Over the last year, I debated which E-Reader I should purchase. It was clear that the Kindle was way ahead in the ECO system war, however when Sony announced its Daily Reader with a 7" E Ink touch screen, 3G connectivity, and EPUB book format; this was the E-Reader I wanted. Although pricey at $399, I went ahead and ordered it as a Christmas present to myself. Sony did not disappoint by delivering it on December 22nd.
I love the Daily Reader for its size, battery life, built in protective cover and touch screen (being able to turn the pages with my thumb enhances my reading experience), Apple threw a wrench in the E-Reader world by announcing the iPad. This is a major upheaval in the E-Reader world which was originally conceived as a single purpose device with a specially design E Ink screen which provides paper like contrast and allows reading in direct sunlight. Apple is now touting its In Plane Switching LCD screen as the answer to the E Ink technology with color, high contrast and the ability to read in direct sunlight (I want to see this for myself). In addition to the E-Reader functionality of the iPad you get a Touch iPod on steroids with a 10" screen. Who would not want this type of functionality?
My first impression of the iPad was that it may fail as an E-Reader because of the backlit LCD screen and my assumption that backlit screen might cause eye strain. After doing some research, this seems to be an inaccurate assumption on my part and well described in this February New Times articles entitled "Do E-Readers Cause Eye Strain?".
My big problem with the iPad, is that at 10", I want it to do more since it could replace carrying my Sony VAIO-P and Daily Reader while traveling. The biggest issues I have are:
- No Flash support
- No multitasking
- Weak email client functionality (no flagging support, no push of sent items, no category support, etc…)
Apparently that is not what most people think; last week, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky released survey results showing pent up demand for the iPad (via MacRumors).
This was a WOW moment for me, shows the strength of the Apple brand and what people think about their products trusting them to provide the right mix of functionality.
In the end the HP Slate with Windows 7 might be the better choice for my use, but given the lack luster performance of Netbooks, will it perform? Adobe is not waiting for the June release of the HP Slate; it has launched a salvo with this video (via engadget):
This should be interesting year for the E-Reader world...