There are many ebook readers on the market today and more coming any time now an some are selling better than others. Amazon's Kindle was the pioneer that got consumers interested in reading books digitally. Apple just began pre-selling its new iPad and the company is looking to be the “Kindle of tablets” so to speak and Apple hopes to win over the majority of people who have yet to purchase an ebook reader.
Consumers have a lot of choices today with offerings from well known names such as Sony and Asus and some from companies most of us have never heard of. All of the ebook readers that followed the Kindle were designed to directly compete with Amazon's wildly popular ebook reader. Some of the new entrants into the field come with 'extras' such as music players and web browsers with the hopes that they will somehow make the Kindle obsolete. The problem is, now there are so many different ereaders out there and some of them seem to do far more than just offer you a black and white e-ink screen from which to read your favorite books.
For instance, some of the ebook readers soon to be released will offer two screens with web browsing capabilities. While this may sound like a great idea, to me, this is no longer an ebook reader and should be in an entirely different category. If you are offering an ebook reader, then you should sell just that-an ebook reader. Offering a web browser on a reader kind of sends the message of 'Oh yeah. When you get bored reading, you can browse the web'. Well, my point is, when I am reading a paper and ink book and get tired of reading, I simply put the book down and go find something else to do. No options, nothing to decide-just stop reading.
A few devices are on their way that offer color screens. They will be featuring Mirasol technology with the screens and I do believe that colored screens will be here to stay. It is very likely that within the next few years will will routinely be reading our favorite magazines on devices and color is not an option when it comes reading magazines, rather it is a part of the magazine reading experience. It is also a requirement for many textbooks that the material be shown in color, so this option should open up a whole new category of ebooks that will be available for download in the the academic world. Although the technology is not quite there yet, you can bet color e-ink is being worked on.
The Entourage Edge is a device I wrote about earlier and this curious looking device is in a book-like format that opens to reveal two separate screens of the same size. Entourage calls their device a “dualbook which combines the functions of an e-reader, notepad, netbook and audio/video recorder and player in one”. Hmm. So, is this an ebook reader? Well, yes, and no.
So, for those of who who have yet to purchase an ebook reader, do you think you will buy a Kindle or a BeBook or do you think you'll go with one of these other devices that offers you a lot more functionality? I'd love to hear your opinion, so please do leave a comment!
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