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Editorial: Handheld PC eBook Reader Solutions
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Posted 2012-05-10 9:50 AM
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There are more commercial ebook readers in the marketplace today than ever before. Unlike the old Palm devices that used only the PDB file format, today’s ebook readers may use one of several standardized and accepted file formats. This is good because that means nearly any ebook reader sold today will have a vast library of existing ebooks for their customers. Today’s manufacturers can thank yesterday’s devices for this fact.

Yet if you are a Handheld PC user, how do you know which eBook reader is the right one for you and how do you know how to separate the wheat from the chaff in amongst so many reader platform choices?

Rich Hawley delves into the creative world of eBook reader solutions and provides an overview of the main contenders for H/PC in this latest HPC:Factor editorial.

View: Handheld PC eBook Reader Solutions
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Posted 2012-05-10 12:10 PM
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Thorough and informative as always, Rich. Many thanks.

As an aside, it it true that MobiReader is giving up the ghost? I know their desktop app hasn't been updated in years... I heard that things were grim, but I can't remember where.

Jake
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Posted 2012-05-10 12:26 PM
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Jake - 2012-05-10 7:10 AM

Thorough and informative as always, Rich. Many thanks.

As an aside, it it true that MobiReader is giving up the ghost? I know their desktop app hasn't been updated in years... I heard that things were grim, but I can't remember where.

Jake


Mobipocket's ebookstore, library ebooks, and distribution platform were all turned off last year.
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Posted 2012-05-10 12:36 PM
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Thanks, Nate. MobiReader still can get enews and sync with ActiveSync. I suppose it can continue to do that even without any more support, since it's merely grabbing the RSSs. The great thing about its enews *.prc's is that they're full-text. So an FBReader, for example, could open those prc's and give you the entire article off-line. Such a thing has helped me on many a plane trip.

Jake
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Posted 2012-05-10 8:03 PM
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There are a couple of others as well:

AlReader2 has a version for core Windows CE 4.2 and higher devices, which requires no added DLLs and can read lots of formats. It has English and Russian versions. (There's also a version for Pocket PC 2002 that only requires aygshell.dll, but I haven't been able to get it working on an H/PC 2000 device without RedGear. Without RedGear it starts to open but then gives an "illegal operation" error message. With RedGear, the CE 4.2 version will open, but without a menu bar. ) Details can be found here:

http://reeed.ru/en_prog_alreader_pda.php

Another one is Freda, which reads non-DRM-protected EPUB files as well as HTML and text files, and is supposed to work on CE 4.2 and higher devices with .NET Compact Framework 3.5 installed (I haven't tested it fully, but it does open, although it appears a little quirky when it first opens):

http://www.turnipsoft.co.uk/freda/manual/index.htm#StartUsingFreda

Both are free.

There's another EPUB reader called ZuluReader that requires .NET CF 2.0, and its author actually joined this site to ask for testers for core CE devices; however, the author was apparently unable to work out all the bugs to get it working on core CE devices (though it reportedly works well on Windows Mobile devices):

www.hpcfactor.com/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=14540
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Posted 2012-05-10 8:23 PM
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Alreader is a fantastic program...and if you have a 900C, it is certainly worth considering. I love the background clock...very nice feature to keep track of the time while you are reading. It works perfectly on the 900C. And the ability to easily open DocX files is something I was missing with my current version of Textmaker.

It was a single simple hexedit to make it compatible with HPC2000 on my 900. Replace the Alreader2.exe that comes with the author's download with the version attached to this message. Look close at the image below and you can see the background clock (taken from HPC2000 MP900).

Thanks CEGeek, I didn't even know this one existed...and while it wasn't for HPC2000 or CPUs other than ARM, it sure works nice on the Mobilepro 900, and I imagine it will work fine on the J720/728 as well...



(alreader.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments alreader hpc2000.zip (440KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments alreader.jpg (129KB - 1 downloads)
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Posted 2012-05-11 1:07 AM
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'Course, the background clock is right above the system tray one, so it's primarily useful if you minimize the taskbar (which of course would be a logical thing to do while using an e-reader).

Further hexediting makes it work even in H/PC Pro, on the Jornada 820.
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Posted 2012-05-11 10:51 PM
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Hey, thanks for the excellent writeup. I have been using mobibook a bit lately, but not loving it. It doesn't seem to like to save my place very well.

This Alreader looks great! So much format support! I'll be downloading it soon! The only thing I wish it had was PDF support.

Maybe you guys should consider adding Alreader to the original article for people to find in the future?

What would you say is the best PDF reader on MP900? Is there one that supports bookmarks and screen rotating? I hate having to convert files... It seems like the formatting always gets messed up. For example the book I have been reading in Mobibook format, I converted it from PDF and it's got a bunch of extra spaces and the title of the book between each page, etc... A bit irritating. When I used to read PDF's converted to .txt on my PSP, the converted files would usually display weird characters instead of quotation marks and stuff like that. So I'd rather leave the file in its original format if possible, so I can avoid all these conversion woes.



Edited by indstr 2012-05-11 10:51 PM
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Posted 2012-05-11 11:29 PM
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I guess that's the point...there is no "one best" reader as everyone has a different perspective on what they want. AIReader has a lot of bells and whistles, but in the screen capture above, I was reading a simple text file and it looked weird. That was because the programs default text mode wasn't UTF8, rather some other protocol. And there are so darn many!

I prefer simple text files, and have converted all my ebooks to that format...and using the Calibre program I mentioned in the article, I've bulk converted my books several hundred at a time.

Like you said, the conversion process isn't perfect and sometimes you get strange characters or line breaks...I've simply learned to live with it.

If I could have one, and only one ebook reader, well then I think uBook would be my choice. I like the features and the ability to skin it the way I like it. But others will surely like something different...

And let's face it...you want pictures in your text...PDF files are about the only way to go.
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Posted 2012-05-12 6:18 PM
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Adobe Reader 2.0 is still the best PDF reader out there for CE devices:

http://www.hpcfactor.com/support/cesd/s/0090.asp
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Posted 2012-05-14 2:34 PM
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I've been using Alreader this weekend on a book I had in html format. It's fantastic! The hotkeys are the best thing about it.

I'll have to check out Acrobat for the pdf's.
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Posted 2012-05-16 12:40 PM
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I've installed ubook from Rich's site on J720 and with text or rtf files doesn't seem to be bad.... it quite easy on the eyes...
I'll try to instal altreader too and report the differences..

Edited by meolo2002 2012-05-16 12:43 PM
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Posted 2012-05-20 2:14 AM
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This is great work Rich, thank you. I've been using an old(er) Sony eBook reader and it's on it's last legs now. I read a lot of eBooks on the road, primarily related to security and I've been wanting to ditch the Sony eReader and go with either my Vadem Clio or MobilePro. Now, I may be able to do just that.
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Posted 2012-05-21 1:13 PM
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Rich Hawley - 2012-05-10 8:23 PM

Alreader is a fantastic program...and if you have a 900C, it is certainly worth considering. I love the background clock...very nice feature to keep track of the time while you are reading. It works perfectly on the 900C. And the ability to easily open DocX files is something I was missing with my current version of Textmaker.


Excuse me Rich
i've not understood if you refer to alreader or alreader2... i would try it on jornada
Tks
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Posted 2012-05-24 1:40 PM
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meolo2002 - 2012-05-21 1:13 PM

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Rich Hawley - 2012-05-10 8:23 PM

Alreader is a fantastic program...and if you have a 900C, it is certainly worth considering. I love the background clock...very nice feature to keep track of the time while you are reading. It works perfectly on the 900C. And the ability to easily open DocX files is something I was missing with my current version of Textmaker.


Excuse me Rich
i've not understood if you refer to alreader or alreader2... i would try it on jornada
Tks

It works perfectly on J720.. thank you guys
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