With the release date of the iPad nearing, and a dozen different e-ink-based e-book readers exploding onto the market, the e-book device field is more confused than ever. Are pretty color tablets going to spell the end of black-and-white e-ink readers?
Not likely, says Priya Ganapati on Wired’s “Gadget Lab” blog. Ganapati notes that e-ink readers and tablets will likely serve different segments of the market with different needs and tastes.
Less-expensive e-ink readers will be more suited to reading books, and will attract a somewhat older demographic, says Ganapati. More-expensive tablets will be used by younger readers, and their color screens are better suited to newspapers, magazines, web, and multimedia. It is possible that publishers may end up supporting two different lines of digital media in the future, much as they support hardcover and paperback print media today.
And speaking of all those readers and tablets, there are quite a number of them, aren’t there? With so many different devices to choose from, some devices are resorting to secondary features to differentiate themselves from the rest—some of them rather odd.
Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch has a piece looking at all the different secondary features, including secondary screens, color screens, touchscreens, special form factors, and Android and/or apps in general.
He finds secondary screens too distracting to be worthwhile, color screens promising when some of the new display technology comes in, touchscreens enough of a necessity that most e-book readers either already have them or will soon, special form factors somewhat unnecessary or wasteful depending on the device, and Android and apps potentially reasonable, again depending on the device.
And as for the Kindle-clone devices without differentiating features at all, Coldewey says, expect them to disappear as newer devices draw attention away from the Kindle form factor. But like Gapati, Coldewey expects tablets and e-readers to co-exist for some time.