Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More on mobile computing

This was an issue at ALA Midwinter. I saw an interesting mention in the New York Times today.

The article starts out about the Kindle 2, but quickly moves on to two other issues, reading books on mobile phones and then who gets to make money from same -- the device vendors or the publishers. Here are some quotes about the former (links added by me).

"Perhaps most significantly, Amazon said it would start selling e-books that can be read on mobile phones and other devices, although Amazon did not say when it would do so or which devices would be compatible."

"Amazon also announced a new feature, Whispersync, which would allow readers to begin a book on one Kindle and continue, at the same point in the text, on another Kindle or a mobile phone."

"Amazon faces a serious challenge from Google, which has scanned some seven million books, many of them out of print. Google said last week that it would soon sell books from its publishing partners for reading on mobile devices like the iPhone from Apple and phones running Google’s Android operating system."

"Several companies have created e-book programs for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, which have been downloaded more than a million times."

The section ends with this prediction from Jeff Bezos. "Reading on these kinds of gadgets might be fine when waiting in line in the supermarket, but that most people would want a dedicated device with a specialized screen for reading."

I don't think Bezos is right about that, but we shall see.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Jonathan, I think Bezos is right.

I think that we will continue to load lots of apps onto the mobile devices, but most people will want their Blackberry (or whatever) to have a compact size, portability, lightweight, long batteries, etc.

All of these weight against sustained reading. The Kindle looks terrific.....something I would not need to squint at to read. I don't think a Blackberry could ever provide a screen large enough to compete. If one is going to spend several hours reading, the Kindle is the winner. I think the market for the Kindle is people who sit on a bus or airplane for a few hours a week and people who travel a lot. I think it is asking too much for a "one device fits all" to accomodate reading, any more than it will be compatition wirh a big screen TV. Some won't mind watching football on their iPhone, but real football fans will.

An interesting comparison.....in publishing, the move toward trade size books continues to gather momentum. Many people I know prefer the larger trade size books over the traditional paperback, saying it is a nicer size for reading. I always thought this was a trend that would quickly die (as they cost more), but its been about 10 years and shows no sign of dying....it is actually gathering momentum.

I could be wrong and the single-device theory will become dominant, but I think the hard-core readers will prefer a format that is customized for reading.

How about springing for a Kindle in Olin so we could all give it a whirl? I've heard a few folks tossing the idea around!

Thompson said...

Mobile Computing - In the middle of an ever persistent journey of upgrading in computer technology, the development of mobile or handheld computing devices has attracted a lot of attention, primarily because of what these devices are serving to their users

Sparti said...

The Kindle is wonderful device that is not living up to its potential. Academia ready is for a device to change the game plan, no more printouts and no more carrying books.
The only thing missing is pdf support and sales and support infrastructure.