New project site launched for Augen The Book e-reader

I've just heard over at MobileRead that someone is starting a project with the goal of hacking Augen's ereader. His long term goal is to be able to use The Book as a limited netbook computer.

This could be shiny, but only if Augen follows through and hands over the source code (as required by the software license). I'm excited because I can see the potential of the design.

The The Book is a Kindle clone with a 7" LCD screen, Wifi, and support for Adobe Epub. It runs Linux and it has a reasonably useful keyboard. I reviewed it in August.

This general design could be the next netbook. Right now the only thing stopping that from happening is the limited software on these devices. If the Book gets hacked it will be so much more useful.

I'm also thrilled to finally meet someone who gets it. Here is why Chris started this project:

Well, that's a good question. TheBook really doesn't have the battery life to be the greatest book reading device, but the software platform is mostly based on open stuff, and it's an interesting little piece of hardware. The same LCD display that makes it hard on the battery makes it respond more quickly than the E-Ink based readers for things like web browsing and games. It might be nice to adjust the built-in software bundle so that it does more of what it does well. Also, I have one.

Open The Book

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

8 Comments

  1. Chris5 January, 2011

    Hi Nate,

    I’m pretty positive about the project regardless of Augen’s action with regard to the source code. As you’re aware, the GPL requires that they hand over modified code to their users upon request. This license covers at least the kernel and some basics, but almost certainly doesn’t cover (for example) the GUI.

    Here’s the good news: the GUI is QTopia, which is open source so I can get the unmodified source elsewhere. Even for the kernel, which I’m sure has been modified, the modifications seem very minor and if I had to build it from stock distribution code without seeing Augen’s modifications, it’s probably not too big of a deal.

    Of course it would be nice of Augen to provide the source. I’ve intended to give them a couple more weeks to see what happens before I start seriously trying to string the whole thing together on my own. It will be easier with their help, obviously. I’m sorry to report that I’ve heard no news at all yet, but I’d like to make some allowance for their potential flood of holiday customers.

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Nate the great6 January, 2011

      Hey Chris,

      I’ve also started bugging Augen. They promised to get back to me after CES.

      Reply
    2. Hacks24 May, 2013

      Do you have the firmware upgrade available anywhere? I checked your site and all the links are broken. It is nowhere to be found and I’ve decided to have a crack at it in my spare time if I can find it and reverse engineer it a little bit.

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder24 May, 2013

        This was a couple years ago, so I don’t think he has it anymore.

        Also, your time might be better spent hacking the next model in the family. It is equally unsupported, but the hardware is better:
        http://the-digital-reader.com/2012/05/01/itomic-is-the-gadget-company-that-doesnt-exist/

        Reply
      2. Toadster13 August, 2014

        I ran across this sight looking for a possible update to my “The Book”. I had bought one that worked great, really fast on the internet, very speedy boot, it crashed and i exchanged for another, which turned out to be slow at everything. I contacted Augen in 011 and they sent me the software for a full reload to see if it would help, it didn’t. I still have a copy on my hard drive if you are interested.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder15 August, 2014

          Wow, this post is close to 4 years old.

          I don’t think Hacks is still interested, but I am. I’ll shoot you an email.

          Reply
          1. Toadster26 September, 2014

            Sorry took so long to reply. How can i upload the .rar file to this site?

            Reply
  2. Keith Irwin8 January, 2011

    I wish you good luck, but when I was looking to see if anyone else had tried a project like this, I ran across this page: http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.law.gpl.violations.legal/2139

    It looks like several other people have tried to get them to comply with the terms of the GPL with no luck. So, if they do, great, but don’t be surprised if they don’t.

    Reply

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