Gembird to Launch EnerGenie 9.7″ E-ink Android eReader at IFA-Berlin

EnerGenie ePP2 1Every time I think there's nothing new in ereaders something comes along to surprise me. The Dutch gadget maker Gembird is reportedly going to unveil their second 9.7" ereader next week at the IFA-Berlin trade show.The EnerGenie PP2 takes a hardware design that some readers will recognize, adds Android, and tries to convince everyone that a price between 399 and 499 euros isn't completely nuts. It doesn't succeed.

This ereader has a 9.7" E-ink screen (1600 x 1200), a touchscreen (with stylus), and is running Android 2.3.4 on an 800 MHz CPU. It comes equipped with 4GB of storage, Wifi, and a microSD card slot.

EnerGenie ePP2 1As soon as I laid eyes on this device I recognized the hardware. This is the same hardware design as the Ectaco Jetbook Color, only without the color E-ink screen. That means that the EnerGenie PP2 is probably based on the Hanvon E920, and not the Hanvon C920.

Gembird is trying to position the EnerGenie PP2 as an "e-paper printer". You plug in the ereader to your PC via USB and it is automatically recognized as a USB printer. You can then "print" a document to the ereader rather than printing it on paper.

Basically Gembird is going to try to convince everyone that buying this expensive ereader is a better option than printing out paper. That's pretty much the same marketing spiel as their first ereader, which showed up at CES 2012. That Energenie model had a docking station which looked cool, but so far as I can tell was never actually released (I cannot find it).

When I covered that earlier model in 2012 I pointed out that sending your documents to a tablet (like many of us already do) is a more cost-effective option given that you can use a tablet for more than just an ereader:

Gembird  has a great idea here, but do they really have to throw a €500 ereader into the deal? I think there would be a much better value to find a similar ability that utilizes the iPad or other existing tablets and ereaders.

In fact, there already is an option. Goodreader lets you edit PDFs on the iPad, and you can even email or print the PDF after you've edited it.  I'm not sure on the best way to get them to the app (email seems like a good bet), but this is still a better value.

But on the plus side, the Energenie will also let you send documents back to your PC:

BTW, while this ereader runs Android I  do not know yet whether you will be able to access the Android OS. It's not uncommon for users to be blocked from accessing the OS on Android-based and other ereaders. But I also expect that one hacker or another will find away to unlock the OS, though given the price I'm not sure how many hardware hackers will want to buy such a limited device.

I'm not sure why anyone would want to buy it. A tablet would offer a better return, and if you are enamored of the idea of printing to your ereader then don't forget that Amazon offers a similar ability for the Kindle platform. Even better, it doesn't even require that you own a Kindle.

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About Nate Hoffelder (11598 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Gembird to Launch EnerGenie 9.7″ E-ink Android eReader at IFA-Berlin

  1. For someone sensitive to light, then e-ink is a huge thing (other than issues to do with battery life, no distraction reading etc.) but the price for these devices is extortionate and one reason for this is that hardly anyone is making them. Innovation in e-ink readers seems to be caught in stagnation and for most people tablets are the thing (for many it doesn’t make sense to purchase these e-ink readers and sometimes it is ignorance e.g. how many times have you heard individuals compare a Kindle e-ink device to an iPad mini!). Then there is the Apple factor – most consumers aren’t savvy to appreciate different options or appreciate what each device will do and so will always choose an iPad, as everyone else is doing it. The iPad has a pretty display but I wouldn’t be able to read on that device; the Barnes & Noble HD+ is far more friendly and that is why I use it (other than offering very good value) but if there was a good priced 9 inch e-ink reader, with good tools for researchers, then I would choose it every time.

    Considering this, prices aren’t going to be pushed down, as they are with tablets. 9 inch e-ink readers don’t have a market (a niche market yes and that is the reason for their high price). Hypothetically a 9 inch Kindle Paperwhite should sell for about 70-100 dollars more than the 6 inch Kindle.

  2. The educational market and especially the upper segment for universities or academics is still lacking a good device to read, organize and annotate research papers.

    For this market relying on pdf printouts of LATEX documents or conference proceedings published in pdf, a 9.7” diagonal screen size is minimal. Color is a plus (e.g. for biology or genetics where information is conveyed through color coding) but it is not mandatory as there are still a large majority of black and white papers.

    For this neglected market, battery’s life and reading comfort (e.g. outdoors when in transit) is a decisive factor favoring (HD) eInk displays .

    This device could fill the bill to replace my aging but never really superseded Kindle DX!

  3. Kindle DX was an excellent device – this one is good as well, but for the price. I would love to own a larger e-Ink reader just to read the pdf white papers, that I already read using the Kindle. I like the Kindle when compared to reading on my laptop, but I would love a 9″ eReader more than the 6″ kindle for this purpose. For reading eBooks, I prefer the 6″ kindle – it’s a wonderful device 🙂

  4. Large format readers only make sense if they offer colored (journals, scientific books, comics …)
    Triton is not good (poor contrast)… I hope something comes out again soon … but they are many years of promises and long wait

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