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New 3M ebook reader remains a mystery

It looks like yesterday’s image of the new 3M ebook reader wasn’t actually the 3M ebook reader.

I got an email this morning from a manager with txtr and he clarified a few details. 3M used this image basically as a placeholder in the slideshow. It’s not actually the new 3M ereader. (Curiously enough, one commenter suggested exactly this possibility. I should have listened.) This is still the txtr Reader, and if it ever hits the market it will be sold as the txtr Reader.

I’m rather annoyed with getting handed the shit end of the stick by 3M, so let me tell you what I was told.

The thing is, I didn’t have any much info to work with. 3M gave me this image  but not any brochures, nor did they offer to brief me on this. I’m actually still waiting on the hand outs from the booth, so I literally had only the image to work with.

When I write up the post yesterday, I had 2 things in mind. The first was a press release from a week ago and the other was the email I got on Monday. 3M put out a press release on 20 June, and here is the critical paragraph that made me really push to get a picture of the new ebook reader: Attendees of the ALA Annual Conference will have the opportunity to view a sneak peek of the 3M eReaders and 3M Discovery Terminal, as well as the 3M Cloud Library App for iPad. Visitors to the 3M booth, number 3126, can also enter for a chance to win an hourly drawing for a Nook eReader.

On Monday of this week I reached out to one of the PR people for 3M and asked to see the new 3M ereaders. She sent me that image, and in the email she said: Please find an image attached here, keeping in mind these are a current sample, but not necessarily the exact final lendable hardware.

Parse that sentence however you want, but you will have to agree that one valid interpretation is that the image has at least a vague relationship to the final device. Obviously this is not true.

As I see it, I asked to see the new 3M ebook reader. If that’s not it then they should not have sent me the image.

What do you think?

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Mike Cane June 29, 2011 um 9:42 am

I don’t know. Trawl the Net to see if there are any pictures from ALA of that booth. For all you know, that could be the sample they were showing people until they’ve gotten the real hardware nailed down.

fjtorres June 29, 2011 um 10:04 am

To me, the key phrase is "lendable hardware".
If we’re to speculate about the client side of the operation we need to consider that the hardware will have to meet the needs of a library system, not those of the end users.
Follow that line of thinking and you can end up with some very interesting (and bizarre) features/concepts; dirt cheap, nearly disposable, no wireless, no USB, no power brick, minimal memory, proprietary format/DRM, solid steel casing… 😉

In other words, nothing in common with the txtr.

Nate Hoffelder June 29, 2011 um 10:38 am

So they could just as accurately have given me picture of an amorphous blob? (kidding)

fjtorres June 29, 2011 um 11:54 am

Or a cinder block. 😀

If I had to bet, I’d hazard a guess that the 3M reader will more closely ressemble a UPS driver’s pad than a Txtr or Kindle. (But I’d rather not have to bet.)
After all, consumer-grade ereaders aren’t industrial strength durable and if they want to sell libraries on their turnkey packages, they need to make the case that the reader devices will survive long enough to pay for themselves.

So they either go big, thick, and bulleproof or disposably cheap.
Either way, it won’t be photogenic.

charliedulin June 29, 2011 um 1:36 pm

or maybe 3m needs an unbreakable display for said rugged device.

fjtorres June 29, 2011 um 4:12 pm

Anybody shipping plastic substrate displays yet?
More than color eink, the market needs those displays yesterday.

charliedulin June 30, 2011 um 3:29 pm


kelly June 29, 2011 um 5:45 pm

It seems as normal you post articles that have rumor and speculation and then the next day try and clear it up after many blogs cite your articles as reference. Maybe you shouldn’t post so many baseless rumors?

Nate Hoffelder June 29, 2011 um 5:58 pm

How is it my fault that I asked them for a picture of their ebook reader and they gave me the wrong thing? Seriously, how do you get "rumor and speculation" when I got the image directly from the company?

You are full of FAIL today.

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