Barnes & Noble has just made its move to enter the eBook reader market with the introduction of its own device. This device, called “Nook” is proof that there is plenty of chance for innovation in this field. The Nook adds a small, full color, screen underneath the eInk screen which is used for displaying the content for reading.
By using this separate screen Barnes & Noble elegantly worked around the most inconvenient aspect of the currently available crop of eBook readers: navigating through your content.
The eInk screen used in just about every eBook reader out there is great for displaying black on white content as it does not require energy to maintain the image being displayed. This allows for incredibly long lasting battery charges which is a great aspect for a device you would want to carry on a long trip.
On the other hand eInk displays have notorious slow refresh times making them a pain for quickly displaying options and menus for navigating the devices actual content. By using a separate, touch enabled, display for the navigation, the Nook allows for much simpler and faster navigation with a richer end-user experience as it can display book covers in full color.
The Nook’s appearance is very similar to that of the Kindle 2, with the color screen taking the space used by a keyboard in Amazon’s product.
In addition to the second screen, the Nook also goes beyond the Kindle in communication options as it allows the usage of WiFi for downloading content, allowing users to take advantage of any hotspot to get new books. With an introductory price of $259, the Nook could be an interesting alternative for those considering getting an eBook reader.
Sony has released two new models of its Reader device. One of the new models is smaller with a 5 inch screen and is considered to be pocket model. This smaller model will cost $199, making it one of the cheapest alternatives for reading ebooks.
Perhaps these new models can help Sony gain more traction in the market as it is currently in the shadow of Amazon’s Kindle. It would be interesting for Sony to gain more market share before Barnes and Noble starts offering a device of its own, next year.
I hope to be able to see these devices first hand soon, but won’t hold my breath waiting for it. Sony doesn’t seem to consider Brazil as a potential market for ebook Readers as I’ve never seen one for offered for sale down here. For now, I’ll continue to consider my iPod as the best device for reading ebooks.
One of the first things I did after I got an iPod Touch was to install eReader on it. Actually, it might have been the first application I installed, though I can’t be totally sure.
I have been reading books electronically for a long time as I have always been a big believer that this is the inevitable future of books. I’ve read a lot of books on my PocketPC and on notebooks and now that I’ve got some on the iPod I feel we are getting closer to what I used to envision for this technology back in 1997.
Back then I set out to create both an ebook reading and a creation software. I was certain that the future was all about buying books on the Internet and immediatelly downloading them to your reading device. As these devices were not immediatelly available I was writing a PC version of what I though the device should do. It was a lot of fun, even though it didn’t really go anywhere as we were not able to raise capital to really startup the busines.
Still, this early experience, and the fact that I just “believed” that this was the future, made me follow advances in this area closely and made an early adopter out of me. Through these years I’ve always maintained that what was really needed was a device that was light and thin, but that still had a big enough screen to be confortable to hold and read.
The Kindle DX is a step in the right direction, as far as screen sizes go, but it is also a step in the wrong direction in respect to price and functionality. If I am going to carry a device of tha size around and pay that much for it, I expect it to do a lot more than allow me to read.
The iPhone and the iPod Touch are a step in the right direction in regards to the functionality of the device and even in regards to price, but still have a small screen. Now, if Apple only released a Kindle sized device with the capabilities of the iPod Touch we would be just about where we need to be get the masses to really take to reading electronic editions.
Amazon introduced this week the Kindle DX. The new product is essentially a much larger version of the Kindle 2 with the capability of displaying native PDF files. You can expect that without the need to make the document fit on the smaller screen of the Kindle and still be readable the reading experience will be much better.
Early pictures show great looking images of newspapers and we can expect that textbooks will be much more at home in this new device. In fact it seems that Amazon is specifically targetting newspapers and textbooks with this new device. This strategy makes a lot of sense to me, as these publications don’t really fit well on a small screen.
The price of this new device, on the other hand, is a bit puzzling. At $489.00 the Kindle DX is too expensive to become a mass market phenomenon. I can only image that it is the e-ink display that makes the device so expensive as you can get great netbooks a lot cheaper.
Amazon is definitely playing it smart in releasing Kindle for the iPhone. From what information I’ve been able to get it seems that the first implementation of the software is still a bit “plain”, but this is a huge step forward.
Lets look at how this is good for readers first. To start out, if you own an iPhone (not sure if the iPod touch will work as well) you’ll be able to read Kindle books without having to buy a Kindle. Considering the price of a Kindle, this is surely the cheapest way to get started with Amazon ebooks. The Kindle for iPhone application is free.
Readers from outside the US might be able to order ebooks from Amazon, while previously they surely couldn’t as the Kindle is only sold in the US. (I would guess that this would be a big plus for Amazon too.) Also, though I’m sure many people take their Kindles on the road, speacilly on long trips, just about everyone carries their phones everywhere. This means that readers will be able to read more, in situations in which it would not have been possible too so before. (Oh, I guess this could be considered a plus for Amazon too. Hummm, there seems to be a pattern emerging here.) Having the Kindle for iPhone sych your reading position with your Kindle is a big one too, as you can more confortably read on the Kindle’s larger (and easier on the eyes) screen when you get home.
Now for Amazon, everything about this is a great move. They get more readers, readers reading more and consequently probably buying more books. At the same time they stake out the ebook reading territorry in the iPhone.
After the casualness with which the iPhone and iPod Touch started to make inroads in the portable game console market, against such stablished players as the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, Amazon must have felt that they better make sure that people reading on the iPhone and iPods were reading books sold by Amazon.
UPDATE: It seems that the iPod Touch can run the Kindle for iPhone application.
I’ve read many reviews of Amazon’s new version of its Kindle eBook reader. It seems to be a general consensus that the new version is a huge improvement over the previous one.
Being based in Rio de Janeiro I cannot get a Kindle 2, as they are not sold overseas, and the import tax would really kill its attractiveness. The pictures I’ve seen to substantiate what the reviews indicate: the new Kindle looks much better than the previous one.
Amazon seems to be onde right track with the Kindle, as Sony seems to be going in a general good direction with its own eBook reader. When visiting a Sony store in San Francisco I had the oppotunity to try the Sony reader and it gave a much better impression than what I had seen of the Kindle. With the new version, Amazon seems to be making up the difference in design effort.
In general principle, in looking for an ebook reader, I would prefer one that is tied up to Amazon then one that is tied to the Sony online book store. This seems to be the big selling point for Amazon’s Kindle.