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Technology Advances In The Mobile Computing
- eBook -

The Early eBook Vendors

The Early eBook Vendors - SoftBook Inc. 

SoftBook Inc. provides a complete end-to-end Internet based solution for business, government and other organizations for fast, secure and cost effective distribution of real-time information.  Its system comprises of three main components: 

  • SoftBook Reader™ Device

  • SoftBook Network Services

  • SoftBook Publishing Tools

The system is designed to leverage an enterprise’s existing workflows and processes, along with IT infrastructure, to easily integrate into its current operations.

1. The SoftBook Reader, an electronic reading device, is an information appliance that integrates the Internet into a document delivery system.

With the SoftBook Reader, pages are presented in a book-like page layout, and  "turn" with the click of a button, rather than scrolling. It offers interactive features such as hyperlinks, key-word search, and annotations that provide a more effective learning and information-transfer tool than paper. Getting new reading material requires only a standard phone line. No computer is necessary.

Benefits and Features:

  • Portable, lightweight (2.9 lbs.) 6" width x 8" height (9.5" diagonal), grayscale, backlit, touch-sensitive LCD.

  • Stores 5,000 pages (8MB); capable of expanding to 50,000 pages with optional Flash Memory cards.

  • Built-in 33.6 kbps modem; download approximately 100 pages per minute.

  • Battery: Lithium-ion, rechargeable, removable, lightweight with two to five hours reading time.

  • Sophisticated searching, bookmarking, hyperlinking, text markup, and stylus for marking and highlighting.

  • Built-in Ethernet -doesn’t require a PC.

  • Integrates with the Internet for automatic updates, effective information management.

2. SoftBook Network Services: The SoftBook Reader is equipped with an Internet-based online bookshelf that serves as virtual library.  Real-time information and document updates are sent a user’s bookshelf via secure service called SoftBook Express™.  When a user connects their eBook device to a phone line or office network, the information required is automatically delivered.  The entire system is secure and extendable throughout an enterprise for a variety of applications. 

The SoftBook Infocenter is a secure online site where companies can distribute electronic documents to authorized SoftBook Reader users. Web-browser based administration tools enable updating and management of documents. A patented authentication and security system validates users when they connect to the network. Also included in the system is a nationwide network for Internet access; users can connect to the system from any phone line without ISPs, complicated dialing scripts, or remote access network support.

Benefits and Features:

  • Reduces cost of distributing information.

  • Easy, immediate electronic document distribution.

  • Leverages existing IT infrastructure and work processes.

  • Powerful security and encryption.

3. SoftBook Publishing Tools:  Information is converted into SoftBook Editions for security, appropriate page layout, and compression. SoftBook offers a publishing tool kit for preparation of information for delivery to a SoftBook Reader.

  • SoftBook Personal Publisher converts Microsoft Word documents.

  • SoftBook Professional Publisher converts any Open eBook HTML, Quark and Adobe PageMaker documents.

  • SoftBook Auto Publisher automatically converts documents without manual intervention.

  • SoftBook Database Publisher can be used with corporate databases by automatically preparing database information for a SoftBook Reader.

All documents and data converted into SoftBook Editions can be automatically encrypted and secured for reading only on an authorized SoftBook reading device.

 Benefits and Features:

  • Uses HTML as the document format.

  • Fully compliant with the Open eBook specification. 

  • Accommodates virtually any document type.

  • Tools for anyone in the organization, including desktop publishing professionals.

  • Built-in security and encryption.

  • Leverages existing workflows, infrastructure, and processes.

  • Auto publishing for repetitive documents and databases.

Early eBook Vendors - NuvoMedia Inc.

Another vendor playing a large part in the development of the Open eBook specification is NuvoMedia Inc., the designers of the Rocket eBook solution for electronic publishing. It has three key components

1. The Rocket eBook: NuvoMedia's paperback-sized electronic book designed for reading Web-distributed content. It is provided with a cradle that plugs into a serial port on the reader's PC. NuvoMedia's proprietary network infrastructure allows Rocket eBook users to purchase and download electronic content from participating Web based retailers.

Benefits and Features:

  • Uses HTML as the document format.

  • Fully compliant with the Open eBook specification.

  • Accommodates virtually any document type.

  • Content downloaded from the World Wide Web is not restricted to the desktop.

  • Designed for reading with optimized screen technology.

  • Holds 4000 pages of text and graphics at a time.

  • Reader can search for or annotate any title.

  • Encryption technology alleviates copyright protection.

2. The RocketWriter allows Rocket eBook owners to easily create their own titles in RocketEdition format. Mobile workers can take their corporate documents, personal documents and Web pages with them.

Benefits and Features:

  • Easy Downloading of Personal and Corporate Documents Import text or HTML documents into the RocketLibrarian.

  • Within seconds, send documents to the Rocket eBook  - documents become portable.

  • Easy Downloading of Internet Documents.

  • Import Web pages to your RocketLibrarian.

  • Simply copy and paste the selected URLs into the RocketLibrarian.

  • Internal links and images are preserved.

 3. RocketLibrarian:  When creating documents, users simply save documents as HTML files and “drag” them into the RocketLibrarian. The document is then downloaded into the Rocket eBook or shared on the Rocket-Library.com Web site. To import a Web page simply copy and paste a URL into the RocketLibrarian. As the Web page is being imported, the RocketWriter also imports internal links and images

The key difference between the two solutions is that Rocket eBook owners use their PCs to connect to publishers and content providers whereas, SoftBook users connect using phone lines to connect to the SoftBook networking services.

For More Information: http://www.nuvomedia.com  



Related Resources:
The Open eBook Specification
Early Vendors
Early Applications


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