Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ereader or tablet?

The point was brought up whether ereaders and tablet are really competitors? Are they in the same market?

It's a good question, but for me, I think they are. I use my iPad mainly as an ereader, and even when I *only* want the best ereader I have, I take the iPad, not my Kindle 3. The Kindle's slowness and grey screen is a turn-off.

If we look at Smartphones, they can do many, many more things than normal cell phones can, but they are clearly competitors, since you can soon barely buy a "normal" cell phone anymore, it's becoming smartphones all around.

A tablet is clearly a different device from a dedicated ereader. But... it can do everything an ereader can do. So basically, there will only be a raison d'etre for ereaders so long as the decicated devices have clear advantages in weight, in price, or in usability.

With the Kindle 3, it has a big advantage in weight and in price. But surprisingly, not in usability. One would think a physical keyboard would be an advantage, but not the way Amazon has made it, it isn't! And the lack of touch-screen operation is a big minus.

If and when, and it's probably only a question of time, you can get real tablets which are the size and weight of a Kindle, and not a lot more expensive, then I think the game is over. There is hardly a market of people who will buy product A at the same price as product B if B has the same usability and portability, but many more features.

The only small thing left is if and when somebody wants to read in the sun. Well, it seems they now have developed very fast e-ink screens, so I'm sure we'll see a niche-market tablet with such a screen for those who want their skin good 'n toasted.

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