Now, I already have an excellent Acer 16″-screen laptop that serves as my desktop replacement…a 10″-screen Hannsnote netbook…and an 11.6″-screen Gateway subnotebook. The Hannsnote I take out on the weekends, when most wifi coffeehouses are so filled up there is no free AC outlet (and I carry a spare Hannsnote battery for just such cases). The Gateway is used on the weekdays, and is my on-the-hoof workhorse.
Well, I wan’t planning to get a portable touch-tablet system until some time late next year, considering I’m already happily saturated w/PC gadgets (which also includes my 3.5″-screen Pyrus mini media player). But then, after viewing various video reviews of all the new tablets/slates/epads coming down the pike thanks to Apple’s release of the iPad that sparked this trend, I discovered this combination ebook reader and touch tablet: the Entourage Pocket eDGe Dualbook. (Which has a larger cousin, nowhere near as cuddly, cute and portable, BTW).
Well, when I learned about its various features and capabilities, I was wowed! An excellent Ebook reader in its own right: 6″ screen w/electronic ink on the left, capable of reading any e-format. On the right, a 7″ color touch screen for its netbook alter ego.
The Dualbook opens a full 360 degrees, so the two screens replace the front and back covers. You then have a tablet PC on one side, and an ebook reader on the other. Though of course you can lay it out flat, to see both screens at once, if that’s your pleasure.
Now, the idea for me was not to go back to a smaller Internet screen w/a resolution not capable of sophisticated graphics such as on Google Earth. The idea is actually to finally own a touch screen, along with a quality ebook reader that was not just capable of handling all the available e-formats, but one that would show me the web while reading…so in a pinch I could look up related works, references, and images. And for that, I do not need a large Internet screen. I already use a dual monitor hookup at home (laptop screen 16″, peripheral screen 15″)…though such an arrangement is obviously not portable.
The Pocket eDGe is exceedingly portable, no larger than a paperback book (and thinner than many)…so is really perfect for riding public transit (especially BART on my way to and fro Berkeley), and my daily coffeehouse musing. Because the operating system is Android (a Linux derived system), it has access to tons of mostly free apps, including Entourage’s own apps library. (Apps are applications devised for mobile devices.) Before this device came out in November, such apps were only available to run on a (smart) cell phone. But Android apps have been growing in diversity and sophistication as to by now lay claim to a huge number of excellent (and free) utilities and games, games, games. So, with Pocket eDGe, I can now explore the universe of apps…seeing as I maintain a diehard resistance to owning and using a cell phone. (Mostly because of the ridiculous expenses and corrupt surprise fees typical of every mobile phone service…with which my meager stipend dare not muck around.)
The Pocket Dualbook will also serve for my nightly reading at home, while resting in my bed or easy chair, as I used to before the days of the personal computer forced me to acquire the new habit of sitting upright at my desk and staring into a bright screen. Back to the future, I suppose!
You can also handwrite notations to ebooks, highlight passages, and link web pages! The Entourage eDGe also plays audio files in all the popular formats, just like an iPod; as well as videos, movies and TV shows. You can also sketch and paint to your heart’s delight, for there are numerous FREE paint/draw apps for the eDGe (which you might notice is the perfect size for a sketch book!)
Jeez, I almost forgot: let us not end this article without mentioning the zillions of free ebooks one can acquire from dedicated literary sites such as Project Gutenberg, Free-ebooks, Best Ebook World, ManyBooks.net, Borders Ebooks, Digital Book Index, Ebook Directory and Ebook and PDA Documents for your Handheld.
What did I pay for this excellent portable Dualbook? $335 total (the lowest price I could find), from B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio, a highly reputable online source for your multimedia needs. In fact, they score the highest rating I’ve ever seen for an online shop.
To really appreciate what a unique and excellent device is the Entourage Dualbook, you gotta visit their web site, and check out this video (it’ll blow your geek-lovin’ socks off):