During 2009, e-readers were operating at maximum efficiency with over 2.2 million devices being shipped to stores. In 2010, the demand for e-readers is expected to increase by more than 50%. Their operating systems create the necessary base for these popular devices. Many first-class eBook Readers run full operating systems and can function like a computer.
It is not surprising that Google Android tops the list of operating systems for e-readers. The Barnes and Noble ‘Nook’ was the first e-reader to use Google Android. Since that launch, Google Android has been used in various e-readers and that trend is expected to continue into the future.
Google Android gives users access to 1,000,000 free, public-domain books digitized by Google. All devices using the Android system can tap into Androi d apps and vice versa. In addition, Google understands that the real power of the open source Android lies with the Operating System Defaults. Google eBooks will serve as the default on every Android device.
The innovative eDGe e-reader, created by Entourage Systems, runs Google Android operating system. The eDGge is a netbook/e-reader combination which offers users the convenience of a Google toolbar on the right screen. Running on Wi-Fi and 3G networks, users can surf the internet, watch videos, or engage in video chat with this device.
Spring Design’s ‘Alex’ will also support Android apps. Yet any applications which require internet access will work only with Wi-Fi. With this dual-display e-reader, the 6.5″ e-ink screen for reading sits above a 3.5” color LCD. Users can display images and video, view notes, and even browse the web.
Expected to be released in 2010, the proposed Netronix, a collaboration between Texas Instruments and a Taiwanese networking specialist, is also an Android-based e-reader. Android e-readers allow portability of books (between Android e-readers) as well as access to Android apps.
The new Skiff reader is a Linux-based system. The Skiff reader is said to be the largest (11.5″) and thinnest (0.25″) with the highest-resolution (UXGA – 1200 x 1600). The Skiff reader is expected to be on sale later in the year. Interested buyers will be able to find it online and at over 1000 Sprint stores in the US.
Sony Reader runs the MontaVista Linux Professional Edition operating system. Sony ebook Library is not supported on Linux. Yet when this device is connected, it grants access to its flash memory and memory card slots (as if
they were USB Mass Storage Devices).
Amazon’s Kindle DX runs Linux-18.104.22.168. Operating system updates are received wirelessly and install automatically during a period in sleep mode in which the wireless is in operation. As it was noted in the article “Amazon Offer Kindle for Sale in Europe – Will they Succeed“, the device is being offered globally on the 3G network with no charges for the wireless connectivity that is used to download eBooks (Digital Book Readers). With its Wacom touchscreen, Illiad runs Linux 2.4 kernel.
Due to its open Linux operating system, Illiad can run third-party applications created for it. The Hanlin eReader v3, one of the first Open Source e-readers, is built on the Linux operating system. China’s Hanvon uses Infinix and Cool-er, Pocketbook, and Bookeen also run Linux.
Although Windows is slipping in popularity, it will remain a major player in operating system market for many years into the future. Sony PRS-505/SC Digital eBook Reader, with its company software Sony ebook Library, is similar to iTunes and requires Windows. The software will not work on the 64-bit version of Windows XP but does support Windows Vista and Windows 7. Recent announcements point to the use of Windows 7 in new color ’slate’ e-readers such as Archos or HP. The Taiwanese company, MSI, has also created an e-reader/computer combo which runs Windows 7.
E-readers with operational systems, such as the leading Google Android, encourage openness. These innovative devices are ‘cracked’ to allow users to run Android apps as well as download music and access social networks. Yet Fortify Software, the application vulnerability specialist, has issued a warning to corporations about possible security issues with modified e-readers. When a devise is ‘cracked’ or repurposed in this manner, there isn’t any way to check the security of the operating system ‘cracks’ or newly installed programs.
For usage outside the corporate world, however, e-readers have few drawbacks. E-reader companies are always trying to improve on features, performance, and design. E-readers have made a tremendous impact on the reading experience – what we read, where we read, and how we read books and newspapers. More and more people are choosing e-readers and their state-of-the art operating systems are helping to drive that demand.