The Kindle 2 vs Google Books

So what’s changed with the Kindle?

It’s thinner (thinner than an iPhone!), it’s has more memory, a 25% longer battery life, it can read to you (as long as you don’t mind Steven Hawkins or his twin sister reading to you that is) and thankfully, it doesn’t look like it was made in the 1980′s anymore.

What hasn’t changed. It still costs $359, it’s still only available in the USA, it’s still locked to a limited proprietary file format, it’s still tied to a wireless only subscription service.

Then Google come along and launch their GoogleBooks portal. Which if I’m honest is a library of 1.5 million copyright free books or documents that very few will actually read. It’s a bit of a half arsed attempt if you ask me. Books that have been scanned and converted to long bitmaps that you scroll through on your iPhone or Android Phone (ensure you’re on an unlimited data service, as bitmaps are much larger than free flowing text). From a user’s perspective the entire interface, search & delivery is appalling, something you’d expect from a DIY web enthusiast, not one of the world’s leading software development companies.

So all in all a disappointing day. Amazon haven’t given us much except a thinner better looking Kindle, while Google has released a service that is shockingly bad to say the least. Which is strange, as the eBook Reader market is potentially huge, yet neither of these mammoth companies seem ready to cash in on it. Granted Google doesn’t have a hardware offering to worry about, for them it’s content driven, but content nobody wants isn’t going to attract users. Amazon have hardware margins to recoup and make a slice from each book sold or newspaper subscription, but they’re not exactly pushing the envelope, they’re simply staying one step ahead of Sony.

Rather than strangle holding the Kindle with their wireless network & closed file format, they should open it up so users can also put their own content on the device. I know they’re trying to hold onto and control the subscription services, but that’s a very shortsighted approach, they won’t be able to hold onto that for long.

I guess we’ll have to launch our no paper services earlier than anticipated, that might rock the boat a little!

Various News snippets:
Telegraph: Kindle 2
Times online

Tech radar

Google put 1.5 Million books in reach of your iphone

Google Books

Foxit eSlick Reader Announced

Foxit Software announced today that it will be selling it’s very own branded eBook Reader, the eSlick Reader for the amazingly low introductory price of only $229.99 (then $259.99), which is incredible when compared to Sony’s eReader $399 and Amazon’s Kindle $359.

The eSlick has a 6 inch, 600×800 pixel screen, which uses the same display technology as the Kindle as supplied by E Ink Corporation. The unit weights just 6.4 ounces (180g) and is only 0.4 inches thick (9.2mm). It has 128meg of memory, capapble of holding hundreds of books, with a battery life of over 8,000 page turns.

The eSlick is expected to ship in 5-7 weeks, but unfortunately will only be available within the US.

For more details visit Foxit Software

Next Gen eReaders Arrive

Copied from Forbes.com the full article here

Amazon’s Kindle was fun. Now it’s time for electronic readers to get to work.

On Monday, Netherlands-based iRex Technologies is slated to unveil the iRex Reader 1000, the first in a wave of e-reader devices that promise bigger screens and improved interfaces and functionality. And unlike Kindle or Sony’s Reader, this second generation of e-readers aims to bring innovative E-ink display technology to the more demanding, and possibly more lucrative, world of business.

The iRex Reader 1000 offers a 10.2-inch diagonal E-Inkscreen, far larger than Kindle’s 6-inch screen or even iRex’s own 8.1-inch diagonal iLiad, its last e-book model. That stretched display is designed to work with any file format, be it an e-book, a full-sized PDF, a Word document or HTML. Like earlier iRex devices, it sports a stylus and touch screen for taking notes and marking documents.


Engadget’s take

Plus Sony Launching reader refresh next month