Energy Efficient eBook-Reader Runs on Linux

Sep 18, 2008

The Hanlin eReader V3 from Tianjin Jinke Electronics out of China claims to provide a month of use between battery charges. By then 10,000 pages of reading should have been possible – provided you have the requisite time and patience.

Thanks to its ePaper electronic ink display, the Hanlin eReader V3 can save on power consumption, according to its producer. Once a page is fully displayed, further power is not needed. An additional benefit is that the text-to-background contrast helps readability in even the poorest light.

Unlike Amazon’s Kindle eBook reader, which is also based on electronic ink technology, the Hanlin is not equipped with Internet access. However, this point is moot for non-U.S. users in that Amazon’s Kindle is available only in the U.S. due to its dependence on Sprint’s EVDO network.

The Hanlin device accepts content over an SD card (up to 4 Gbytes) or via USB 1.1, with text formats including PDF, DOC, MP3, HTML, TXT, CHM, PNG, TIF, GIF, JPG, PPT, EPUB and LIT. It supports numerous languages (with more to come) and weighs 7.5 ounces. Wolf Linux, an apparent Chinese Linux variant, is the operating system and the device runs on a Samsung Arm9 CPU at 200 MHz. Memory consists of a 32 MB SDRAM and an internal 2 MB NOR Flash. The 6-inch display should be easily readable at a resolution of 800x600 pixels. A stereo audio jack is included.

Availability of the source code is still questionable. December of last year, a user on the GPL violations mailing list tried unsuccessfully to obtain certain source code elements.

The Hanlin eBook is unlikely to be on Ebay any time soon, but is available for $361 from the Jinke website, albeit only by bank wire transfer (no credit cards or PayPal). Alternatively, the product is orderable as the “Walkbook” from a vendor out of Istanbul via PayPal.

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