If you ‘Wiki’ the word e-reader, you’ll stumble upon it being defined as an electronic gizmo that serves no more than the purpose of looking at and understanding the written word. It could include construing anything from periodicals to digital books using e-ink technology. It’s the latter actually which distinguishes these devices from others that are also capable of supporting text on screen. A look at the current scenario and there’s no denying how e-readers have transformed massively from being pieces of luxury to having a kingdom of their own. Readable in bright sunlight, a surged battery life, being able to multi-task, there’s lots on the average bookworm’s wish list for their desired e-reader. But is the budding tablet frenzy killing the e-reader market? Are e-readers still the best choice for avid book lovers? Well, leaf through to know more.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty of e-reader terrain primarily needs an understanding of the technology on which this device category has nourished so far. With many tech lovers locking horns over the fact that there are a slew of devices allowing digital content support, what technically puts ebook readers up in the race is the included E Ink technology. Proffering a screen that’s much clearer than LCD counterparts, no backlighting also means reading that’s easy on the eyes. Effortless reading for long hours without really being a pain in the ‘eyes’ is what the devices are entrusted to do. Sadly e-ink screens too are no longer the unshared pickle of the digital bookworm. So it would be rather difficult to find a device that’s solely designed to serve one purpose only. Don’t we all wish after all for that one gadget that lets us send emails, stay connected to social networking sites and read e-books too while we can still make calls?
In a bid to proffer a handful of these functionalities, it appears to be a mob as far as the e-reader market is concerned. But the fact that devices purely as e-readers have the e-ink as their highlight only puts them a notch above tablets in general especially with their not so read-friendly LCD competitors. What’s more most users are comfortable with e-inks and it’s purely why the devices are much loved. It’s more about the functionality of the product and its overall appearance that seems to affect the salability. There’s no denying that the e-reader market is filled to the gills but those with devoted functionality like the Kindle seem to have better chances of survival in the long run over others that appear to do nothing more than horde space. In fact we’re quite having the Amazon hangover as it’s been just over a week since we heard about Amazon stating the third generation Kindle to be the ‘the most gifted product’ in the history of the company. Amazon Worldwide believes it to be its bestseller until now. But the very fact that the Kindle is just an e-reader and nothing else also seems to be its biggest pitfall. Especially since we’ve seen iPad come in line for the coveted e-reader throne.
Introducing a new category of devices is a different thing altogether but expanding the feature list of a committed e-reader that’s at the manufacturer’s business core for something never ventured before would be commercial suicide. It is after all tablets that are entering e-reader terrain and hardly anything the other way round. Veritably, there seem to be just a few committed Kindle fans who wish the device underwent some serious changes with the most frequent request being modification of the device from an e-reader to a fully functional tablet. Making it simpler to avail of ebooks as well as compatibility with various reading formats to up the e-reader ante is also desired by users in general. User preferences are also seen leaning towards colored ink over the traditional black and white, compelling manufacturers to soon tread that path in large numbers.
If various surveys in the past year are to be believed, it comes to light that more bookworms are setting aside their liking for the conventional printed word. Thanks to the added advantage of portability and convenience, book lovers are showing a strong affinity for ebooks. With no pondering upon needed, Amazon’s Kindle device all versions included stands high up on our list of must-haves for those who love reading. Featuring an impressive E Ink screen, the $139 Wi-Fi and $189 Wi-Fi + 3G editions look good and bear an extremely slim profile. The latter has a super fast refresh rate to its name too. If you’re looking for something more than a 6” screen for reading, the Kindle DX at $379 appears to be an apt pick with its massive 9.7” E Ink display.
Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-reader starting at a price of $149 is in the running too with its Wi-Fi support, E Ink screen and secondary color touchscreen. Barnes and Nobles has also been brave enough to cough up a non E Ink screen-enabled e-reader dubbed the Nook Color tagged at $249. It’s designed for spanning through magazines above everything else. In a rather attractive tailoring, the Kobo e-reader costing $149 CAD though basic isn’t a bad deal either. The best part about it is that it can be opted from a palette of colors while being lightweight. With E Ink goodness, the device gets a helping hand of Wi-Fi too. Then there’s also Sony’s range of e-readers that seem alluring thanks to the various hues they’re available in. You can choose from a Reader Pocket Edition, Touch Edition and Daily Edition depending on your reading requirements. The slim and trim Pocket Edition labeled for $149.99 with its 5” full touch screen and good battery life makes for a great choice.
As we spin our crystal ball, the foreseeable future shows a plethora of gadgets mating. From tablet and e-reader functionalities being wedded in probably ‘unholy’ matrimony, e-ink technology could just have more live-in relationships with a larger number of smartphones. In fact those with reading habits and haven’t yet got their electronic reading device are set to be date trapped by one soon with a wider number of reading devices now within reach.