August 2009 Issue

E-Reader for Plates: Kindle DX Gets Close

It will display a full-size NACO plate and can store most of the U.S. library. Screen nav is a bit busy, but itís learnable.

Getting approach plates to play on portable electronic devices has proven to be a round peg in a square hole. Several companies have tried to crack this nut, but it seems to defy an elegant why-didnít-I-think-of-that solution that resonates with everyone. The latest effort is to adapt Amazonís much hyped Kindle e-reader to the task of being a chart library, something it was never designed to do but can actually manage with a reasonable degree of grace. A company called Gold Seal Ventures through its Web outlet will launch this product formally at EAA AirVenture in July. They sent us an advance unit for a first look and although weíre favorably impressed, perfection still eludes. Amazon has made ripples in the publishing world with its Kindle e-reader, a device thatís sold as being so-called electronic paper. Kindles are among a class of products that have electrophoretic displays that use minutely charged particles re-arranged on a plastic substrate to produce readable images and text. The process is somewhat like the old Etch-A-Sketch toys we had as kids, but instead of a couple of X-Y knobs, the process is done rapidly by applying selective voltages to the screen to rearrange ink particles into type and rudimentary images.

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