So Long iPod, Hello E-Reader

By William Stanek
November 4, 2009

William Stanek here, talking about electronic paper displays (EPDs). In my earlier blog entries, I introduced EPDs, discussed how the technology works, and delved briefly into ways they're being used. Now, I'll dig in and take a closer look at the available devices.

For those wondering why I chose EPDs for my first series of blog entries at O'Reilly and not some deeper technical subject, I'll say this: the subject of EPDs definitely is something near and dear to my heart. If you're a technologist and EPDs aren't near and dear to your heart, you're just not paying attention. Why? If you haven't realized it, there's a revolution going and EPDs are at the apex, the tipping point, of this revolution.

EPDs are catalysts for change and regardless of whether EPDs ultimately have wide or limited adoption, they'll always be the catalysts that helped drive important changes in the way we read and experience media. They are also enablers, enabling a bevy of new approaches and new types of devices. At present, the belle of the ball is the e-reader. Other important devices and usages will follow.

Although you may not realize it, nearly 50 different e-readers have been or are being produced. We're already at the 3rd generation of devices. That's right, not the first, not the second, but the third generation. Some of the first e-readers were introduced in 2006. The introductions were rather quiet, almost as if the companies were afraid other companies would discover how revolutionary the devices could be. You can check out some of the available e-readers at the E-Reader Matrix.

With so many choices, wondering what my favorites are? My favorites are these:

sonyreader-700.gif

Kindle2.jpg

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Nook.jpg

From the beginning, Sony was a key player in the e-reader market and Sony's devices and product introductions make a good case study on the evolution of the e-reader. So over the next few blog entries, I'm going to dig in and explore the Sony e-readers. My hope is that by exploring what these e-readers have to offer that you'll learn more about the technology and maybe get as excited about it as I am. Also hoping that if you haven't yet purchased an e-reader you'll be able to make a more informed decision as to whether these types of devices are for you.

Thank you for reading!

William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com


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