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The Entourage Edge is Alive and Well in Russia

December 3rd, 2011 by · 6 Comments · hardware news

There’s a certain theme in Cold War spy novels where a character dies only to turn up later working for the Russians. I just got to watch that theme play out in the gadget world this week.

A few days ago I posted on a multi-device pilot program going on in Russian schools. They’re testing 4 different gadgets over in Russia with the goal of picking one and issuing it to all students. I wrote that post just because I thought it was neat (and because no one else could), but I also wrote it just to see what response it would generate.

Within a couple hours a reader told me that I had missed another pilot program. That fifth pilot isn’t being run by the Russian Ministry of Education, and that’s why I didn’t hear of it. But the Entourage Edge is being sold in Russia, and it’s going for 22,000 rubles (~$710 USD).

I had to get help on this, so I reached out to Igorsk (I know him via MobileRead). He turned up a couple articles, background info, and this:

As you can see, 4 of the gadgets above match what I showed you earlier this week, and the fifth is the Entourage Edge. I have more detail than this, but I like the graphic. It pulls together all 5 gadgets.

He’s Dead, Jim

Given how long ago it died, I should probably offer some background detail. Entourage launched the Edge dual screen tablet in Fall 2009, and it was the hit of CES 2010. It has a 9.7″ E-ink screen and a 10.1″ LCD screen. Both sides had touchscreens and it had Wifi, Bluetooth, and ran its own custom reading app on top of Android v1.6.

Entourage released a second model in late 2010 called the Pocket Edge, with a 6″ E-ink screen and a 7″ LCD screen.

I was surprised to read that the Entourage Edge was still being sold in Russia because the company had ceased operations in early 2011. At least, that’s what I thought. You might not have noticed the demise of Entourage, but I’m sure you noticed that the Pocket Edge kept going on clearance. The price eventually dropped to $80 as the warehouse was cleared out.

But there was one detail from the death of Entourage that I should have noticed, but I don’t think anyone did. Only the Pocket Edge went on clearance. The larger Entourage Edge didn’t, which should have raised a red flag. Where did those units go if they’re not on clearance? (Russia, obviously, but we didn’t know that at the time.)

I had good contacts with Entourage before it died and I got to watch the company shrink. I was passed from one email to another as people left.  There were a couple issues I wish I had raised at the time, but I didn’t want to bother the remaining staff while they’re struggling to stay the remaining staff. I was happy just to get the Edge support forums copied over to MobileRead before they were deleted.

It’s Alive

But now we know the Edge is still being sold by Akademkniga/Uchebni, a subsidiary of the academic publisher Nauka. The Edge has been on the Russian market since at least September 2010, and it was probably available before that. The details aren’t completely clear, but it appears that the Edge had been tested in pilot programs in 10 schools last year. After Entourage folded, I’m told that Akademkniga/Uchebnik bought the IP and is still having the Edge made in Malaysia.

There’s even a bunchaton of news stories about the Edge and how it’s being used in some schools (including current articles). It’s selling for 22,000 rubles, which is about $710 USD. If Entourage had been able to sell it for that price here in the US I think they would still be around.

I’m still looking into this myself, and I will update with more info if I find anything interesting. There’s probably enough material here for a whole other post on how well the Edge is doing in Russian schools.

Marker.Ru

Edge in Russian Schools 1

Edge in Russian Schools 2

Edge in Russian Schools 3

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • reichsputin

    Hi! I’ve seen that the dual display design is used quite neatly in interactive tests simulating the Unified State Exam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_State_Exam). There are also integrated features for the communication of the students’ client devices with the teacher’s device.

    By the way this program is also running in the region where I live. If I have time, I think I could look at it and post details.

  • reichsputin

    I’ve found it! The official page of this pilot program:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.live-st.ru%2Fitems.asp%3Fid%3D15

    Tons of info. It’s called “The Electronic Educational Complex “Live Lesson””.

  • vldmr

    The summary graphic is incorrect with respect to eDGe – I just waited my 10″ edge, it waits 1470 g, not 554 g as shown there. Actually, even pocket edge weights more, 640g

    • reichsputin

      Obviously, the weight bar was simply copypasted from Ectaco, and then they forgot to correct it.

  • Berufsleser und eBook-Reader – 2011 « Walfischbucht

    [...] enTourage Systems – Update: Die folgenden Sätze beziehen sich auf ein Gerät, das allenfalls noch in Restbeständen aus Abverkäufen oder gebraucht erhältlich ist. enTourage Systems hat seine Geschäftstätigkeit eingestellt, die Forumsserver wurden mit dem 31.05.2011 vom Netz genommen. Es gibt keinerlei offiziellen Support und keine Garantie mehr für dieses schöne Gerät, das leider keinen hinreichenden Abnehmerkreis gefunden hat. Geräte die laufen, laufen weiterhin gut. Nutzerunterstützung von Nutzern für Nutzer gibt es vor allem noch im eDGe Forum auf mobileread.com – enTourage Systems hatte seit Anfang 2010 den enTourage eDGe  im Verkauf. Dabei handelt es sich um eine Art Hybridgerät aus eReader (mit 9,7 Zoll eInk Display und Wacom Digitizer Touchscreen) und Android Tablet (das Gerät verfügt zusätzlich über ein 10 Zoll LCD-Touchscreen-Display). Das Ganze ist zusammenklappbar und mutet nach Art und Gewicht wie ein Netbook ohne Tastatur an. Das Zusammenspiel der Nutzung der beiden Displays auf dem Gerät, das unter Android 1.6 läuft, ist allerdings gut gelöst. Hier ist eine Anzeige von pdf-Dokumenten sowohl auf dem eInk-Diplay alsauch auf dem LCD-Display möglich. Auf dem eInk-Display können pdf-Dateien (ebenso wie epub-Dateien) auch mit abspeicherbaren oder per mail versendbaren Anmerkungen versehen werden. Seit Anfang April gibt es die Möglichkeit,  auf Wunsch ein Update der Firmware des eDGe (und des kleinen Bruders Pocket eDGe) auf Android 2.2 (Froyo) vorzunehmen, allerdings bisher nur als BETA-Version. Ob und wann eine Endversion erscheint ist derzeit unklar. Die Geräte erfüllen ihren Zweck aber wie bisher auch mit der Android 1.6 – Firmware weiter. – Einen kurzen Blick auf den eDGe gibt es auch hier im Blog. – Das Gerät soll angeblich weiter in Malaysia hergestellt und durch Akademkniga/Uchebnik in der Russischen Föderation vermarktet werden, vgl. hier via The Digital Reader. [...]

  • Ruben Campos R

    Hola quisiera comprar pero no se donde lo podria hacer pagaria lo que fuera quiero 1.

    Gracias

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