Camera-Toting PocketBook Ultra eReader Scans Your Documents
PocketBook, a Swiss device maker, is rolling out the PocketBook Ultra, an ebook reader priced at the equivalent of around $230 USD. You get a 6”, frontlit, 1024x758-pixel E-Ink touchscreen, 4GB of storage, a micro SD card slot for more, WiFi, and – by far the most interesting – a 5-megapixel camera on the back panel.
Among the various apps PocketBook has loaded into the Linux-based OS is character recognition software. You photograph your paper documents, and the device will convert them to editable text files for reading or uploading to cloud services. There exist “proper” hardware for this sort of task, but here's an ebook reader that can do it in a pinch.
Barcodes and QR codes can be scanned as well, and you can take regular photos, though the slowly-refreshing, 16-shade grayscale display might make for a clumsy shot. At least you get an LED flash.
Anyway, the PocketBook Ultra's full list of supported file formats include EPUB, PDF, TXT, RTF, HTML, DOC/DOCX, JPG, PNG, BMP, and TIFF, among a few others. There's a headphone jack for MP3 audio playback, too, along with text-to-speech “in the set of languages.” I assume they meant “in several languages.”
The whole thing runs on a 1Ghz processor with 512MB of RAM, and a 1500 mAh battery good for a month of runtime. The weight is spec'd at 175 grams, and exterior colour options include emerald, white, and dark brown.
All of that said, shops in Germany should begin stocking Pocketbook Ultras later this month, with availability in Russia and Ukraine following shortly after. It's unclear whether or not Pocketbook will make the Ultra available in North America, let alone other markets, just yet.