Has the iPod moment just arrived?

<p>Ok, so I admit, <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/58793-is-the-e-book-over-already.html... e-book may not be dead after all.</a> In fact, and I hesitate to say this, but I wonder whether we have just seen the iPod moment for books: or at least what it might look like.<br />
<a target="_blank" href="http://blog.laptopmag.com/first-look-olpc-xo-generation-20#more-1596"><img width="150" height="101" align="right" alt="" src="/documents/UserContributed/image/alignright.jpg" /></a><br />
I <a href="http://blog.laptopmag.com/first-look-olpc-xo-generation-20#more-1596">am thinking of the XO-2, developed by the One Laptop Per Child project, and projected to cost just $75.</a> Ok, so it's left-field, and it is probably something that most of us are unfamiliar with but the latest vision for a cheap e-reading device aimed at children in poorer countries just looks right.<br />
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And I am not the only one saying this. Read some of the comments on the <a href="http://blog.laptopmag.com/first-look-olpc-xo-generation-20#more-1596">La... blog </a>(which had the scoop on the new device): &quot;This is an image of the future. I want one, book reader would be great like this.&quot; &quot;Book and graphic novel industry = Bye-Bye!&quot; &quot;Cool, I like the model so much . gonna be the future of e - books.&quot;<br />
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OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte sees it as an e-book, perhaps not rather but as well as a laptop: &quot;Over the last couple of years we've learned the book experience is key,&quot; he said. Initially it will be promoted as an e-book reader with the capacity to store more than 500 e-books.</p>
<p>James Long over at <a href="http://thedigitalist.net/?p=148">the Digitalist blog was similarly taken</a>: &quot;The XO2 is immediately appealing, and has a bit of the iPhone wow factor, I think, presenting itself more as a book than a laptop. Being electronic, that makes it more like an eBook reader than a laptop.&quot;</p>
<p>I emailed James and Macmillan's head of digital publishing Sara Lloyd to see if my enthusiasm was misplaced.</p>
<p>Sara responded: &quot;I agree entirely. A (cheap) laptop which allows for a book-like reading experience as well as all the other features you can expect from a laptop is surely the way to slot digital reading in to people's already digital lifestyle so much more seamlessly.&quot;<br />
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While James wrote back: &quot;I agree that the XO2 is what an ebook *should* look like . . .&quot;<br />
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Apparently, there are a bunch of technological and infrastructure problems to get around: while Jon White from Macmillan Education (who has some experience of the first device) was noticeably cool, putting his money on more commercially minded competitors, such as Intel.<br />
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He may be right: what good can come out of a not-for-profit collaborative initiative set up by someone who appears to inspire mixed feelings?<br />
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There is also the detail that it has not yet been built: it is scheduled to be released in 2010.<br />
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But I also got in touch with David Rothman, who is one of the main contributors to the knowledgeable and e-book enthusiastic <a href="http://www.teleread.org/blog/">TeleRead blog</a>, and he says that he does not believe it is vaporware: &quot;This time around I hope OLPC woos ordinary buyers to enjoy greater economies of scale. And if along the way, it inspires similar products from other companies, then great.&quot;<br />
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On his blog he suggests one possible outcome, involving Microsoft, which has made Windows available on the device: <a href="http://www.teleread.org/blog/2008/05/22/office-to-handle-odf-and-pdf-mic... long as Microsoft is now tied in with One Laptop Per Child . . . is it possible the company could build a killer e-book reader app with ePub capabilities?&quot;</a><br />
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Negroponte ended his speech by announcing that the Give 1, Get 1 program, which allows consumers to give one laptop to a child in the developing world and get a low-cost laptop for themselves, will start up again in August or September 2008.<br />
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So a good-looking reading device that has the buzz of being a good thing: I don't know, but could it be the one?</p>