Posts Tagged ‘e-reader’

Apple IPad – hands-on

April 25, 2010

I finally got my grubby little mitts on an IPad yesterday. It’s a cute little thing. Very light, pretty comfortable. Found some of the controls awkward. Tried typing, which was alright but only comfortable when done one-handed. My complain with it is pretty much the same, though: a lack of use/functionality.

Give it a stylus and I think it would excel as a notepad. It’s size is perfect for even tiny desks and it weighs next to nothing. Instead of having the ruffled pages of a couple of notebooks crammed into a backpack, this thing could be a wonderful substitute.

But beyond notetaking, it seems pretty limited. It’s not overly powerful, it doesn’t have even a USB connector and to set it up with an actual keyboard and what not you have to go out and buy a bunch of accessories.

What it seems to be targeted at is stuff like Kindle and the Nook, devices which have also drawn my ire. As a media viewer, it’s nearly ideal. The screen is a good size for personal viewing, very bright and, after a fwe minutes of acclimation, the system was easy to navigate. I didn’t have a problem with text, though I think Kindle still has a better screen, but I’ve also never had much of a problem reading off a computer screen for long periods of time so I might not be the best judge for that.

So I guess my question comes down to do you want to spend that kind of money just to watch/read downloaded content? I’ve already made taht decision regarding the Kindle and other e-readers – it’s just not worth it to me.

The device I’m still curious about is the Lenovo U1 Hybrid. Significantly more expensive base price than the Ipad (though similar prices when all of the accessories for IPad are bought) but with more function built into it.

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Apple Tablet Going Organic?

November 22, 2009

Apple keeps not saying anything but leeks keep bubbling to the surface regarding a possible tablet PC in the next year.  Now there’s word that there might be an option for an OLED screen along with the less expensive LED versions.  As I’ve said before, while pushing e-literature with one hand while slapping the very unversatile e-readers with the others, I like the idea of being able to download/purchuse digital books but I don’t see a reason why it can’t be done with a fully functional computer.  Leave it to Apple to fill the void.

Considering that the majority of the praise for Amazon’s Kindle device has been for its screen and how closely it resembles the look of actual paper, I have to think that has played into Apple’s apparent courting of an OLED version of its much rumored tablet PC. Personally, a reported cost of $2,200 turns me off entirely but I have a feeling that I wouldn’t exactly be Apple’s target audience for such a product. But a nice multi-functional tablet PC for $500? I’m in. Even if I don’t download the latest STephen King novel to it, I’d be happy with something that I could use either as a notepad or (hopefully) hook a keyboard up to and use as a regular computer. I’m very much of the word processor/internet box computer buyer segment of society – video/photo/music editing has never been a hobby of mine – so a lack of processor power isn’t a big deal to me. Also wouldn’t mind the ability to hook the tablet up to my television or a regular computer monitor if the screen proves to be too small to use as a monitor in and of itself.

Also of note from the article, Conde Nast is said to be preparing a host of magazines under its publishing umbrella for download to tablet PCs. for those who don’t want to follow the link, among Conde Nast’s publications are Vanity Fair, Wired, Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker.

No Nook -E(reader) for you!

November 22, 2009

Apparently Barnes and Noble’s e-reader is pretty popular. So popular that no more will be available for Christmas. To tie this in to my post about Dave Eggers’ comments about this being a golden time for literature because of the sheer number of publishing opportunities, the popularity of e-readers has to be a positive sign for the industry and for the profession of not just publishing but for writing. Devices centered around reading are selling like crazy. 

I’m still curious to see how this will potentially shape literature. The idea that books will be sold online is a nobrainer but I’m curious to see if we’ll ever see a real hybrid where the book has some sort of interactivity with the web, incorporate some programming language, etc. Take a book like Danielewski’s House of Leaves, for example. It works on the page but imagine if all of the formatting work was done so that the text would/could be manipulated by the user, would move, would jump to images/web pages packaged with the text, etc.

Read(h)er well and Kindle some Nook-E (reading)

October 23, 2009

I’m a fan of e-lit.

Now, if you’ve spent any time in a university hallway in the English wing, you would know that this isn’t a very welcomed feeling. Critics and lit majors have a hard on for the physical body of books. It’s the lover they can never keep. While the writing majors/profs mostly see a changing economic landscape that could forever deprive them of any book deal that would be worth cashing at some place other than the corner liquor store.

alright, exaggerations (slight) but still largely true outside of the pop culture studies majors/profs who get off on technology and our evolving culture in general. But the point is that the only people who really get e-lit are the normal, every day people. They are the ones fueling the sale of e-readers and making publishers hold back electronic publication dates to christmas eve (or christmas day).  they’re the ones blowing around $200 and better for these things so they can tote four novels around with them wherever they go.

but lets go back here for a moment. $200. For something to read a novel with. Or a newspaper. or a magazine. All of which you also have to purchase (though at discounted rates from their pulp and binding twins).  and all these things do is allow you to read books and purchase more books. Granted, Nook-E looks appealing, but that’s still a pret price point to read Kafka on the Shore.

And then your ebook collection isn’t even safe. As Amazon has demonstrated, it appears to be very easy for an outsider to simply go in and erase books from your reading device.  While it may be arguable that their reasoning did have some basis, it is still an appalling invasion of an individual’s world. Can anyone imagine Barnes&Noble coming to their house and, for any reason, demanding to take back a book you bought from the? But they wouldn’t even demand it. They would just pry open a window one night, creep in, take it from the shelf and leave a few bucks on your night stand. That’s what Amazon did.

All of this has made me wonder about the popularity of such devices. They are expensive, they are limited in function and they appear to be some of the most un-secure devices you can own. What is the appeal? and why don’t more people simply use tablet PCs? For anyone who doesn’t know, a tablet PC is essentially a big ipod touch but with a ton more functions.  it’s a computer that you can interact with either through a stylus or through a conventional keyboard/mouse (depending on each particular make/model of your tablet PC).

People have argued that the size of such things are prohibitive. They’re too big. They’re too clunky. Etc. But most tablets I see are between 10 and 14 inches long and around four pounds. Slightly bigger than Kindle, nook-E and Reader but that also means the text can be bigger. And they are far, far more functional. I’ve also heard people talk about the screens and how the readers are easier on the eyes. Well, you’re reading this blog, ain’t ya? A normal, well-maintained monitor screen is fine for reading text.

Apparently, Steve Jobs has had similar thoughts. Apple is prepairing their own tablet PC that appears to be aimed at the Kindle crowd. And it looks pretty much like a really big I-Phone or I-Pod Touch. Granted, it’s going to be a good deal more expensive than the other e-readers (around $700-900) but I’m betting it will also be a LOT more functional. Given the massive following that overprice Apple gear has, maybe this will be the push that people need to move away from these e-readers and start doing what music lovers have been demanding for quite awhile now: less specialized gear, better price points and easier access – along with more consumer rights, despite publishers/record labels wanting to strip these rights to the bone.