AN IPHONE DOCK being marketed by Elonex effectively converts the Apple smartphone into an Ipad tablet.
The £149 Idock XL has a 10-inch screen and a battery life of eight hours - long enough for you to watch a couple of movies on a long flight, Elonex says. You can see and use both screens at once, giving it a potential for dual-screen applications.
Chief executive Nick Smith said, "It will let you run Ipad apps - but not officially. Apple would not let us release the code [to enable the feature]. But people can go out on the Internet and download it. So you get an Ipad for under £150."
Smith was speaking at the Gadget Show held at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, where he also launched a £99 e-book reader that, like the Ipad, uses an LCD touchscreen rather than the usual e-ink display.
The e-reader, called the 710EB, will be available by the end of next month and looks similar to a Ipad. It extends Elonex's existing range of e-readers, the 511 Series, which were sold exclusively through Waterstones but are now going on general sale.
The Ipad is widely being seen as a device for delivering rather than creating content and manufacturers are concerned about its effect on the market for e-ink readers that boast long battery life but lack fast interactivity because of their sluggish screens.
The 710EB, designed and manufactured in Britain, offers speed at the expense of battery life, though that should still be respectable. Smith says the 710EB will appeal to people who want a simple e-reader without a confusion of other functions, at a fraction of the price of an Ipad.
In a related note, across the NEC hall Viewsonic was showing off its latest VeB620 e-reader, which uses an e-ink screen and lists at £120, or £210 with a touchscreen and WiFi. Product marketing manager Russell Cole said he believed the Ipad could actually stimulate sales of e-readers by raising their profile. µ