In theory you can subscribe to newspapers via your PC, as well as to other documents like comics. They’ll be downloaded to your PC and automatically transferred to the iLiad when you make a connection. I say in theory because I couldn’t get this to work as there was some sort of problem naming and setting a password for my review sample.
Battery life is quoted at 14 hours, which should see most people through all but the most word-intensive of days. The iLiad manages its long battery life on a screen that measures 8.1 diagonal inches thanks to its use of eInk technology. Now, I’ve written about this before on TrustedReviews in my review of Motorola’s MOTOFONE F3, but this time it is being used on a far larger scale.
eInk is a technology for black and white displays, which offers a wide viewing angle, good visibility in sunlight, non reflectivity and, very importantly, long battery life.
The latter is possible because a charge is only applied to the display elements when they are required to change. In practical terms, all the time you are reading the same page of text the screen drains no power at all. It is only when you move the page or otherwise alter what is being displayed (for example by writing to the screen) that power is applied.
Yes, you can write to the screen. This is a feature of the iLiad Reader that differentiates it completely from Sony’s product.
The screen isn’t touch sensitive but relies on digitiser based stylus input. You can use the stylus to navigate by tapping on the screen, but more interestingly you can draw and write on blank ‘pages’ and annotate existing documents. There is even built-in handwriting recognition.
Now, you can’t make annotations to all data formats, just PDF, JPG, BMP and PNG at the time of writing. You are actually putting a new layer on top of the existing one, and edited files are saved with a new name that mirrors the existing document. When you edit an image file the new file is a .PNG file so you can view it on a PC.
If you annotate a PDF the resulting file is saved in a proprietary format, which can only be read on a PC after the free desktop software has been used to merge it and the original into a new PDF.