Oct 29, 2010

Oyo eBook Reader Arrived

Big deal in Germany. The Oyo eBook reader started selling yesterday. The biggest bookstore company there, officially has an own eReader now.
Of course I had to get one of those. And it's good that I pre-ordered. At about 1PM it was sold out. Apparently the personal at the store wasn't aware of the impact it had.

The box.
I unwrapped the package and there it was. Nice and felt good. It feels more robust than most of the eReaders, especially at that price of about $192 (139€). There is also a usb-charger inside, a micro-usb cable and a small quick start manual. The display showed "Oyo". A interesting thing, that reminds me, that eInk displays does not need electricity at all to show things, once they are written on the screen.

Yes, it's off!
The setup was exhausting. First you need to setup WiFi, which was a mess. First bug: There is no way to have a hidden WiFi with a static IP. Won't work at all. Then I sent my SSID, and I could find it, enter the static IP, netmask, gateway etc. and at last the password for my network. After that, I found out, once the Oyo drops WiFi after a couple of minutes of no network activity, you have to reenter the password again! The bug is: Automatic reconnect switches to DHCP instead of static IP. So no static IP at all. After reconfiguring my router to DHCP, everything worked fine...with WPA. Couldn't connect with WPA2. This wasn't easy. I have to go with dhcp/static dual now.
After that you need to enter, or register, the Thalia-account. This is straight forward. Then the Adobe ID, because it uses Adobe-DRM for ePub. Again, if you do not have one already, it's created. Finally it starts up, and you see your home screen.

Nicely presented. It's on? No.
It's a simple and useful UI. You have a bookshelf, your last books you read, and recommendations. If you download a book, it's gonna be stored in the internal memory. But you can drag 'n drop on your pc the file from the internal memory to the microSD-card, and it still works. No cover shown on external, though. I want everything on the microSD card, so I can build up a library with different cards for genres. If you insert a microSD-card it refreshes the library instantly, and shows your books.

Buying books is a hassle. Although the interface is nice, good search, categories and all, you need to enter the password again to buy. That's a no-go. Either you chose a password that isn't secure enough, or you have to be "Lt. Cmd. Data" to type this without a password-storage. I rather use my computer then. But that's a real bummer.

It's quite quick, the display, like all eInk, needs some time to refresh. The OS is GNU/linux-based system. Configuration menus are simple, but doesn't offer much. The size of the characters can be set in each eBook separately, togther with the font. You can store bookmarks with notices. That's fine and useful. The typing is performed by a shown keyboard on the display. The layout is not very good. You need to switch a lot to different modes, which isn't much fun when typing in passwords in setup. If you connect it to the computer, both internal memory and the microSD-card is recognized as usb-mass storage. That's a great advantage. Information for the bookshelf-list is used from the title and author metadata tags of pdf e.g.
There is a web-browser integrated with direct access to wikipedia, but you can surf freely in the web, too.

I could use ePubs bought from txtr.com and Kobo. This is real cool. It worked flawless. HTML-files must be in one file. Or every file will be shown as a separate eBook, which makes this almost unusable. The pdf's are nicely rendered, and you can choose many different ways to view it.

Slot for microSD, 3,5mm headphone, charging LED, microUSB
Oh by the way, it can read ePub,pdf,txt,html and show jpg,png,bmp. It plays MP3 for audiobooks or music, too. There is a 3.5mm connector for headphones. Display is 800*600 with 6" and capacitive (!) touchscreen. Battery lasts...forever. That means about some weeks without recharging, or 8000 page-turns. In one of the photos, you can see the very slim battery is slid in the device and can be replaced.

Battery left. You can slide it out to replace.
All in all, it's a good and decent eReader. The firmware needs to get fixed. That WiFi-issue isn't acceptable. Also it would be great if you could set the font and size by default and not only per ebook. But it's fun to use it, the quality of the eInk is outstanding, battery no problem, and you can read for hours and hours without getting eye-strain. It has some bonus features. The charger can be used with any usb-cable (standard usb-connector), so it's suitable for everything that can be charged with usb.
USB-Charger. Normal USB-Cable plugged in.
Booting
That's all: Cable, charger, Oyo and quick manual