Tech gurus have got into predicting the boom or doom of e-readers available ever since Apple brought to fourth their new tablet, the iPad. And it seems it is the Amazon’s Kindle that has to face the brunt of their ire. It’s not without reason though. As the much hyped iPad has everyone thinking whether they should stick to the device that is just an e-reader and is black and white or invest in a multi-functional and colorful tablet. This along with other e-reader news is what you will be having here.
Ever since Apple launched the much awaited iPad on 27th January this year, there have been mixed reaction about its functionality and usability. Well, there are some people who love everything about Apple and the iPad is just another amazing product for them to add to their kitty. But there are some people for whom the iPad has been nothing less of a disappointment. This might have to do with the pre-launch hype, but it does seem that the iPad has some important features missing from its list. For example, there is no Adobe Flash support, which in most ways cripples the web functionality of the iPad. There is no multitasking functionality in the iPad while USB ports are missing too.
And it is only if we keep to the price, then $499 is quite a reasonable price to justify buying it. But then, you got to think again, since for a multimedia device, the lower priced version does not come with enough storage capability. And then maybe you would have to spend another $150 to $360 a year for a 3G connection.
Unfortunately, some feel that Apple has failed or rather missed the chance in coming up with a revolutionary product that the iPad could have been.
Well, how about the reading experience on the iPad? Here too, the Apple’s wonder fails to satisfy. While they could have used the revolutionary new display technology, the PixelQi that boasts of reflective mode, what we find on the iPad is a backlit LCD screen. So it might give you the feel of a super size iPhone. For causal reading such as an e-mail or short term reading, the LCD screen is great but if one has to read for a really long time, the e-Ink display would be more comfortable for the eyes than the LCD screen.
Many would say that we do read for a long time on the computer or iPhone, so what’s the big deal about it? Well for reading books which contain blocks of text in a flow with a small font and running for pages, an LCD screen might prove to be tough for the eyes. For avid book readers who read for long hours at a time, they would prefer an e-reader that gives them the feel of a book on an electronic background without a non-reflective display.
With the e-reader market growing everyday, there are other brands too that give more functionality for an e-reader for those interested in doing more than e-reading. The wait wont be longer than a few months when new e-readers with new and multi functionality interface would be available and some might have the PixelQi display as well. In fact, rumor has it that it is Amazon itself that is readying a device that will pose a direct challenge to the mighty iPad.
There are rumors in the market that very soon there would other products in the line of the iPad and would compete with it in the future. Kindle belongs to the niche category of readers who probably own a computer, an iphone or ipod and would love to use the e-reader to enhance their reading experience. More or less like a book in the hand. These customers are trusted buyers of Kindle. And if Amazon ever comes up with a product for multi-functionality process it would be around the lines of enhancing the reading experience.
So would iPad affect the e-reader market in a big way? We can’t say much until it is out in the market. It will surely draw the attention of Apple fans who are looking for much more than just reading from an e-reader. At the same time, dedicated readers who spend a long time reading books are likely to stick to their e-readers mainly on account of the sheer reading pleasure that they get from e-readers. However, the same can’t be said of the larger and the pricier e-readers like the Kindle DX or Plastic Logic Que as their markets might start to shrink. Other multifunctional devices like Entourage Edge and maybe even netbooks are also not likely to come out unscathed from the iPad onslaught.
We can already feel the impact the iPad is about to make. Apple has started to negotiate contracts with large publishing firms for setting the price of books on iPad. For a long time now publishers have complained about the low price of bestsellers on Amazon’s Kindle i.e. $9.99. Now the publishing firms are using their contract with Apple as a leveraging act against Amazon to raise the fee. From March 2010, the best sellers will be available at $12.99 to $14.99 and the prices will be the same everywhere too. So in a way, Apple is responsible for e-book prices becoming expensive by about 50%.
Meanwhile, the wait is going to be finally over as the iPad is slated to hit market on the 3rd of April in the US while Apple fans in Canada have to wait a bit more, till 24th April to lay their hands on the iPad. Nevertheless, the year 2010 is the year for e-readers and tablet PCs to shape up most of the electronic market and things are getting exciting by the day.
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Sovan Mandal is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for goodereader.com. He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email