Sunday, December 20, 2009

eBook Reader Not For Everyone - My Nook Opinion

eBook readers are another class of mobile devices but a very limited one. I think there are many folks who are in love with the Kindle and other forms of readers like the Sony Reader and the newcomer, Nook. But for what it is, it's quite limited. Here's why.

For mobile warriors like myself who are somewhat also power users, an ereader with its obvious singular function is not going to satify all the other mobile computing needs. Anyone who buys an ereader will know that. Argument closed. But keep in mind that these readers also have wireless connection with mobile service providers. Personally, I think it's just a shame that these devices with dedicated wireless connection are limited to one function.

The Kindle has a rudimentary browser with limited access. The Nook, which I am fortunate to have in my hand, is based on Android, Google's mobile OS, and, yet, all that power is wasted. For instance, the Nook limits me to browse the election of books in Barnes and Noble's ebook store. Where are the apps? Where are the Google web services?

I think once avid readers have had their fill of these readers, ereader developers will need to move to the next step and offer other functions to these reader that will allow users to do more than just read.

  • I want to be able to check e-mails. 
  • I want Facebook and other social access so I can share thoughts on books with other readers.
  • I want basic Internet access.
  • I want Google webapps.
  • I want multi-touch - it was maddening to trying to press the e-ink screen thinking that I could just touch the selections I want.  I took a while to get used to the fact that I'm limited to the 3" color screen on the Nook.  It was like when I got my G1 and I was constantly trying to do the pinch gesture that I had been used to on the iPhone.
Eventually, these readers will gain enough functions where the link between this class of mobile devices and that of an emerging class of mobile tablets will be blurred.  In fact, I'm hoping that Apple's forthcoming tablet will be the first step towards that. 

A note on the Nook:  Man, is that thing slow.  I love the design and the black and white screen for reading is just superb.  But navigation is just painful.  There ought to be an update in the next week or two.  We'll see if things changed.

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