don’t see any eReader saving the newspaper industry, nor do I see the point in designing a device tailor made for an old medium. Check out the top photo—yep, that’s the print edition of the San Francisco Chronicle in its full, black-and-white glory (see more pictures in Mashable’s post). While that’s likely just due to a “we needed a stand-in for the promo art,” the question remains as to whether Hearst is building the device around existing content or if they’re planning on crafting a whole new way of content delivery to fit the device.

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  • http://www.cbc.ca/bc Ben Rippel

    But, I’d take back the print P-I over “seattlePI.com” – not having an iPhone and not wanting to carry my (expensive) laptop with me all the time. The photos you have make it look nice. Thin and bendable are positive features I could see as well.

    Question #2 for me is – can it speak audio? Can it enlarge print beyond our usual range? My grandma is going blind and really needs assistance in the most basic task of reading.

  • http://paulbalcerak.com paulbalcerak

    @Ben – Good points. I never really considered any eReader to be a “bargain” purchase. I suppose the initial cost is probably similar to an iPhone, but the subsequent costs (re: AT&T contract vs. …nothing) are miles apart. Thin and bendable are good features, though for me to really like it, I’d need to be able to spill water/coffee/beer/etc. all over it, too.

    As for your “Question #2,” I think if it’s going to have a fighting chance, it’s going to have to include all the features we’ve come to expect from hand-held devices (sizable text, scrolling, etc.). I also think it would benefit from, like I said, not forcing an old medium into a new platform. I’d love the print P-I, too, but even better would be if I could build my own newspaper categories and pick which feeds dumped into those categories. That way, I could pick up my Skiff every morning and basically have a “newspaper” that I designed myself. Sure, that’s basically what any RSS reader does, but imagine if your RSS could be formatted to fit larger and smaller spaces on your screen to emphasize prominence among your custom-built categories.

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