As I sit here with too many windows open, tweaking tags and wishing I had time to read a wonderful Bernard Shaw piece I found, part of my mind is dreaming about a device that never quite came into existance.

I really, really wish I could read the net while stretched back on my couch with my feet up, just like I read magazines.

Remember the eBook? That was a half-assed lcd thing that only ran eBook book software, and so doomed itself. The company displayed a remarkable ignorance of convergence, or of any knowledge that you can make specialized standalone gadgets, but only if they're cheap.

For a while I had looked at the Sony Vaio notebooks and thought, "That's it -- we're almost there!" Take that lightweight bigscreen wonder and hold it sideways and half open, with the screen on the right. Just like a book, see? Now, sit back with it resting on your belly, and hold it with your left hand behind like so: fingertips just over the top edge. Have a little app that rotates the display 90 degrees, and once rotated, the Backspace, \, Enter, Shift keys get remapped as simple navigation buttons. You load in an eBook file, flip a page forward, flip a page back. Simple, comfortable, and no need to buy that second piece of gear.

But we have the net now, and four buttons don't cut it. So to heck with eBooks, eBook files, and adapted laptops. How about a wireless lcd display and an input pen? Sort of like a two-way Wacom tablet. It's not a computer, so it can be lighter and cheaper than a laptop. It's just for getting out of your chair and leaning back to read in a relaxed fashion, or for sketching like it's a notepad. Oh god, my back feels better just thinking about being able to change position like that. What would such an item cost? Considered alongside the cost of Aeron chairs and the company masseuse and just being able to work better longer, I have a feeling these could do rather well.


Update: Fujitsu gets it! ZIBA did a prototype of this for them. Unfortunately their idiotic 'high end' site design makes it difficult to link properly. The photos are here. If you want other info, you have to go through ZIBA's front door and dig.

This site is strictly personal. I give no guarantee to the accuracy of my facts or my fictions.
© 2000 Owen Briggs
last modified on 23 June 2000