Fictionwise quietly retired the world’s longest running ereader some time in the last couple months. You can still buy ebooks, but the hardware is no longer listed. It’s a pity that they didn’t announce it because it truly deserved an obituary.
I was about to pull my EBW-1150 out of the closet and do a post, but I guess it’s too late.
Ebookwise, a subsidiary of Fictionwise, launched the EBW-1150 back in November 2004 (retail was $99.95), and continued to sell it until the end of 2010. It had a 5.5″ (320×480) grayscale LCD touchscreen, 64MB Flash storage, a Smart Media card slot, a USB port, and a modem.
What’s even more amazing is that the EBW-1150 was originally released in 2002 as the GEB-1150 (I have one), so this 8 year old hardware was still being sold in 2010. Impressive, no?
It is a little surprising that it lasted so long, but until Kobo started the price war last spring, the 1150 was a relatively cheap ereader. For much of its life it had the distinction of being the only bargain ereader on the US market.
This was a fun little gadget with a couple of surprises built in. Back in 2008, a couple hackers discovered that the 1150 had a (very basic) web browser. With the help of an app running on your PC, you could actually use the 1150 to surf the web. It didn’t work very well, but it did work. You know, with the growth of sites designed to work on the Kindle, the browser would probably work better today than it did 2 years ago.
It also was fairly capable as an ereader. It shipped with a dictionary and it supported bookmarks, typed notes, and scribbled notes.
Now that I look back, I have to say that I’m surprised it didn’t dominate the market in its early years. It was a decent value well into 2009. I know people who looked at the Kindle and then bought the 1150.