Author Topic: EEVblog #936 - Mailbag  (Read 14355 times)

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Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #936 - Mailbag
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2016, 02:50:15 pm »
OOooh, love those flatpack ICs in their colorful plastic holders! Betcha those are Philco.

Man I'd love a few of those chips. One to crack open and look inside.

Those would be either Ti or Fairchild, and as a trap the pinout for the PM3 flatpack is almost always different to the DIL package pinout, though the actual die inside is the same, and the sequence of pins is the same, just the power and ground pins are the shortest ones in the middle of the package, not the more common DIL version where they are top right and bottom left.

crDSC01484 by SeanB_ZA, on Flickr

As to the 4 bangers, those are cost optimised to the extreme, with the boards being single sided so they could be screen printed with the india ink conductors, then copper plated ( saved copper on the board, and you use a much thinner board) and then there was a punch die that both cut the finished boards out of the panel and cut the joins that made the plating possible ( the 2,3 or more thin traces leading to a hole in the board, or off the edge) so you make a very cheap but very reliable board. The screen printed resist and the silver loaded epoxy screen jumpers as well are quite reliable, and also can be done on the large panel before punching, making it possible to do 100 boards at a time in a single pass through the drying oven.

Offline Fallingwater

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Re: EEVblog #936 - Mailbag
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2016, 03:31:18 pm »
Bookeen emerged as a respectable manufacturer in the early days of eBook reader. We're talking ancient history here... TEN years ago! *gasp*

Kindles were yet to become a thing, and the e-paper market was largely dominated by Sony's early offerings - with excellent hardware but proprietary and intentionally crippled software, in the great Sony tradition of ineffectually blocking anything that could plausibly be pirated.

When others started entering the market Sony employed their well-honed process of trying to ram crippled products down people's throats anyway and only facing reality and releasing products that actually worked much too late - because that had worked so well a few years earlier in selling more mp3 players than Apple and Creative.

In any case the market was left wide open to the competitors, who all had worse hardware but readers that didn't require you to jump through absurd copy-protection loops to read your ebooks - which was important because at the time most people were actually reading pirated content, digital delivery being in its infancy.

It didn't take long for Amazon to start flexing its muscles and developing the concept of the store-dependant device, but in the meantime a smattering of smaller manufacturers brought their own e-readers to market, and Bookeen was probably the most successful of them until Kobo came around. Then Amazon dropped the price of the basic Kindles to impulse-buy levels and that was that, but before that happened Bookeen actually made some decent readers.

I myself have a Bookeen Cybook Opus as my own e-reader; I bought it six years ago for 110 euro (on a special sale - it used to cost 150), use it daily and have never felt the need to replace it - it's very basic, but it's small and easily pocketable and does its one job perfectly fine.

Bookeen themselves still exist, but they can't be in good shape; their ebook sales service is basically unknown, their last reader was announced in 2014 (and even that didn't receive stellar reviews), they've vanished from offline store shelves and Amazon and Kobo have stolen all the market. I've seen some local rebrands being sold recently that look suspiciously like the Opus; I suspect Bookeen gets all its current profit from licensing its designs to rebranders, though even that can't be much because the rebrands themselves aren't actually cheaper than Kindles.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 03:34:19 pm by Fallingwater »

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