If you have a tablet or smartphone running Android or iOS you are used to a constant barrage of notifications. Notifications have been a blunt instrument for apps to try to get our attention. Every time you install something new, you get a pop-up message that asks if you want to allow it to send you notifications. If you say yes, they arrive with the same intensity as emails, draining precious battery life, making your phone more annoying than savvy. e-Readers on the other hand have never had this issue, which gives it a higher level of immersion.
I have been using an iPad for a number of years and my attention while reading an eBook is constantly shifting towards the notifications I receive. Simpsons Tapped Out is letting me know there are more aliens to be squashed or Spider-Man Unlimited is informing me that my energy is now full. Haven’t played a game in awhile, a ton of prompts suddenly say “we miss you, please come back”. Obviously you can turn these off, but if you have a ton of apps and games installed, it can take hours to tweak all of the settings.
Dedicated e-readers such as the Kindle Voyage or Kobo Aura H2O are a very different beast than your average smartphone or tablet. There are almost zero notifications, aside from low battery life or new content being synced.
Some tablets by Amazon and Kobo have tried to tackle the notification system with an improvement called “Quiet Mode” or “Quiet Time.” Its a simple feature found in the setting menu that will automatically disable all push notifications and disable popups. Sadly, these tablets have not been embraced by the global market and remain niche devices.
If you find yourself being detracted by a constant barrage of notifications while reading on your mobile device, you might want to look at buying an e-reader instead. They certainly don’t provide the same type of generalist functionality, but if you want to lose yourself in a good book, you don’t want to buy anything else.