While the Kindle
are busy adding HD displays and more storage, at least one company is focusing on making eReaders as portable as possible. German developer, txtr, recently revealed the Beagle, which it claims is the smallest eReader in the world, with a 5-inch screen and a weight of 128 grams (about 4.5 ounces).
While Apple dominates the tablet market with its iPad, there are two big names competing for your dollars in the dedicated e-book realm: Amazon's Kindle
and Barnes & Noble's Nook
. Both have been around for several generations, and have closely followed each others' footsteps. This year both product lines saw a long-anticipated upgrade: backlit displays. This tech allows for easier reading in low-lit conditions, which was long the Achilles heel of e-readers. So how do Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite and Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight stack up?
Sony says that its new 6-inch touchscreen e-Reader benefits from more paper-like page turns, an E-Ink display that's been optimized for long-term, ad-free reading and a splattering of social features. The Sony Reader PRS-T2 also comes with 2GB of onboard storage (with about 1.3GB available for use after initial setup) and microSD media card expansion and includes the company's public library lending feature allows library card holders to wirelessly borrow free e-books from over 15,000 public libraries in the U.S.
Barnes and Noble's (B&N) new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight solves one of the biggest downsides of e-ink eReaders - reading in the dark. The device, which will be available in May, features a 6-inch touchscreen, which is illuminated by 8 LEDs embedded in the bezel at the top of the display screen. This creates an even, soft glow which enables the user to continue reading in low-light.
The Amazon Kindle Touch is quite a remarkable little machine. In many ways, it can be seen as a halfway point between the Fourth Generation Kindle
e-Reader and the Kindle Fire Tablet. However, it's not simply a glorified reader, nor is it a stripped down tablet. Rather, it is another way in which Amazon is building on its lead in the e-Reader market by optimizing the reader interface and user controls. With the Kindle Touch sure to find its way under many a tree this holiday season we put the device through its paces with a hands-on review.
It may not have been the first e-Reader on the market sporting E ink's electronic paper display - Sony's LIBRIé
claimed those bragging rights when it debuted in Japan in April 2004 - but since its launch in November 2007, Amazon's Kindle has risen to dominate the e-Reader market. In that time, it has also gone through a number of updates, including the Kindle 2
, the Kindle DX
, Kindle 3
and most recently, the Kindle Touch and the first Kindle without an E Ink display, the Kindle Fire
. The latest updates to the line-up also saw the Kindle enter its fourth generation, and with the Touch and Fire having the lion's share of attention, we decided to turn the spotlight on the 4th-gen Kindle with a review.
The dust hadn't even had time to settle on the announcement of the new Kobo eReader Touch Edition
before Barnes & Noble (B&N) unveiled the Nook Simple Touch Reader. The new Nook has 50 percent better contrast than the previous e-Ink edition (thanks to being upgraded to the latest Pearl e-ink technology) and, like the Kobo device, its 6-inch display has been made touch sensitive with the aid of infrared technology. It's also 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the first edition Nook, and offers a best-in-class battery life.
While I'm a big fan of the Kindle 3, I think that Kobo may have got it beat with its new eReader Touch Edition. Featuring the latest Pearl e-Ink technology that so improved Amazon's models last year, Kobo's new Wi-Fi-enabled device also boasts optical touchscreen interaction courtesy of Neonode, is powered by a processor specially developed for e-Readers and comes with support for multiple languages.
Researchers from the Human Media Lab at Canada's Queen's University have created a fully-functioning floppy E-Ink
smartphone, which they also refer to as a paper computer. Like its thicker, rigid-bodied counterparts, the Paperphone can do things like making and receiving calls, storing e-books, and playing music. Unlike them, however, it conforms to the shape of its user's pocket or purse, and can even be operated through bending actions.
Other manufacturers may be holding back to see how the land lies but Hanvon has bitten the bullet and announced that it intends to be the first company to bring a color e-Ink
reader to the consumer marketplace. The color e-Reader was shown off recently at a trade show in Japan and will be available in China from March next year. There's scant official information available but read on for what we do know for sure.