April 27, 2007

The iPhone and Mobipocket titles?

I'm quite looking forward to the iPhone, indeedy-deed. I use a Treo 650 for my personal phone and a Blackberry 8700 for my work phone, and I have serious hatred issues with both of them. The Berry, while satisfying my 'always on the web' cravings tolerably well (I don't consider EDGE too slow for handheld use) suffers from not having a media slot and being an absolutely abysmal phone. I want my cell to be a phone, damn it. My Kyocera 7135 was a phone first and a Palm second, and while that gave its Palm side short shrift sometimes, that's what I wanted. If I was more concerned about carrying portable computing power I'd carry a frigging OQO.

The Treo 650 is still soldiering on after two years of hard use, for which I must give it full marks. It's scarred and beaten, but unbowed. It has a completely useless camera and a more useful MiniSD slot, big plus on the latter. The reason for my approval here is that the Treo also serves, in around 95% of its non-phone use, as my pocket book reader using Mobipocket's software.

I buy my e-books mostly from Baen Books' Webscriptions site - DRM-free Mobipocket format sci-fi. I have maybe 135 titles in my Palm at any given time, pretty much guaranteeing that if I find myself stuck in an airport or train station for twenty minutes, I can at least zone out to a fun book.

The iPhone, it appears, has little chance of gaining Mobipocket functionality. If Apple is being as stingy with dev kits as is being whispered, that doesn't bode well. So what to do? This is sort of a big deal for me. As I see it so far, I have a few options.

  • Hope that a) there will be an Apple-approved ebook reader and that b) I can convert the titles if need be.
  • Find a hack.

Well, I'll be ecstatic if a) comes to pass, but I've been noodling about b) anyway. It occurs to me that at the most industrious end of the scale, I could try to get a Mobipocket-format capable reader that is implemented as a Java Applet and which would run inside Safari (although, I must admit, I have no idea if there will be a full JVM on the iPhone). That leaves only the problem of where to store the books, at least, such that the applet could read them.

I might mail them to myself, embedded in HTML. I wonder if the iPhone would cache them in mail.app and then open them with a reader? Perhaps I could render them as PDFs, first. That might help.

Hmf. It all seems so convoluted.

Posted by jbz at April 27, 2007 10:39 PM | TrackBack



join the dark side & get pocket pc phone. it will do everything you want - even control the weak minded. Feel the power of windows the palm of your hands, young jedi.

Posted by: from the past at April 28, 2007 1:36 PM
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