What I have been working on: bq Cervantes Touch

In the last months I have been working for bq. Bq is a spanish company making ereaders
and tablets and it’s actually the market leader in Spain for ereaders and Android based tablets.

Last week, we are launched one great product I have been working on: bq Cervantes Touch:


This is a very nice device powered by a modern Freescale processor, state-of-art e-ink screen with a IR touch sensor and very nice power consumption. It should give the best reading experience out there. But the real important stuff is the software. The device is powered by a emdebian linux distribution and a custom reading application. Some
notes:

  • Very aggressive power management.
  • Quick and fast wifi management powered by connman
  • Qt based UI
  • On-line services

This last item, the on-line services allows you not only to buy new books from the store, but also sharing your reading experience with your iOS or Android devices and your desktop computer. This means reading the books you have purchased with your own comments, marks, notes, highlights, bookmarks, reading stats, position, etc..

I am really proud to be in a team that is competing with giants like Amazon (Kindle), Barnes&Noble (Nook) and Kobo and actually making a better product at a very competitive price.

The development of this device has been exciting and has involved playing with very different parties: component providers (Neonode IR, Broadcom WiFi chipset, Freescale, etc…), platform team, UI design team, etc…

For the future we are working hard on new software releases (provided as OTA) including bug fixes, a revamped UI and some new social features (like sharing paragraphs of a book you are reading on twitter/facebook, comments, reviews, etc…). Also we are planning a “hackers” edition firmware that will remove some proprietary ¬†stuff we
are forced to include (that’s the price you have to pay if you want to support Adobe DRM books :( ) and will give root access to the device, so you could customize your software, play games and any other crazy stuff.

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8 Responses to What I have been working on: bq Cervantes Touch

  1. Speaking of the “hackers” edition, I can’t understand why eInk displays are so expensive for small projects. I wanted to buy a couple of displays to use them in a store to show the timetable, various offers, prices etc. and I was blown off of how much samples costed – something around hundreds of dollars.

  2. Ismael says:

    Is the hackers edition really doing to happen? If I can easily root the device and sex it up I’m probably taking this instead of a paperwhite!

  3. jeredox says:

    Your comment and point of view is intersting.
    As a potential user, i would like to know how the pdf viewer works. Does it support “complex” pdf files?

    Thanks

  4. fer says:

    Cristian: eink displays are expensive because the fabrication process is somehow complicated: they make big panels and the cut them in smaller displays. Every panel has different physical characteristics and they need to calibrate it to check which waveform is the best one for it.

    Ismael: I cannot promise anything regarding hackers edition. As in every company there are some higher priority tasks before it, but I hope we can work on it after the next stable release.

    jeredox: the pdf rendering is done by the Adobe proprietary RMSDK (again, we need it for external DRM support). I guess that as Adobe is the company behind the pdf spec it is state of the art support :)

  5. dani says:

    with the “hacker” firm, could we install Android on it?

  6. fer says:

    dani: Yes, the hackers firmware would allow you to modify the kernel and reinstall the main rootfs, so you could install Android on it.

  7. Ignacio says:

    I fer, I was considering buying a bq reader, but I hope you can deliver a “hacker” version. Not only because I would like to try Android on it (just for fun), but mainly because I despise Adobe for not supporting Linux for their ADE software to manage my DRMed ebooks. With that kind of support, It’s easier to pirate ebooks and other contents than to jump through all the hoops that Adobe’s DRM makes.

  8. Oscar says:

    Good morning,

    Yesterday I receive my BQ Cervantes Touch Light and it is really great. Im sure I will enjoy it.

    But I need more options to work with Google World (all my bussines and home media have been purchased in Google Play Store).

    If you need some beta tester please contact with me themacboy@hotmail.com

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