Technology is such an interesting field. What is new and exciting today is forgotten in the dust bin of a discount display next month. One field that is currently experiencing a lot of excitement is the “e-book reader.” These are wonderful devices that allow people to carry a library in their pocket, pocketbook, or backpack all on one device. The concept exploded when the Kindle was released by Amazon. Today, though, the market is filled with various styles made by different companies. I want to discuss three of the major players in this field.
The Amazon Kindle is the item to beat in “e-books.” It was originally released in 2007, and the Kindle 3 was released this year. It has done very well. The new Kindle has been released in a Wi-Fi only model and Wi-Fi/3G model, allowing you to download items while on the run. It has a battery that they claim can last an entire month on one charge. It’s designed with an excellent contrast, allowing you to read well in-doors or out-doors. Amazon has begun airing a commercial showing a man and woman on the beach both reading. The man is reading on a mysteriously iPad looking device. Because of the bright sunshine, he can barely read his screen. On the other hand, the lady is using her new Kindle, and is having a wonderful time reading on the beach. The point is well made. The final advantage the Kindle has is its pricing structure which starts at $189.
Up next is the Barnes and Noble Nook. It was released last year. It also comes in Wi-Fi/3G, allowing easy access to downloads. It runs at $199, with a Wi-Fi only model at $149. Although it generally gets decent ratings, because of its color screen and size, its performance hasn’t impressed as much. It is generally a slower running system. For example, the pages turn slower than on other e-book readers. Still, subsequent updates have made many of these issues less of an issue.
The final major contender, as far as I am concerned, is my dream toy, the iPad. However, unfortunately, this is one time I think the iPad comes up short. Now, in the iPad’s defense, it is so much more than just an e-book reader. It also has apps for nook and Kindle books, in addition to their own software, iBooks. Still, the screen is not designed for easy access outside, hence Amazon’s advertisement. Also, the price is definitely skewed to the other two readers, but that is based on the fact that the iPad does a lot more than serve as an e-reader. To be honest, I don’t plan on reading books on the beach anyway. I have too much fun soaking the kids.
I would love an e-book reader. I wanted a Kindle as soon as they came out, and was insanely jealous of a friend who got one. I was a single dad at the time though, and had to focus on bills and not toys. Now that I have the money to seriously consider the issue, the playing field is much bigger. The deciding factor is going to be what your primary reason for the purchase. If you just want an e-book reader, I still think Kindle is the choice to make, no offense to Barnes and Noble. For me though, the iPad still manages to win out, due to its ability to fill many purposes.