Sharper Image’s Literati ebook reader was initially met with lackluster reviews, but thanks to its first firmware update, the device has now proven to be an excellent value. The impressive first update added a slew of features, but there are still quite a few features the Literati is capable of in the future. Most of the features expected to come for the Literati are standard on most ebook readers, but a few apply to unique features specific to the Literati. Once these issues have been addressed, the Literati will be a powerhouse ebook reader for an excellent price.
The Literati’s dashboard has an excellent design, but its implementation could use a few tweaks. First off, you should be able to switch between the tabs on the dashboard using the left and right page buttons on the side of the device, regardless of where the cursor is. Currently, you have to move the cursor to the top of the dashboard, in the tab area, to navigate the tabs. This results in a lot of wasted time when using the Literati.
The “I’m Reading” tab is a great feature, specific to the Literati, that makes it especially easy when multiple people are sharing the ebook reader. It displays the recently opened books only, and serves as the “home” page for the device’s dashboard. The only problem with the “I’m Reading” tab is that there isn’t an easy way to remove books from it. It can be quite a hassle if you find that you start a lot of books that you don’t intend to finish. It would be nice to be able to remove books from the “I’m Reading” tab with the press of a button.
Even when using the “coverflow” display for your ebooks, if you have a lot of ebooks, it can just be too tedious to find what you are looking for. The Literati needs three things in this area: the ability to search for books by title using the keyboard, the ability to sort book by category, and the ability to remove a book from the Literati without having to connect it to a computer. One additional feature that users are looking forward to is a web browser; the Literati features a full color large screen that would be perfect for browsing the Internet and even watching video clips or movies. Netflix anyone?
Features While Reading
While the actual process of reading on the Literati is already pure pleasure, there are a few simple upgrades that would drastically increase the value of the device. Mainly, the ability to navigate and highlight text would give the reader so much more power. This would allow for easier dictionary lookups and marking interesting portions of text. Paired with a footnote ability, using the keyboard, the Literati would rival the Kindle in flexibility and uses. Adding a search functionality, as well as a “jump to page” action are also disparately needed simple additions. Finally, it will be great once multiple bookmarks can be placed in a book, which will make sharing a Literati easier for families.
While there isn’t much lacking from the Literati, there are a few additions that should be easy to add to the ebook reader. First should be supporting more formats. The Literati currently only supports EPUB and PDF formats, but implementing more should be a simple process. It would be great to see Sharper Image innovate here, and be one of the first devices to support the CBR and CBZ formats, which are for digital comics. Since the reader has full color, it would be a perfect way to enjoy digital comics on the go.
It is puzzling why Sharper Image didn’t add in the ability to transfer books via WiFi at the initial release, but this feature will also add a lot to the device. Using software such as Calibre, Literati users could access their entire ebook collection on their computer from their Literati via WiFi.
Finally, and this is the only feature that may not be technically possible, it would be great to have the ability to charge the Literati via the USB connection. With so many devices already using USB ports to charge, all electronic device makers should get on the bandwagon and stick to USB for charging. Especially now that cars are beginning to come standard with USB ports for charging phones, MP3 players, GPS units and other devices.