Sunday, October 31, 2010

Follow up to "Amazon and the Kindle"

This has to be the follow up to my last post. Two days after I published the post I found out that Barnes and Noble just released a New Nook. And it is a coloured touch screen android device. Exactly what I believe that Amazon should do even though I wondered in my previous post if it was not too late for such a product because of the crazy explosion of cheap, Chinese – made, android - based touch screen tablets.
The most interesting thing about the Nook Color though is the fact that Barnes and Noble deviated from using an Electronic ink display and instead opted for a 7 inch coloured LCD touch screen. At $249 and with wifi, the prize sounds right, but I have to wonder if this is not an attempt to get a colored ebook reader out before Amazon. Leaving e-ink to LCD means that the battery now empties out in a few hours instead of weeks, but it also means that this device can play video, making it into a kind of cheap iPad. Or should I say a device that tries to be an iPad and an ebook reader at the same time. Barnes and Noble is already talking about releasing an SDK.
This device also means that Barnes and Noble joins the list of manufacturers of ebook readers deviating from e-ink to coloured LCD along with the Sharper Image Literati Reader, Pandigital Novel, Entourage Edge, Cruz Reader and Augen’s the book.
With PC Magazine calling it the first excellent color ebook reader, this is certainly a one-up for Barnes and Noble. The question now is: What will Amazon answer with and how soon? Suddenly their devices are starting to look outdated.

The truth is while I think that the best way to read text only content such as novels might be a monochrome e-ink display with weeks of battery, lots of people out there will like to read comics, magazines and pdf in full color and will not mind if the battery of their device has to be charged daily. An app store and an ability to do more than just read is also a plus. Ultimately creating a device that will not be eclipsed by the competition is paramount. And I think it is time for Amazon to show what they have got next.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amazon and the Kindle

In an earlier post (Dream Hardware Department), I opinioned that a good way forward for Amazon and its Kindles might be to do a touch screen Android powered version of the Kindle. This was before Amazon released its range of Kindle 3s: The Graphite range with improved E-ink screen, better contrast all in a smaller package.
Now I wonder if it might not be a little too late for that. This is because I have noticed an explosion of Chinese made, touch screen, Android powered devices which cost cheaper than the Kindle DX and cost at about the same range as the Kindle 3G. The most interesting part of this story is the fact that everywhere you turn, you see adverts of these devices on the web. And since they run Android, you can install the Kindle for Android on them and have a coloured reading device, which can also serve as a medium for other type of media consumption such as video and audio.
True this might be bulkier than the Kindle and the power consumption might not compete at a mere 5 – 7 hours to the Kindle’s weeks of battery, but when you are busy reading you tend to forget what ever limitations of your device and be immersed in the content. The mere fact that it can view colored content will make it suitable for comics and magazines giving it a huge edge on the Kindle. Touch screen functionality also gives them a kind of iPad coolness even if most of them are single touch and not multi-touch.
While I have yet to see any of these numerous devices with a sim card slot, this will make them even more powerful freeing them from the proximity limitations of wifi. And for a price as cheap as they come, (even though I wonder how they can be soo cheap, is this because of poor build or as a result of tons of possible patent infringement made in the production of these devices) they are winners any day.
For the end users I dare say it will continue to makes less sense to buy a Kindle when you have other devices offering better at cheaper rates. For Amazon though it looks like they will win no matter what. If they sell Kindles, its all good. If not, then I am sure they are happy as long as we all have Kindle apps on whatever devices we carry and we continue to buy books from the Amazon store.