Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Comparing reading devices

Comparing reading devices (including paper), article.
For the last chapters of the book, I read the paperback. It took barely a paragraph for me to feel frustrated. I kept looking up things on my iPhone, and forgetting to earmark my page.

I have tried most of the devices he tested/compared (most notable exception is the Nook, which I haven't bought because you can't buy books on it outside of the US (!)), and I pretty much follow his perceptions and conclusions.
The Kindle 3 is close to ideal, but a bit slow, can't use web well, and for me the screen is too dark. The iPad 2 is also close to ideal, except a bit on the large/heavy side for just text reading. It's a pity that Apple finds the ereader market as beneath them, they could make a great one in a 7-inch iPad with Retina Display and a weight under 350 grams.

Let's see what Amazon serves up next. Latest rumors say that their next device will still have an e-ink screen, but it's also color and LCD. This confuses me, so don't ask. Maybe they mean color e-ink and the "LCD" was a mistake. Anyway, color would be nice, but for me contrast is a more pressing issue for the Kindle. So if they use e-ink, I hope it's much improved that way, even though I seem to recall a statement from the manufacturer that we shouldn't expect important upgrades to e-ink in 2011.

Update:
Re the low probability of Apple making a dedicated ereader:
To be fair, one can understand that they want to keep their attention on keeping the iPad and iPhone at no 1, rather than spreading their resources (programmers and engineers) over new, uncertain markets. They are on a wiiiild ride right now, and small decisions may make a difference between virtually owning the gadget market for the next ten years, or becoming a niche again like with the desktop systems.

Still, I can't help but wish that Apple or at least somebody would make my dream ereader.
Just like I wish Apple or somebody would make my dream portable "typewriter". Like an Alphasmart Neo, but with a slightly larger screen, more contrast on the screen, and a bit more power and flexibility. The Neo's keyboard is much better than any I've tried on a notebook. (I guess just a cheap notebook might work, only with a deeper and better keyboard.)

10 comments:

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"which I haven't bought because you can't buy books on it outside of the US (!)"

That was well thought out! :-/

And...I agree: "It's a pity that Apple finds the ereader market as beneath them, they could make a great one in a 7-inch iPad with Retina Display and a weight under 350 grams."

Pity! I don't quite get it. Sure would be nice to see what's on their drawing board!

eolake said...

(Wrote an answer which grew into an update to the post.)

TC [Girl] said...

Cool! :-) (interesting: I'm getting your comments, tonight! Diff 'puter from last coupla nights?)

"Let's see what Amazon serves up next." Funny...I just about said same! I was also going to write that the new Kindle is just around the corner! (wish I knew where mine is, right now! :-(...

"Latest rumors say that their next device will still have an e-ink screen, but it's also color and LCD. This confuses me, so don't ask."

I seem to remember that they were going to bring out 2 similar that BOTH had e-ink and then, they were going to also bring out a color, later on. (durn it; can't seem to find the article I linked to, recently, just now. I'll try looking for it, in a few hours.)

"Anyway, color would be nice, but for me contrast is a more pressing issue for the Kindle."

Right. I remember. :-)

"So if they use e-ink, I hope it's much improved that way, even though I seem to recall a statement from the manufacturer that we shouldn't expect important upgrades to e-ink in 2011."

Right. I recall same and get what you are also saying re: a dedicated e-reader vs. riding the Tsunami wave that they're on, now!

"Still, I can't help but wish that Apple or at least somebody would make my dream ereader."

Yes...that would be delightful! Could you write Jeff Bezos; and...perhaps the 'Alphasmart Neo' peeps re: same? (or I could help you out w/that, if you don't feel like it. Just figure that you have more experience w/it than I.) Sure couldn't hurt! :-D

APJ said...

The Kindle looks almost perfect for book reading but I can't read PDF files effortlessly on it. I am thinking about getting a 10 inch Android tablet, but in the meantime I read mobi books on my Nokia E52. That is almost perfect in device size, portability and battery life. Only issue is the 'stupid' directory structure, making new book file additions troublesome. Apart from that it rocks :D

Bruce said...

re: Nook Color - If you can find a NC running Cyanogenmod, you will be able to buy eBooks for it in Britain. Cyanogenmod is near to generic Android; any eReader app you can buy in the Google's Android Market will run on it. I believe both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have free Android apps in the Market. It does take a lot of hacking to get a Nook Color to run Cyanogenmod well. Even at it's best it doesn't compare well to the iPad experience. A more expensive 7" Galaxy Tab or a fabulously expensive 7" HTC Flyer are credible out of the box Android tablet alternatives to a hacked Nook Color.

re: Apple - I am also hoping for an Apple 7" iPad. Under 350 grams is asking a lot; The Nook Color weighs 450 grams. I'd settle for the same 1024 x 768 display resolution as the larger iPad, or the 1024 x 600 of the Nook Color, which I enjoy reading on. But Apple is selling iPhones that are a year and a half old in record numbers! I suspect that they could sell every iPad they could possibly make this year without making any model changes at all.

re: Amazon - I am no longer optimistic about an upcoming tablet from Amazon. I don't think it will be as good as the Nook Color. Amazon's Android App Store has changed my mind about that company. The "free app of the day" in particular is badly managed, and is a bad deal for developers and for customers. If the people who developed the Amazon App Store have anything to do with the Amazon Tablet, watch out! I look at Amazon now as a company that is trying to exploit it's customers rather than to serve them.

eolake said...

"Apple 7" iPad. Under 350 grams is asking a lot"

I know. It's kind of a pie-in-the-sky wish, especially since Apple no longer seems to make anything of plastic. But it should be possible for somebody at some point. Some ereaders weigh under 200 grams! (Granted they are smaller.)

"But Apple is selling iPhones that are a year and a half old in record numbers! I suspect that they could sell every iPad they could possibly make this year without making any model changes at all."

Very true dat!

Why is free app of the day (which I haven't used, but which I know many love) *that* bad of a deal? It makes people check the market regularly.

I think an Amazon tablet might well be very good. And even if it isn't, I have a feeling it's bound to be a hot seller, seeing the interest. It would have to be a doorstop to *not* be a hot seller. I admit that this is less relevant to you or me than how good it is! But it might give Apple some much-needed competition.

eolake said...

APJ: it seems the Nokia E52 has a small screen (Size: 2.4"; Resolution: 240 x 320 pixels). Is that really good for you for reading?

Indeed, most PDF files are not good on a Kindle, only those which are designed for screen reading (large text), and sadly that's not many.
A few companies make ebooks which are good for screens, markedly Take Control Books.

eolake said...

Bruce, thanks for the advice. I would probably buy a Nook Color if I hadn't already bought the first Galaxy Tab (7 inch) last year. It's not at all a bad device, speedy and will do anything I have tried pretty well, and handy size for a Reader too. (Some Kindle magazine subscriptions don't allow you to read them on an iPad, but oddly they *do* allow you to read them on an Android device.) And the 7-inch Tab is no longer that dang expensive as it was in the beginning. Of course these days people have a *choice* in Android tablets!

Bruce said...

I'm glad to hear a personal report from someone who bought the Galaxy Tab. I've been looking at it as an upgrade from my Nook Color. For now I think I'll stay with the hacked NC. I will wait a couple of months and see if Apple does release something smaller or tastier than the iPad 2.

What would be cool is for you to commission someone to design an ereader, portable typewriter, or other gadget that you want. Put the design up on the kickstarter web site and see what happens.

I think that realistically the costs would be too high. Your designer would have to make a lot of compromises and use a lot of off the shelf parts just to get the price to be reasonable.

In about five years though, with advances in in 3-D printing and other small scale manufacturing technologies, this might become a very cool thing to do.

eolake said...

It may take longer. I have bought several little gadgets via Kickstarter, basically things made from a single bit or two, and it seems people are often surprised at the difficulties of producing even such super-simple things, so to design and have made a tablet... ? Woa.

By the way, I just looked at reviews of the Tab, and they are a bit mixed. Many very positive reviews, but a few not so much. Some say that the chip in the wifi model is much slower, unacceptably so, than the G3 model. Which I don't get, but there may easily be differences between the European and the US models.