@cbae: if that's true, it would be interesting to know what kind of API would be exposed. A subset of WinRT, maybe?
@Maddus Mattus: the problem with all the different modes is that they only work if you remember to select the appropriate one. We would need a "more magic" mode that could use all the information the phone can get, which is quite a lot. It could even learn from your habits...
@JoshRoss: That's a good idea, but there are a few conditions in which that might backfire. The phone might be stowed in a purse, for instance, or in the pocket of a coat you aren't wearing. Or it might even just be on the nightstand, at night.
Probably, if it also took light into account...
@androidi: technically, the specifications do not forbid a 4:3 aspect ratio as long as it meets or exceeds the requirements (e.g. 1440x1080). Also, those requirements are for getting the hardware certification; in theory OEMs could just give that up and do as they please.
Regardless of the respective advantages, requiring a 4:3 aspect ratio would have most likely resulted in the same resolution of the iPad, which would have been unwise for a latecomer (ah, the irony).
@SixOThree: welcome to the dark side, take a cookie.
There isn't much difference between overloading an existing construct and introducing a new keyword; the latter is only undesirable when the keyword would make an excellent identifier which I don't think applies to "foreach".
The tenet that terseness trumps readability in language design was a great concept in the '70, when you had to type every single character in your program (and possibly getting it punched in a card). Maybe it's high time we reevaluated the whole thing.
The idea is very good.
Here are my comments so far:
- A few options might improve the reading experience, especially for those who - like me - are on the brink of needing bifocals. Things I would try are allowing users to reduce the contrast, change the font size (maybe even the font face), read in landscape mode.
- It took me a while to figure out the UI... tap to flip pages is similar enough to the kindle, but I don't hold a phone the same way. I would have expected flicks to work.
- Another reason why it took me a while to get the app to work is that the feedback doesn't help much: the previous page slides in from the right and multiple taps give the impression of not having any effect whatsoever (until the new page appears). Some kind of visual cue (an indeterminate progress bar, maybe?) would be better.
- Browsing large books is hopeless. I downloaded by accident the complete works of Shakespeare... getting to any specific play would take forever. Getting the ncx to work would be real nice.
A few bugs...
- The progress bar at the bottom doesn't seem to work correctly. I noticed a book where it would report almost 1/3 of the book by the time you are through the legal stuff.
- Sometimes, going back causes the text to be rendered as a title. Things go back to normal once you go over the title causing the issue, but that can take a while.
- One of the books had a TOC rendered as a table, which got entirely screwed up.
Sorry if that sounded like a rant, it wasn't meant to be.
@Ray7: Considering the weight of my niece's backpack, an Osborne 1 would already be a big improvement. I'd say the iPad is just fine. If anything, I would expect a ruggerized version as schools and young children in general constitute a hazardous environment for fine electronics.
@AndyC: When you write a book, most of the money gets split between the publisher and the bookstore anyway: the author gets very little out of the deal (not even an outlier like J.K.Rowling got much out of each copy of her books). With a low entry barrier, and a potentially huge market, this could be the sweetest deal ever for writers.
All in all, I think this has an enormous potential and the priority is to let it prove its merits (or otherwise). There's always time to fix things later and since governments are interested parties I'm pretty sure they will, eventually.