We Need An E-Reader For Car Guys

I love the idea of reducing the number of devices I own. The thing I carry in my pocket already takes pictures, plays games, gives me alarms and reminders, browses the web, and even makes phone calls, sometimes. But there's just some things I do that need their own stuff. Working on my cars is one of them.

Like most car guys (male and female, of course) I use repair books and guides when I work on my cars, and I've often wished I had them electronically, so I could more easily access them, search them — the same basic reasons I love having any book in e-reader format. I have three devices I can read eBooks on, as well: A Kindle, a MacBook Air, and an iPhone — and I don't want to even touch any of them when I'm working on a car. That's why we need something else. Our own E-Reader. Just for car guys.

Maybe I'm just a disgusting slob, but when I work on a car my hands usually look like I've murdered C-3PO after doing repulsive things to his oily innards. My hands are grease and grit encrusted pentapods that would make any touchscreen unusable in seconds, and any trackpad or keyboard a mess. Using the devices I have now is not an option.

I don't think I'm alone. I think there is a real market for an e-reader device that is designed to be used with greasy, possibly gloved hands and built to take actual abuse.

We Need An E-Reader For Car Guys

The kind of thing that can live in your toolbox or trunk without worrying about. I looked around for ruggedized cases, e-readers or tablets, and while some do exist, they all have some fatal flaw, usually that they're touch screens, which just won't work.

So here's what I want:

• A rugged, rubberized case with a handle
• No touchscreen; UI would be controlled with a fat, stubby joystick or joypad and a rubberized keyboard. The keyboard would have the letters embossed on it, so there's nothing to rub off and the more dirt in there, the more legible the keys get
• The screen can be ePaper or LCD; color's not really necessary, but could be nice. Backlit would be great.
• Software: I don't care if it's Android or Kindle or whatever OS, as long as repair manuals can be downloaded to it, books searched for key words, and some nice things like step-by-step displays where you see step 1 big and full screen, and single keys take you forward or back. Bookmarking, too.
• The ability to recharge from a cigarette lighter would be nice, and, if you wanted to get fancy, throw an OBD reader in there.

I made some quick 3D mockups of what I'm thinking of; I like the flip-back keyboard/joystick panel to make a stand, if I do say so myself (though that means a flat joypad for navigation).

We Need An E-Reader For Car Guys

The ability to browse the web over wifi or 3G or play videos, etc. would be great, but I could live without that. I just want a good, tough thing I can find all my service manuals in and not worry about when I drop it or get it filthy. So. Who's with me? Anyone own an electronics factory-city in China I can borrow?