Original post from June 5th 2007
As I just mentioned in my review of the Sony eReader it "fits in the back pocket of my jeans" which is something not many mobile devices beyond a phone can do. I wouldn't sit on it but it is fine while walking and I would even say it goes unnoticed.
The other day I was leaving home to collect my daughter from school. She often likes to go to the play-park near home with other school friends and play for a while before coming home. Sometimes that 15min-30min wait in the park while they play together is the only "quiet reading time" I ever get and so often I take a newspaper, a work document I've printed to read, or my current book, with me.
This time, as my "current book" was an eBook and it resided inside the Sony eReader (after having started to read it with the iRex iLiad eReader) I decided to take it with me. To my surprise it slipped into the back pocket of my jeans, and was covered by my shirt. Something in fact that I couldn't do with either a newspaper, printed A/A4 document, or the paper books I usually ready - leaving my hands free!
With other electronic devices, for screen reading you become "photo-phobic", seeking the dimly let areas where you can read your screen at ease. One change of mindset I am still trying to get used to with the reflective (eInk) eBook screen is the opposite. Seek the light! The brighter the better!
Sometimes reading at home in a dimly lit room with it can in fact be a strain, but the park in bright sunshine would be perfect reading conditions!
Everything went as planned and I got my 20minutes of reading done, and she enjoyed the swings.
It's definitely something I would not attempt to do with my PDA or my Laptop, due to many reasons - one of them being the display readability in bright light.
This helps build confidence in me that there maybe space between the mobile phone and the laptop in the "mobile device continuum", in terms of form factor and readability for devices targeted at the task of reading.
As the technology of the screens and other components progress, and designs improve I think things will only get better.