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Sunday, Jul 25, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by Curtis Brainard
Columbia Journalism Review (July 2010)

“Talk to people who are into mobile reading devices like the Kindle and the iPad, and a scene from the movie Minority Report tends to come up. Tom Cruise, who is on the run from the law, is on a train. Next to him, a man reads USA Today on what looks and acts like broadsheet paper but is clearly digital film of some sort, with animated graphics and flashing news updates. Suddenly, a photo of Cruise pops up on the man’s (and everyone else’s) gadget, along with an announcement that he is wanted for murder.


It’s a bummer for Cruise, but that screen makes techies swoon: paper-thin, it has the slight gloss of a laminate but otherwise looks like typical newsprint, though it is clearly connected to some ultrafast wireless network and can instantly access the limitless information of the future Internet. You get the impression that, after Cruise fled the train, the man folded up that screen, shoved it into his briefcase, and took it out later to find USA Today (or the publication of his choice) waiting with a fresh batch of articles. Alas, no such product actually exists . . . yet. But it’s closer than you may think. Steven Spielberg and crew developed the idea based on input from E-Ink, a manufacturer of so-called electronic paper based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which The Boston Globe last year called the “hottest technology company” in the Boston area.”


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