NanoNotes and electronic dictionaries

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Thu Aug 22 16:24:11 EDT 2013


Hello,

Recalling the heritage of the Ben as an electronic dictionary...

http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/File:Ben_proprietary_sw.jpg

...I was intrigued to encounter the following product:

http://shop.telegraph.co.uk/v8087

I also saw the predecessors or cheaper variants of this on sale in a retail 
outlet, most having a smaller monochrome screen next to the keys, with the lid 
being just that and having no additional function.

A few interesting observations can be made about the price, which is more than 
the Ben but with apparently less hardware, meaning that you're supposedly 
paying for the content, but I'm not sure how much more content you get 
compared to cheaper models. There's a selection of these kinds of things here:

http://www.franklin.com/dictionaries?limit=30

Some models of dictionaries and translators have colour screens and possibly 
approximate to the Ben a bit more closely.

Obviously, I saw such things advertised in a newspaper "reader offers" 
supplement, and searching for electronic dictionaries does seem to bring up a 
lot of newspaper "reader offers" online stores. I suppose there's a steady 
demand for such devices, much to the disdain of the iPad-using younger 
relatives of entrenched newspaper readers (and crossword solvers) who are 
perhaps the target demographic for specific dictionary and translator 
products.

I am also reminded of the WikiReader, but such apparently blatantly special 
purpose appliances perhaps provide a means of driving the development of 
general device platforms, and so we shouldn't be too dismissive of this kind 
of product. Wealthy people with time to solve the Telegraph crossword every 
day are indeed worth targeting if it can fund other things. :-)

Paul



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