karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,
karen_w_newton
karen_w_newton

eReader Risk

I used to hate playing the board game Risk because it tended to start family fights and end in hurt feelings. With Risk, the game goes on until one player rules the world. It's not fundamentally different from Monopoly except that in Monopoly we never made alliances against other players, and in Risk we did.

The eReader marker is starting to resemble Risk as the various players ramp up their equipment, and form alliances with publishers, and booksellers. Kindle has a significant lead in the U.S. eReader market, mostly because of the inherent convenience of the wireless connection. What wireless does for Kindle is to make it not only quick and easy but self-contained. You don't need a computer, ever, unless you want to send private documents or free ebooks to it, in which case you need to be able to go onto the web to set things up in the "Manage My Kindle" page.

Sony, on the other hand, has done well overseas because without wireless, it's geographically neutral. It started out not being Mac compatible, but they overcame that problem already. Now they're announced a new wireless model, with a touchscreen, which Kindle does not have.

But Amazon is not standing still. It now appears that Kindle will be available in Europe sooner than expected! Surprisingly, Sony says they don't think the UK market is ready for wireless and they plan to wait at least a year! I guess Amazon will find out for them; it will be interesting to see who's right on that one. Or possibly Hanlin or Cybook or some other eReader manufacturer will come through with a wireless device that works in Europe to compete with Kindle.

And meanwhile, just like my younger brother used to come from behind and sweep his armies through Asia, Apple is expected to launch a tablet PC, sort of an overgrown iTouch, that will work as an eReader as well as doing many other things. The iTouch and iPhone already function as an eReader, but the screens are so small, many people still want a dedicated eReader. An Apple table could meet that need, trading color and an easy user interface for the lack of eye strain and superb battery length provided by e-ink.

And jut as a game of Risk could leave my family not speaking to each other, the worry is that all these devices will force the consumer to pick one and stick with it, because ebooks bought on one won't work on another.





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Tags: e-books, ebooks, ereaders
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