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Re: [ebook-community] Tablet PC and ebooks

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  • Michael Hart
    We obviously do not need high resolution for reading displays, if this were so, we wouldn t have digital clocks that we read fine with just 6 pixels per
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 30, 2002
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      We obviously do not need high resolution for reading displays,
      if this were so, we wouldn't have digital clocks that we read
      fine with just 6 "pixels" per character, as I see on the clock
      sitting in front of me.

      Of course, it takes a few more to cover more characters,
      but the point is more emotional than rational, as below:


      On Fri, 29 Nov 2002, Jon Noring wrote:
      [snip]

      > >To Utilitarians such as myself, most of these features are overkill,
      > >and I would be only tooo happy to have the option NOT to pay for them.
      >
      > I go by the belief that the vast majority of book readers (but not all
      > of them, of course) want their visual reading experience to be
      > comparable to that of ink on paper -- that's also a "utilitarian" factor.

      I have to disagree here, and pretty strongly.

      This is a "habit" factor,
      not a "Utilitarian" factor.

      There is NO reason that future technology should look like past technology,
      though we as a species seem VERY reluctant to accept "changes in our cages."

      I accept that while there may be no REASON for this, there is obviously
      great EMOTION about it, and emotion should not to tossed out as a factor.

      However, emotion should not be the ruling factor of future technology.

      We went through this whole thing when iron and steel replaced wood, brick
      and stone in major architecture, but you will notice that, even after 100
      years, I can't be sure that even half the people in any large country live
      in homes made of anything but wood, brick and stone, the materials people
      have used to build homes for thousands of years. . . .

      We *do* have a few steel homes here in town, but they never caught on,
      the rest are commercial buildings, of course.

      However, they don't drive over bridges made of wood, stone, and brick
      any longer, other than our famous "covered bridges" and the like.

      > They will be very hesitant to change their reading habits
      > (switch from paper to digital) until this need is met,

      We all have different needs. . .and soft cuddly book materials
      isn't one of mine. . .I would gladly toss most of my books into
      the computer. . . .

      > and met without paying big $$$ for a dedicated ebook reader. (On the other
      > hand, multi- purpose tablet pc's with an 8-10" diagonal screen of the
      > requisite resolution may interest many of these people since they are going
      > to use a computer anyway, so if it happens to also be optimum for reading
      > ebooks, then they are much more likely to consider the switch despite the
      > high cost of the flat screen component.)

      Optimum. . .hmmm. . .I never belive ANYthing is optimum. . . .

      EVERYthing can be improved.

      To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw:

      The reasonable man adapts everythign to the world as it exists;
      the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
      Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.


      > Anyway, to accomplish this "comparable to paper" reading experience
      > requires at least a 150 dpi flat screen with dimensions similar to a
      > paperback, e.g. about 8.5" diagonal (for a 3:4 aspect ratio, this
      > nicely happens to work out to an XGA screen in portrait mode, 768x1024,
      > so a Tablet PC with an 8.5" diagonal screen (5.1"x6.8") -- if the
      > Tablet PC spec allows this small of a screen -- would do the job.)

      See clock comments above. . . .

      > >I think I'm going to go back to Radio Shack and buy a couple of those
      > >little sub $10 gizmos, just so I can tell you more about the screens.
      > >I'm sure the rez isn't hi, etc., but the cost/benefit ratio is *HUGE*!

      I went back and bought one. . .it's pretty cute, and is the form factor
      of most PDA's, complete with touch screen. Interesting that some of
      these PDAs charge as much for a replacement stylus as the total price
      of this gizmo, which comes with it's own flip-cover and stylus and manual.

      > Well, if *you* are happy with reading on a very low-rez (and probably
      > b&w) screen, all the power to you. But I don't believe the vast
      > majority of the book readers in this country will ever enthusiastically
      > choose that option. They'll say the books read like shit (pardon my French).

      I never felt the need for my books to have any other colors than B & W,
      other than for possible illustrations, but most of my books don't come
      with color illustrations, except for art books, which I pay more for
      because of that. However, I don't expect my eBook reader to really
      be able to present the Mona Lisa in lifelike color and resolution.
      I don't even expect that of my most powerful computer with 21" monitor.

      > [I have had the fortune to look at an ebook on a MyFriend prototype
      > using the Toshiba 7.7" 150 ppi screen, and was so blown away that
      > everything else pales in comparison. I have *no* interest in anything
      > less as a result. Sure, I have a PocketPC to evaluate how my ebooks
      > look on that device, and of course a high-quality 17" IBM monitor to
      > do likewise, but I plan to wait to buy anything for personally reading
      > ebooks until I can get my hands on a 150 ppi portable tablet pc device.

      However, the device above costs as much as I just saw for a 2.7Ghz P4,
      with totally killer game video card, 5 USB2 ports, 3 Firewire ports,
      RAMStick port, digital camera RAM port, PCMCIA port, 120G drive, DVD/CD
      drive, etc. . . . Actually, I'm going to presume yours costs a lot more,
      since the quoted manufacter's cost of the Toshiba screen was nearly as
      much as this whole machine. . . .

      > And I believe that most people would have the same reaction as I had:
      > sit them at a table with a Rocket, a Palm, a Hiebook, PocketPC, an
      > ordinary Tablet PC with a 12" screen, and a tablet with the Toshiba
      > screen or similar (or maybe an 8.5" Tablet PC with high-quality XGA
      > screen), and then ask them to pick which ones they would be happy to
      > use to buy and read ebooks on. They may start off by saying the Rocket
      > and Hiebook (or even the Palm) would be fine, but then when they look
      > at the 150 ppi tablet solutions most will likely say "to hell with the
      > others, *this* is what I want".]

      When I go to library association meetings, as hold up all these various
      form factors, etc., the audience is very equally divided among them all
      as to which they would prefer. . .with no mention of cost involved. . . .

      > Again, this is what I believe, which I admit may be wrong (I've been
      > very wrong many times before.) But I've talked with enough people who
      > are avid book readers, and this is the most common theme which seems
      > to be important to them among several important requirements -- visual
      > presentation quality competitive to ink on paper.

      To me this is reminiscent of building copies of wooden bridges out of
      materials such as iron and steel, or perhaps even out of carbon fiber.

      Paper just happens to look like paper. . . . I have actually read
      books from before the Gutenberg Press. . .and the paper, surprise,
      looks like paper. . .and it probably looked better 500-1,000 years ago.

      If paper had happened to be made out of something blue, would we have
      bleached out ALL of the blue, or would we have intentionally left some in,
      and still be doing that with our eBook displays?

      Why should something made today look like something made ages ago?

      "Form Follows Function" at least to Utilitarians. . . .

      > >> Some prediction of the future. "The report predicts that the average
      > >> panel-price per diagonal inch could fall by up to 40 per cent between
      > >> 2001 and 2006." What's interesting here is that the price drops plus
      > >> performance gains are not that dramatic, as compared to harddrives
      > >> and CPUs, which have followed breathtaking, almost revolutionary
      > >> changes in 4 years. In the LCD world, dramatic over 4 years is a 40%
      > >> gain or drop in anything! The LCD component is getting better and
      > >> cheaper, but it is a painstakingly slow march, unfortunately -- it
      > >> definitely does not follow Moore's Law.
      >
      > >The question is: Why Not?
      > >
      > >I get 21" monitors today that would have been $10,000 10 years ago. . .
      > >for just a few hundred bucks, and with high refresh rates, energy savers,
      > >and all that.
      >
      > I assume you mean CRT monitors? If so, my focus is on portable ebook-
      > capable reading devices, and it's tough to visualize using a CRT for
      > that. <laugh/>

      That's my point. . . .

      "Some look at things as they are,
      and they ask. . .Why?

      "Others look at things are they are not,
      and they ask. . .Why Not?"

      > Regarding why LCD flat screens have not dramatically come down in cost,
      > I really don't know. It is actually mystifying.

      I prefer not to deal with mystical manufacturers.

      I would rather have rationality, and rationality wants
      an answer to the LCD clock I just bought with a large screen.


      Thanks!!!

      Happy Holidays!!!

      Michael S. Hart
      <hart@...>
      Project Gutenberg
      Principal Instigator
      "*Internet User ~#100*"
    • Michael Hart
      On Fri, 29 Nov 2002, Jon Noring wrote: [big snip] ... I wasn t going to mention that. . . . ... A word about Moore s Law, before we go on: As originally
      Message 2 of 16 , Nov 30, 2002
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        On Fri, 29 Nov 2002, Jon Noring wrote:

        [big snip]

        > Regarding why LCD flat screens have not dramatically come down in cost,
        > I really don't know. It is actually mystifying.
        >
        > As was pointed out to me in private last night by a long-time
        > acquaintance who is very knowledgeable in ebook matters, I made a bold
        > prediction a few years ago that by now high-resolution full-color LCD
        > panels (like the Toshiba 7.7" ebook screen) would be dirt cheap,
        > priced on the order of just tens of dollars *per square foot*.

        I wasn't going to mention that. . . .

        > Obviously, this has not happened. I based my prediction on applying a
        > Moore's Law-like curve to both the performance and the cost of LCD

        A word about Moore's Law, before we go on:

        As originally stated, Moore's Law predicted RAM growth ONLY. . . .

        The major pundits ALL said that NOTHING else could keep up:

        Not CPUs
        Not Drives
        Not Video Cards
        Not Monitors

        and

        Especially NOT people driven enterprises, such as Project Gutenberg:

        Given a Moore's Law progression of 1.5874% per year, from the 10
        eBooks Project Gutenberg had online December 10, 1990, this follows:

        Predict Yrs Date
        Total

        10 0 12/10/90
        16 1 12/10/91
        25 2 12/10/92
        40 3 12/10/93
        64 4 12/10/94
        101 5 12/10/95
        160 6 12/10/96
        254 7 12/10/97
        403 8 12/10/98
        640 9 12/10/99
        1,012 0 12/10/00
        1,614 1 12/10/01
        2,562 2 12/10/02
        4,067 3 12/10/03
        6,456 4 12/10/04 <<< We will hit this TWO years early, 12/10/02
        ^^^ Only a few days from now. . .now at 6437 !

        Sorry, had to mention that. . .who's to say what's impossible?

        The person who says it cannot be done
        Should not interrupt the person doing it.
        Ancient Chinese Proverb

        The person who says something can't be done,
        is often interrupted by someone doing it.

        If we all did the things we are capable of doing,
        we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas Edison

        "Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's
        original, you will have to ram it down their throats."
        Howard Aiken

        "In Project Gutenberg you can work on a book for
        a day, for a week, for a month, or for a year,
        and be sure it will become available to millions
        the day it is completed, and then to billions."

        My own feelings about this:

        "Never in the field of literacy or literature,
        have so many owed so much to so few. . . ."
        Paraphrase of Winston Churchill


        And now back to:

        > LCD flat screens. All the other components in computing devices, such as
        > CPUs, memory, hard-drives and video cards, have essentially followed
        > a Moore's Law-like curve, where performance gains and/or costs shrink
        > by a factor of two in only a 1-2 year time frame (and only level off
        > when there is little market pressure to do any better.) And I believed,
        > looking at the similarities of LCD manufacture to chip production,
        > that LCD would follow a similar curve since the market pressure to
        > produce high-resolution LCD flat screens for computers, TVs, and
        > many other devices, is *immense*.

        Again, I must ask "Why?" and "Why Not?"

        > It clearly has not. Samsung is talking about a 40% drop in
        > manufacturing cost in the next *5 years*, not exactly anything in line
        > with the Spirit of Moore.

        I've known people who worked with Samsung, and I should probably
        not repeat what they said.

        > Now, there are two ways to look at this: 1) it is a price-fixing
        > conspiracy (maybe the Trilateral Commission is behind it), or 2) there
        > are some real knotty technical issues with the mass production of LCD
        > screens that have yet to be fully solved.

        Let's not pretend there hasn't been any price fixing, or cast it away
        lightly with Trilateral jokes. . . . tho with any increase in communication
        and financial tranfers comes changes in the structure of megacorporations.

        We have to consider that all the advances/advantages we are enjoying
        right now, were enjoyed by the megadudes years ago. . .and THEY took
        the giant leap WE are taking now way back then. . . .

        Nothing like a severely tilted playing field, eh?

        > I believe we can cross out #1 right away, since the market pressures
        > governing the production of LCD's is similar to that of the other
        > components. There is a large amount of competition among the many
        > manufacturers, and during times of slowdown (as we have now), profit
        > margins are near zero. Anyway, anyone coming up with a way to produce
        > very high-rez full-color LCD for dollars a square foot would become a
        > billionaire, so there is a *huge* incentive to make this happen. And I
        > do know a lot of R&D is going into this area among various industrial
        > and academic laboratories, as much as is going into storage and CPUs,
        > if not more.

        This is the same thing they said about making cars. . . .

        > This leaves #2 as the only plausible explanation: it's simply a damn
        > hard technical problem to cheaply manufacture LCD flat screens.

        As with most things, I'm going to guess it's some of both.

        But I still have questions about those large screen clocks. . . .

        It can't just be the screen cost, it has to be resolution, and probably
        even more factors. . .but since _I_ don't worry about hi res reading,
        _I_ can simply go on with the 5 year old laptops I buy at garage sales
        for as much as the LCD clocks. . .they are perfect for eBook reading.

        > >> http://www.monitor4u.com/english/news/cont.asp?idx=243&contdiv=Company%20Info
        > >> Good discussion of Samsung's goals in reducing LCD manufacturing cost,
        > >> as well as technical discussion. Their goal in the next 5 years for
        > >> monitor-grade LCD (medium-resolution) is to reduce their manufacturing
        > >> cost to about $10/inch! It is now about double that. Sixth and 7th
        >
        > >So. . .a 7" x 7" screen would cost $490 to make?
        >
        > No, apparently the cost for a particular linear resolution LCD
        > correlates with the diagonal measurement, dollars per inch diagonal.
        > If that is what those in the manufacturing industry use, then that's
        > what it is.

        Can anyone check on this?

        You are saying a 5" diagonal screen would cost $50 OEM?
        You are saying a 6" diagonal screen would cost $60 OEM?
        You are saying a 7" diagonal screen would cost $70 OEM?

        This obviously breaks down if you go much further either way,
        as per my small screen devices that cost $10 or so, but this
        says the screen would cost $20 to make, all by itself?

        And I'm aware of the size limits on large screens.

        > I sort of understand this since presently each LCD is made one at
        > a time to size -- they are not simply cut out of a large pre-made roll
        > and the electronic attachments made (this, as I understand it, is the
        > Holy Grail in the LCD industry -- how to make them in huge rolls and
        > then simply cut them out and attach the electronics to each piece.
        > I know of at least one company working on doing this.)

        That's the dream. . . .

        I've heard rumors. . . .

        > So, a 7.7" diagonal screen with the typical monitor quality (appr.
        > 90 ppi) should have a manufacturing cost today of about $150, which

        What happened to the $10 per inch mentioned above?

        > is really not that bad. However, what I surmise is that if one goes to
        > 150 ppi for the same size screen, the manufacturing cost will be
        > significantly higher than $150 -- how much, I don't know, something I
        > hope to find out the next few days (I'd like to know the general
        > "equation" which approximately describes the manufacturing cost using
        > current best technology based on size, resolution, and LCD type.)

        I'd love to find out more.

        > Again, anyone here who is very knowledgeable with the history, present
        > status, new technologies, and likely future trends in the LCD flat
        > screen industry, speak up!

        I second that!

        > >Then how did I just by those clocks with that much screen for $30?
        > >[List was $50. . . .]
        >
        > Do these have full-color TFT screens with 150 ppi resolution? <laugh/>

        We already went over the color issue.

        Perhaps that's one of the differences.

        We should probably make charts for color, B&W, various lighting
        and resolutions. . . .

        This would be a great tool, esp. if we could discover some
        historical trends.

        Michael

        BTW, I remember pocket LCD TV's that weren't all that expensive,
        and that was a LONG time ago. . . .
      • Jon Noring
        ... However, not all reading is the same. The resolution requirements for comfortable reading of a book in ludic fashion is a lot more stringent than that for
        Message 3 of 16 , Dec 1, 2002
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          Michael Hart wrote:
          >Jon Noring wrote:

          >We obviously do not need high resolution for reading displays,
          >if this were so, we wouldn't have digital clocks that we read
          >fine with just 6 "pixels" per character, as I see on the clock
          >sitting in front of me.

          However, not all reading is the same.

          The resolution requirements for comfortable reading of a book in ludic
          fashion is a lot more stringent than that for a quick glance to obtain
          certain information (e.g., what is the time? Who won the War of 1812?)

          I believe this is touched upon in Bill Hill's white paper "The Magic
          of Reading". His paper can be downloaded from Slate at:

          http://slate.msn.com/ebooks/magic.lit

          It is, of course, in MS Reader format and open (not DRM protected.)

          (Bill Hill coined the word 'ludic' to describe the immersive type of
          reading. His paper goes over reading ergonomics, the human
          physiological and psychological factors which govern reading, etc.)

          Granted, people vary quite a bit in their ability to comfortably read
          in a ludic fashion with much less than perfect (appr. < 300dpi) print.
          I cannot read anything for longer than 5 minutes on my PocketPC,
          including my own ebooks -- I've tried -- I simply cannot read for any
          extended period of time on my PocketPC. I know people who can read
          long tomes on their Palm and I wonder how they do it. Obviously you
          could read "War and Peace" for days on end on a 10ppi clock radio screen
          and get immersed in it. That's fine. So the question is are either you
          or I or the Palm readers the norm? I think not. But where is the mean
          *currently at* and how does the distribution look for the general book
          buying public?


          >Of course, it takes a few more to cover more characters,
          >but the point is more emotional than rational, as below:

          There may be an emotional aspect to it since every human response is
          essentially emotionally-based at the fundamental level (e.g., the
          drive by some to be wholly rational and logical, to emulate Mr.
          Spock, is itself driven by trying to meet some innate emotional need.)

          However, Bill Hill points out the known physiological aspects of
          reading, and though all the points are debatable, he does make a
          very strong case for the need for both high resolution and high
          typographical layout quality for optimum ludic reading. How much
          this need can be scaled back as people adapt to it is unknown --
          Bill would likely say not much, while you will say it can be scaled
          back a whole lot if people get used to it.


          >However, emotion should not be the ruling factor of future technology.

          I agree with you here, but those who develop and market new technologies
          must not ignore where people now are, at their peril.


          >We went through this whole thing when iron and steel replaced wood, brick
          >and stone in major architecture, but you will notice that, even after 100
          >years, I can't be sure that even half the people in any large country live
          >in homes made of anything but wood, brick and stone, the materials people
          >have used to build homes for thousands of years. . . .

          Again, I agree with you, but this only illustrates that ingrained
          habits are hard to overcome. If someone wishes to market something
          which goes against these ingrained habits, the onus is on them to
          overcome these habits by better marketing showing the clear benefits
          to users, by adapting as much as possible to current needs (don't go
          too far), and by proper timing -- with a dose of luck.

          As the Bible book "Ecclesiastes" (my favorite book of the Bible) says:
          there is a time and place for everything under the sun, and nothing
          can happen before its time.

          The Ford Edsel, for example, was actually a very innovative car and
          had a lot of cool stuff in it. But it was too far ahead of its time.
          And as such it is viewed by many, and unjustifiably so, as a "lemon",
          the car nobody wanted, rather than the car that was ahead of its
          time. The Edsel was simply "before its time".


          >We *do* have a few steel homes here in town, but they never caught on,
          >the rest are commercial buildings, of course.

          Well, actually I've seriously thought of building my next house out of
          steel, but then being a solar power and biomass energy researcher in a
          former life, I've always been too far ahead of my time. <laugh/>
          (That's why I am sensitive and aware of the concept of "before its
          time" -- I've learned the hard way to be cognizant of this.)


          >I went back and bought one. . .it's pretty cute, and is the form factor
          >of most PDA's, complete with touch screen. Interesting that some of
          >these PDAs charge as much for a replacement stylus as the total price
          >of this gizmo, which comes with it's own flip-cover and stylus and manual.

          I've always thought that PDA's are quite expensive for what they
          do (I know their flat screens are not *that* expensive considering
          their size and resolution, even for the Pocket PC). But then there
          are development costs which must be recovered, and the marketers
          probably did their work and determined if they sold them for $199
          each rather than $399 that there would not be enough market there --
          that is, the maximum profit point was at $399 (or whatever).


          >>[I have had the fortune to look at an ebook on a MyFriend prototype
          >>using the Toshiba 7.7" 150 ppi screen, and was so blown away that
          >>everything else pales in comparison. I have *no* interest in anything
          >>less as a result. Sure, I have a PocketPC to evaluate how my ebooks
          >>look on that device, and of course a high-quality 17" IBM monitor to
          >>do likewise, but I plan to wait to buy anything for personally reading
          >>ebooks until I can get my hands on a 150 ppi portable tablet pc device.

          >However, the device above costs as much as I just saw for a 2.7Ghz P4,
          >with totally killer game video card, 5 USB2 ports, 3 Firewire ports,
          >RAMStick port, digital camera RAM port, PCMCIA port, 120G drive, DVD/CD
          >drive, etc. . . . Actually, I'm going to presume yours costs a lot more,
          >since the quoted manufacter's cost of the Toshiba screen was nearly as
          >much as this whole machine. . . .

          And the big driver why the MyFriend is so expensive is because of the
          cost of the Toshiba flat screen.

          The MyFriend is likely going to fall flat on its face since its cost
          begins to compare with notebooks and Tablet PCs, and the latter are
          true computers running a "robust" OS (Windows, Linux, Mac), rather
          than Windows CE (a glorified PDA OS) which, the last time I looked,
          the MyFriend was running.

          (If I were to build an ebook-optimized device using the Toshiba 7.7"
          screen or something similar -- I'd prefer an 8.5" XGA portrait mode
          screen if there is one out there -- I'd make it a "slate-type" tablet,
          either being a Tablet PC, run ordinary Windows XP and forget the
          hand-writing capability, or run Linux.)


          >When I go to library association meetings, as hold up all these various
          >form factors, etc., the audience is very equally divided among them all
          >as to which they would prefer. . .with no mention of cost involved. . . .

          Well, I'd ask them which ones they would be happy to read "War and
          Peace" on in their free time, and which ones they would be happy to
          use to access reference works. You might get differing answers from
          a few of these folk.


          >> Regarding why LCD flat screens have not dramatically come down in cost,
          >> I really don't know. It is actually mystifying.

          >I prefer not to deal with mystical manufacturers.
          >
          >I would rather have rationality, and rationality wants
          >an answer to the LCD clock I just bought with a large screen.

          I can only surmise that there is a big difference in manufacturing
          cost between a 150 ppi full-color TFT LCD and a b&w low-rez LCD of
          probably a different type of LCD technology. So size is not the only
          parameter that determines the cost to manufacture an LCD. But not
          knowing anything more, I would say that fixing linear resolution (ppi)
          and LCD type, the diagonal size then is the predominant factor in
          determining the manufacturing cost.

          Jon
        • Jon Noring
          ... Well, I did. :^) And it illustrates why I am mystified (read on). ... True. But if you notice, I said Moore s Law-like . I define this as being a doubling
          Message 4 of 16 , Dec 1, 2002
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            Michael Hart wrote:
            >Jon Noring wrote:

            >>As was pointed out to me in private last night by a long-time
            >>acquaintance who is very knowledgeable in ebook matters, I made a bold
            >>prediction a few years ago that by now high-resolution full-color LCD
            >>panels (like the Toshiba 7.7" ebook screen) would be dirt cheap,
            >>priced on the order of just tens of dollars *per square foot*.

            >I wasn't going to mention that. . . .

            Well, I did. :^)

            And it illustrates why I am mystified (read on).


            >> Obviously, this has not happened. I based my prediction on applying a
            >> Moore's Law-like curve to both the performance and the cost of LCD

            >A word about Moore's Law, before we go on:
            >
            >As originally stated, Moore's Law predicted RAM growth ONLY. . . .

            True. But if you notice, I said "Moore's Law-like". I define this as
            being a doubling in an important parameter of performance (while
            fixing, if not lowering the cost) in a 1-2 year period of time, and
            occuring over several years (and not being just a single event.) Or,
            that for a fixed performance parameter, the cost will drop by half
            in the 1-2 year period of time.

            For example, if screens like the Toshiba 7.7" ebook screen followed a
            Moore's Law-like price curve (a halving of cost in 1 year) -- while
            fixing the performance -- and assuming its current manufacturing cost
            is around $300, then in 2003 a similar screen would cost $150 to make,
            and in 2004 it would be $75, and in 2005 it would be $37.50, and in
            2006 it would be $18.75, and in 2007 it would be $9.38. If the price
            curve halves every 2 years, then by 2007 the manufacturing cost would
            be $53.03 (if I calculated the exponential factor correctly), which is
            not too shabby -- that alone will be revolutionary.

            But unless something explodes on the scene the next year or two to
            dramatically drop LCD manufacturing costs (and we might see that
            happen), we will not see such a two-year halving in price in LCD flat-
            screens. We will likely see, though, improvements such as lower power
            consumption, better color saturation and dynamic range, improved
            viewing angle, better system interconnectivity, etc. (these things do
            continue to improve year by year in an evolutionary way.)


            >The major pundits ALL said that NOTHING else could keep up:
            >
            >Not CPUs
            >Not Drives
            >Not Video Cards
            >Not Monitors

            All these items have shown "Moore's Law-like" (MLL) growth for a
            significant part of their development. However, LCD displays have not
            yet reached MLL growth. Even CRT monitors have not had the same level
            of MLL growth over a long period of time as have hard-drives and CPUs,
            for example -- the gains in CRT monitors have only been very recent
            and relatively modest by comparison (nevertheless they are significant
            and very welcome.)


            >The person who says it cannot be done
            >Should not interrupt the person doing it.
            >Ancient Chinese Proverb
            >
            >The person who says something can't be done,
            >is often interrupted by someone doing it.

            Well, that's why I am mystified as to why LCD flat screens (or
            comparable technologies such as e-ink/e-paper) have not yet reached
            true MLL growth -- the potential is there (not only for computer use,
            but for HDTV and devices of all kinds), lots of money is being poured
            into the problem, and whoever accomplishes it will become a
            zillionaire -- the motivation is certainly there.

            That's why I am still very upbeat that flat screens will hit a stage
            of revolutionary gains that will make our heads spin as hard-drives
            have done recently -- but I thought it would have happened by now
            considering the market pressures which have existed for the last five
            to ten years, and not only in computers but for other areas such as
            HDTV.


            >If we all did the things we are capable of doing,
            >we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas Edison

            No argument with Edison here.


            >> Now, there are two ways to look at this: 1) it is a price-fixing
            >> conspiracy (maybe the Trilateral Commission is behind it), or 2) there
            >> are some real knotty technical issues with the mass production of LCD
            >> screens that have yet to be fully solved.

            >Let's not pretend there hasn't been any price fixing, or cast it away
            >lightly with Trilateral jokes. . . . tho with any increase in communication
            >and financial tranfers comes changes in the structure of megacorporations.

            Nevertheless, whichever evil megacorporation develops and patents
            the technology to manufacture hi-rez full color LCD's at tens of
            dollars a square foot will become very wealthy indeed. Maybe they'll
            be truly evil and still sell the screens for what they currently go
            for, but I would think the maximum profit price point for such LCD's
            will be a lot lower than it is now since dropping the prices below a
            threshold will open up many new markets throughout the world which up
            to now have been completely closed. And other evil megacorporations
            will not like this and work on their own alternative technologies so
            they can get a share of the pie... In essence, the evil
            megacorporations are now working on solving the LCD manufacturing
            problem so they can beat the other evil megacorporations who they
            believe are working on the same problem.

            So, even if we consider megacorporations to be the Devil Incarnate,
            this does not explain the current flat-screen display stagnation (of
            very slow performance/cost gains). I believe it is simply a huge
            technological barrier that requires one or more Ideas to cross-over.
            These Ideas will come (I thought they'd come by now), just as they
            have for CPUs and hard-drives which have overcome, and continue to
            overcome -- various technological barriers previously thought by
            many scientific experts to be physically impossible to scale (hard
            drive storage density is the prime example.)

            It's just a matter of time. When, I really no longer want to predict.


            >We have to consider that all the advances/advantages we are enjoying
            >right now, were enjoyed by the megadudes years ago. . .and THEY took
            >the giant leap WE are taking now way back then. . . .
            >
            >Nothing like a severely tilted playing field, eh?

            Well, it was the evil megacorporations which have given us the CPUs
            and hard-drives of today, with no end in sight in performance gains.
            <laugh/>

            I still believe the market forces which have driven down CPU and
            hard-drive prices with concomitant gains in performance are also
            there for flat-screen displays (and not only for computers, but
            for flat-screen HDTV use -- huge potential market there waiting
            for the $300 50" flat screen HDTV.)

            It's just a matter of one or two Ideas away...


            >BTW, I remember pocket LCD TV's that weren't all that expensive,
            >and that was a LONG time ago. . . .

            Again, a size/resolution/performance issue. There are certainly non-
            linearities and/or discontinuities in the current manufacturing cost
            equations for LCDs. I just don't know what they are. Something to add
            to my long "to-study" list.

            Jon
          • Jon Noring
            ... The current cost to manufacture LCD flat-screen panels of HDTV and monitor grade resolution (appr. 90 ppi or so) is around $20 per diagonal inch. The
            Message 5 of 16 , Dec 1, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              Michael Hart asked:
              >Jon Noring wrote:

              >> So, a 7.7" diagonal screen with the typical monitor quality (appr.
              >> 90 ppi) should have a manufacturing cost today of about $150, which

              >What happened to the $10 per inch mentioned above?

              The current cost to manufacture LCD flat-screen panels of HDTV and
              monitor grade resolution (appr. 90 ppi or so) is around $20 per
              diagonal inch. The $10-$15 per inch price is the projected cost in the
              next five years.

              Thus a 7.7" diagonal screen with a similar resolution and other
              performance parameters would cost about $150 to manufacture using the
              current generation of LCD manufacturing technology.

              Now, I do not understand how resolution (for a given size) affects the
              manufacturing cost, but I cannot help but think it is a significant
              factor, thus a 7.7" diagonal screen with 150 ppi (essentially the
              Toshiba ebook screen) should cost significantly more to manufacture
              (thus my "guesstimate", until I get a firm number, of about $250-$300
              per panel, and I deem this to be on the low-side.)

              Jon
            • Michael Hart
              ... Since HDTV hasn t caught on yet, the prices are obviously going to continue to be too high for this technology. . . . Interesting how much the goverments
              Message 6 of 16 , Dec 2, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                On Sun, 1 Dec 2002, Jon Noring wrote:

                > Michael Hart asked:
                > >Jon Noring wrote:
                >
                > >> So, a 7.7" diagonal screen with the typical monitor quality (appr.
                > >> 90 ppi) should have a manufacturing cost today of about $150, which
                >
                > >What happened to the $10 per inch mentioned above?
                >
                > The current cost to manufacture LCD flat-screen panels of HDTV and
                > monitor grade resolution (appr. 90 ppi or so) is around $20 per
                > diagonal inch. The $10-$15 per inch price is the projected cost in the
                > next five years.

                Since HDTV hasn't caught on yet, the prices are obviously going
                to continue to be too high for this technology. . . .

                Interesting how much the goverments have been pushing HDTV,
                and it still hasn't really gone anywhere. . . .

                I know they will say sales are up for the holidays, but the
                total penetration is still pretty minimal. . . .

                > Thus a 7.7" diagonal screen with a similar resolution and other
                > performance parameters would cost about $150 to manufacture using the
                > current generation of LCD manufacturing technology.

                Sorry, I got your current pricing confused with the predicted pricing.

                > Now, I do not understand how resolution (for a given size) affects the
                > manufacturing cost, but I cannot help but think it is a significant
                > factor, thus a 7.7" diagonal screen with 150 ppi (essentially the
                > Toshiba ebook screen) should cost significantly more to manufacture
                > (thus my "guesstimate", until I get a firm number, of about $250-$300
                > per panel, and I deem this to be on the low-side.)

                It's still way too much. . . .

                When the average new computer today costs $600 and change, it appears
                that theses little screens will cost more than the whole computer. . . .

                Normally the over the counter price is double to quadruple the cost
                of manufacturing, as I recall.


                Thanks!!!

                Happy Holidays!!!

                Michael S. Hart
                <hart@...>
                Project Gutenberg
                Principal Instigator
                "*Internet User ~#100*"
              • Michael Hart
                ... Don t get me wrong, I am NOT any kind of stickler, especially about calling ANY growth curve approximating doubling every 18 months, or +58.18% per year,
                Message 7 of 16 , Dec 2, 2002
                • 0 Attachment
                  On Sun, 1 Dec 2002, Jon Noring wrote:

                  > Michael Hart wrote:
                  > >Jon Noring wrote:
                  >
                  > >>As was pointed out to me in private last night by a long-time
                  > >>acquaintance who is very knowledgeable in ebook matters, I made a bold
                  > >>prediction a few years ago that by now high-resolution full-color LCD
                  > >>panels (like the Toshiba 7.7" ebook screen) would be dirt cheap,
                  > >>priced on the order of just tens of dollars *per square foot*.
                  >
                  > >I wasn't going to mention that. . . .
                  >
                  > Well, I did. :^)
                  >
                  > And it illustrates why I am mystified (read on).
                  >
                  >
                  > >> Obviously, this has not happened. I based my prediction on applying a
                  > >> Moore's Law-like curve to both the performance and the cost of LCD
                  >
                  > >A word about Moore's Law, before we go on:
                  > >
                  > >As originally stated, Moore's Law predicted RAM growth ONLY. . . .
                  >
                  > True. But if you notice, I said "Moore's Law-like".

                  Don't get me wrong, I am NOT any kind of stickler,
                  especially about calling ANY growth curve approximating
                  doubling every 18 months, or +58.18% per year, Moore's Law
                  growth patterning.

                  > I define this as being a doubling in an important parameter of performance
                  > (while fixing, if not lowering the cost) in a 1-2 year period of time, and
                  > occuring over several years (and not being just a single event.) Or, that for
                  > a fixed performance parameter, the cost will drop by half in the 1-2 year
                  > period of time.
                  >
                  > For example, if screens like the Toshiba 7.7" ebook screen followed a
                  > Moore's Law-like price curve (a halving of cost in 1 year) -- while
                  > fixing the performance -- and assuming its current manufacturing cost
                  > is around $300, then in 2003 a similar screen would cost $150 to make,
                  > and in 2004 it would be $75, and in 2005 it would be $37.50, and in
                  > 2006 it would be $18.75, and in 2007 it would be $9.38.

                  You *DO* admit it above, but I am not sure WHY you switched here to
                  doubling/halving every 12 months, rather than every 18 month. . . .

                  > If the price curve halves every 2 years, then by 2007 the manufacturing cost
                  > would be $53.03 (if I calculated the exponential factor correctly), which is
                  > not too shabby -- that alone will be revolutionary.

                  Since this kind of pricing structure has been avoided now and in the past,
                  so I don't see why it will become true in the next few years, much less
                  move to a 12 month period, when it hasn't come close to 18 months. . . .

                  > But unless something explodes on the scene the next year or two to
                  > dramatically drop LCD manufacturing costs (and we might see that
                  > happen), we will not see such a two-year halving in price in LCD flat-
                  > screens. We will likely see, though, improvements such as lower power
                  > consumption, better color saturation and dynamic range, improved
                  > viewing angle, better system interconnectivity, etc. (these things do
                  > continue to improve year by year in an evolutionary way.)

                  I'm afraid I'll only believe it when I see it. . . .
                  but I'll be only to glad to buy you dinner if it happens!

                  > >The major pundits ALL said that NOTHING else could keep up:
                  > >
                  > >Not CPUs
                  > >Not Drives
                  > >Not Video Cards
                  > >Not Monitors
                  >
                  > All these items have shown "Moore's Law-like" (MLL) growth for a
                  > significant part of their development. However, LCD displays have not
                  > yet reached MLL growth. Even CRT monitors have not had the same level
                  > of MLL growth over a long period of time as have hard-drives and CPUs,
                  > for example -- the gains in CRT monitors have only been very recent
                  > and relatively modest by comparison (nevertheless they are significant
                  > and very welcome.)

                  I guess I've had better luck with CRTs than you have. . . .

                  Perhaps you just never bought one when they were REALLY expensive.

                  I think they sold by the pound back then. . . .

                  >
                  >
                  > >The person who says it cannot be done
                  > >Should not interrupt the person doing it.
                  > >Ancient Chinese Proverb
                  > >
                  > >The person who says something can't be done,
                  > >is often interrupted by someone doing it.
                  >
                  > Well, that's why I am mystified as to why LCD flat screens (or
                  > comparable technologies such as e-ink/e-paper) have not yet reached
                  > true MLL growth -- the potential is there (not only for computer use,
                  > but for HDTV and devices of all kinds), lots of money is being poured
                  > into the problem, and whoever accomplishes it will become a
                  > zillionaire -- the motivation is certainly there.
                  >
                  > That's why I am still very upbeat that flat screens will hit a stage
                  > of revolutionary gains that will make our heads spin as hard-drives
                  > have done recently -- but I thought it would have happened by now
                  > considering the market pressures which have existed for the last five
                  > to ten years, and not only in computers but for other areas such as HDTV.

                  Again, it's obvious the jury is still out with HDTV,
                  even though legislation is trying to force in into
                  our alimentary canals. . .from either end. . . .

                  > >If we all did the things we are capable of doing,
                  > >we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas Edison
                  >
                  > No argument with Edison here.
                  >
                  >
                  > >> Now, there are two ways to look at this: 1) it is a price-fixing
                  > >> conspiracy (maybe the Trilateral Commission is behind it), or 2) there
                  > >> are some real knotty technical issues with the mass production of LCD
                  > >> screens that have yet to be fully solved.
                  >
                  > >Let's not pretend there hasn't been any price fixing, or cast it away
                  > >lightly with Trilateral jokes. . . . tho with any increase in communication
                  > >and financial tranfers comes changes in the structure of megacorporations.
                  >
                  > Nevertheless, whichever evil megacorporation develops and patents
                  > the technology to manufacture hi-rez full color LCD's at tens of
                  > dollars a square foot will become very wealthy indeed. Maybe they'll
                  > be truly evil and still sell the screens for what they currently go

                  I'm sure they will, for as long as they can. . .i.e. until someone else
                  figures out how to do it with other patents, and competes with them.

                  > for, but I would think the maximum profit price point for such LCD's

                  Isn't there a curve that shows TWO points of maximum profit?

                  One with low sales at high prices.
                  One with high sales at low prices.

                  ???

                  Anyone remember the name of this???!!! !!!

                  > will be a lot lower than it is now since dropping the prices below a
                  > threshold will open up many new markets throughout the world which up
                  > to now have been completely closed. And other evil megacorporations
                  > will not like this and work on their own alternative technologies so
                  > they can get a share of the pie... In essence, the evil
                  > megacorporations are now working on solving the LCD manufacturing
                  > problem so they can beat the other evil megacorporations who they
                  > believe are working on the same problem.

                  True, if they weren't trying to screw each other so much,
                  they could screw US even more. . . .

                  > So, even if we consider megacorporations to be the Devil Incarnate,
                  > this does not explain the current flat-screen display stagnation (of
                  > very slow performance/cost gains). I believe it is simply a huge
                  > technological barrier that requires one or more Ideas to cross-over.
                  > These Ideas will come (I thought they'd come by now), just as they
                  > have for CPUs and hard-drives which have overcome, and continue to
                  > overcome -- various technological barriers previously thought by
                  > many scientific experts to be physically impossible to scale (hard
                  > drive storage density is the prime example.)
                  >
                  > It's just a matter of time. When, I really no longer want to predict.

                  I'm still happy to predict we an each have every word in the LOC
                  at an affordable cost in the near future. . .less than 10 years.
                  >
                  > >We have to consider that all the advances/advantages we are enjoying
                  > >right now, were enjoyed by the megadudes years ago. . .and THEY took
                  > >the giant leap WE are taking now way back then. . . .
                  > >
                  > >Nothing like a severely tilted playing field, eh?
                  >
                  > Well, it was the evil megacorporations which have given us the CPUs
                  > and hard-drives of today, with no end in sight in performance gains.
                  > <laugh/>

                  As long as their cables and computers are faster than ours,
                  they still win. . .just look at "programmed trading" on Wall St.

                  It's like the idea of using wartime computers on Wall St., as
                  told in the Cordwainer Smith classic: The Boy Who Bought The World,
                  or something like that. . .in the Norstrilia series.

                  > I still believe the market forces which have driven down CPU and
                  > hard-drive prices with concomitant gains in performance are also
                  > there for flat-screen displays (and not only for computers, but
                  > for flat-screen HDTV use -- huge potential market there waiting
                  > for the $300 50" flat screen HDTV.)

                  Won't happen for years yet. . .way too many years.

                  > It's just a matter of one or two Ideas away...
                  >
                  hee hee!
                  >
                  > >BTW, I remember pocket LCD TV's that weren't all that expensive,
                  > >and that was a LONG time ago. . . .
                  >
                  > Again, a size/resolution/performance issue. There are certainly non-
                  > linearities and/or discontinuities in the current manufacturing cost
                  > equations for LCDs. I just don't know what they are. Something to add
                  > to my long "to-study" list.

                  I'm still going to continue to take swings at Moore's Law my own way.

                  ;-)))


                  Thanks!!!

                  Happy Holidays!!!

                  Michael S. Hart
                  <hart@...>
                  Project Gutenberg
                  Principal Instigator
                  "*Internet User ~#100*"
                • Michael Hart
                  ... I don t buy into any of this. . .perhaps I just have a screen I like, but I have gone through hundreds of emails every morning for who knows how many
                  Message 8 of 16 , Dec 2, 2002
                  • 0 Attachment
                    On Sun, 1 Dec 2002, Jon Noring wrote:

                    > Michael Hart wrote:
                    > >Jon Noring wrote:
                    >
                    > >We obviously do not need high resolution for reading displays,
                    > >if this were so, we wouldn't have digital clocks that we read
                    > >fine with just 6 "pixels" per character, as I see on the clock
                    > >sitting in front of me.
                    >
                    > However, not all reading is the same.
                    >
                    > The resolution requirements for comfortable reading of a book in ludic
                    > fashion is a lot more stringent than that for a quick glance to obtain
                    > certain information (e.g., what is the time? Who won the War of 1812?)

                    I don't buy into any of this. . .perhaps I just have a screen I like,
                    but I have gone through hundreds of emails every morning for who knows
                    how many years, the equivalent of reading an entire book every morning,
                    and writing a chapter in reply. . .doesn't bother me at all, and use a
                    monitor that is literally two decades olde. . . .

                    Anyone who can't find a monitor setup they don't like to read on, just
                    hasn't looked. . .so many monitors, so many millions of colors, so many
                    levels of resolution, so many refresh rates, so many lighting sources
                    for the room you are in. . .it's just hardly believable that people
                    can't find the one that fits Cinderella's foot. . . .

                    Personally, I find ye olde 640 x 480 just fine for reading, but I never
                    complained back int he CGA days of 320 x 240, though I could see more dots.

                    I read pretty fast, perhaps I just don't linger on each character enough
                    to think about the serifs, et al, or the other aspects. . .I was trained
                    to read in phrases. . . .

                    Just a few thots,

                    Michael
                  • Michael Hart
                    ... Actually, our readers DO read War and Peace, not to mention The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the entire Dumas Musketeer series, etc. And. . ._I_
                    Message 9 of 16 , Dec 2, 2002
                    • 0 Attachment
                      On Sun, 1 Dec 2002, Jon Noring wrote:

                      >
                      > >When I go to library association meetings, as hold up all these various
                      > >form factors, etc., the audience is very equally divided among them all
                      > >as to which they would prefer. . .with no mention of cost involved. . . .
                      >
                      > Well, I'd ask them which ones they would be happy to read "War and
                      > Peace" on in their free time, and which ones they would be happy to
                      > use to access reference works. You might get differing answers from
                      > a few of these folk.

                      Actually, our readers DO read War and Peace, not to mention The Decline
                      and Fall of the Roman Empire, the entire Dumas Musketeer series, etc.

                      And. . ._I_ prefer the lighter weight readers when reading long books.

                      ;-)

                      Michael
                    • Robotech_Master
                      Michael Hart (hart@beryl.ils.unc.edu) wrote in message ... I m going to venture the guess that it s because you re dedicated to the ideal of e-reading, and
                      Message 10 of 16 , Dec 2, 2002
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Michael Hart (hart@...) wrote in message
                        <Pine.GSO.4.44.0212020958350.19995-100000@beryl>:

                        > Personally, I find ye olde 640 x 480 just fine for reading, but I
                        > never complained back int he CGA days of 320 x 240, though I could
                        > see more dots.

                        I'm going to venture the guess that it's because you're dedicated to
                        the ideal of e-reading, and able to sacrifice a little legibility just
                        for the sake of being able to do e-reading. Which isn't a bad thing;
                        it means that you can be more satisfied with less resolution.

                        But not everybody's like that. I'm perfectly happy e-reading off my
                        Clie, while my folks can't see how I could possibly like reading from
                        something so tiny. Different strokes.

                        The e-reading revolution won't really take off until the reading
                        hardware can satisfy the lowest common denominator at the lowest
                        possible price.
                        --
                        Chris Meadows aka | Co-moderator, rec.toys.transformers.moderated
                        Robotech_Master | Homepage: <URL:http://www.eyrie.org/~robotech/>
                        robotech@... | And now I've started a weblog:
                        | http://robotech_master.livejournal.com
                      • Michael Hart
                        ... Well. . . lowest common denominator might be exaggerating a little, but certainly lower than the average. . . . The Model-T wasn t really lowest common
                        Message 11 of 16 , Dec 3, 2002
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On Mon, 2 Dec 2002, Robotech_Master wrote:

                          > Michael Hart (hart@...) wrote in message
                          > <Pine.GSO.4.44.0212020958350.19995-100000@beryl>:
                          >
                          > > Personally, I find ye olde 640 x 480 just fine for reading, but I
                          > > never complained back int he CGA days of 320 x 240, though I could
                          > > see more dots.
                          >
                          > I'm going to venture the guess that it's because you're dedicated to
                          > the ideal of e-reading, and able to sacrifice a little legibility just
                          > for the sake of being able to do e-reading. Which isn't a bad thing;
                          > it means that you can be more satisfied with less resolution.
                          >
                          > But not everybody's like that. I'm perfectly happy e-reading off my
                          > Clie, while my folks can't see how I could possibly like reading from
                          > something so tiny. Different strokes.
                          >
                          > The e-reading revolution won't really take off until the reading
                          > hardware can satisfy the lowest common denominator at the lowest
                          > possible price.

                          Well. . ."lowest" common denominator might be exaggerating a little,
                          but certainly lower than the average. . . .

                          The Model-T wasn't really lowest common denominator, but it was low enough,
                          same for calcuators, phones, etc. . but perhaps not for TV. . .hee hee!

                          I would guess it would have to include more than 2/3, but less than 7/8,
                          so perhaps somewhere between 70-80% would be low enough.


                          Thanks!!!

                          Happy Holidays!!!

                          Michael S. Hart
                          <hart@...>
                          Project Gutenberg
                          Principal Instigator
                          "*Internet User ~#100*"
                        • Bill Janssen
                          ... I m guessing there are two major factors: compression of the electronics and Microsoft Windows. More pixels per inch requires things to be squeezed
                          Message 12 of 16 , Dec 3, 2002
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Jon Noring writes:
                            > Now, I do not understand how resolution (for a given size) affects the
                            > manufacturing cost

                            I'm guessing there are two major factors: compression of the
                            electronics and Microsoft Windows. More pixels per inch requires
                            things to be squeezed together more closely, which is a minor
                            engineering challenge. But the big factor is simple lack of tooling,
                            which in turn is caused by high-resolution displays not being in
                            demand. People want displays, basically, to run Windows on, and there
                            are several standard dot pitches that work well with Windows' standard
                            sizes and fonts, none of them particularly high-resolution. That
                            limits the factories that are built and the tooling that's available.

                            You'll also notice that the high-resolution displays in PDAs are
                            typically running PalmOS, not PocketPC.

                            Bill
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