CES 2012: The Cybook Odyssey Is The Kindle Killer

By Kevin Kelly

You’d have to be crazy to introduce a new eBook reader right now, with Amazon and Barnes & Noble cleaning up in that space. But what if you could do it with a product that was lighter, better, and much, much faster? That’s where Bookeen comes in with their new Cybook Odyssey. This French company has been making eBook readers since 2000, and while that first eReader was big and clunky, the Odyssey is sleek, elegant, and sports an incredible High Speed Ink System that allows you to scroll, change pages at lightning speed, and even view animations, all through E Ink.

You really have to see this HSIS E Ink in person to truly appreciate it, but Cybook has provided some videos showing how it works. You can actually scroll and view things like animated gifs (at about 11 frames per second), something that isn’t possible on the current Nook and Kindle offerings. It may seem like a small factor, but if you’ve ever tried to scroll on an E Ink reader, you know it’s not the smooth, intuitive experience you’re looking for, but now it can be. It also supports multitouch, and should bring an entirely new game to the world of eReaders.

So how do you beat Amazon or Barnes & Noble at their game? By introducing a better product. In a form factor that’s slimmer and sleeker than anything else out there, the Cybook Odyssey features a built-in accelerometer so you can easily flip between portrait and landscape, offers microUSB so you can add your own built-in storage, has about a month of battery life, supports multiple filetypes for documents and images, built-in wifi, and a powerful Texas Instruments core powering everything. The resolution is 600 x 800 at 167 dpi, which is more than enough for book reading, and that will most likely improve in the coming months.

I would be surprised if either of the two big companies leading the eBook charge right now weren’t already looking at Cybook and what it might take to buy their technology. While this small company was tucked away at the back of the South Hall at CES, there is no doubt that they will be making waves of E Ink through the world of electronic reading.

Speaking of reading, keep up with more gadget news through all of our CES 2012 coverage!

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