What happens when you marry an eReader with a netbook? You get an Entourage Edge. And it hails from, what I consider to be, the “Silicon Valley” of the east…Fairfax County, Virginia. As soon as I saw the first crop of eReaders, I knew something like this would soon be on the way; essentially, a paper-thin laptop. Sure enough, Entourage Systems has done it and it looks pretty good. Admittedly, I haven’t had a chance to try one out in person, but, in principle, it seems to be the device I imagine to surpass the laptop (and the netbook). Why? Well, consider this…
For the student audience: Entourage Systems has wisely partnered with textbook publishing companies to make textbooks available electronically. This has been a long-time comin’. And, actually, the textbook publishing firms brought it to fruition by hiking prices on textbooks to ridiculous heights. And, take it from a former student who had to hike across McKeldin Mall at University of Maryland every day, textbooks are heavy.
For the internet and eReader audience: The Entourage Edge accomplishes what the netbook set out to accomplish and what the eReader set out to accomplish, all in one package. The success of the netbook has already indicated that there is a market for “light-footprint” laptops (my sister calls her netbook her “disposable” laptop).
For everyone else: The Entourage Edge will be fun, but you’ll still need a laptop or desktop. This is mainly because you need either a real keyboard, greater processing power, larger storage, etc. Fortunately, for Entourage Systems, this is not the majority of people.
Interestingly, specifications define your audience (a lesson learned from the car companies). Take a look at some of the features of the Entourage Edge: 9.7” eInk screen(1200 x 825 pixels), 10.1” LCD computer screen (1024 x 600 pixels), folds 360o degrees, so it can be used as a book or laptop, 1” thin closed, 3 lbs, Linux/Android operating systems(!), WiFi, Bluetooth, E-paper Pen Input, USB ports, camera, video, speakers, microphone, headphone jacks, server-based backups, audio/video record and playback, an email function and contacts list, a calculator, an alarm clock, a library function, customizable, cost: $490 (pre-orders).
Essentially, it’s a smaller netbook with an eReader, and with a better design, a color screen, etc. They call it a dualbook™. I don’t need any more acronyms in my life, but don’t be surprised if Entourage Systems gets snapped up by Cisco or Google or some other company in the near future. Great products like this don’t go unnoticed for very long…assuming it works well.
I should also mention that the website for Entourage Systems is worth checking out ( www.entourageedge.com ) because they also have a large library of e-Books (and soon e-Textbooks) available for sale. e-Textbooks…what took so long? Now, let’s discuss my flying car…