Friday, August 20, 2010

Bad Time to Buy an E-book Reader

various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...Image via Wikipedia
This really is a bad time to buy an e-book reader, especially if you happen to live in India. I'll tell you why. The two of the most popular conventional (read eInk) e-book readers are the Amazon Kindle and the Infibeam Pi. They are slow, colourless and lacked intense multimedia capabilities. But then, after iPad release a host of companies came up with their tablet offerings. The netbook, once a hot product, seemed to dying a painful rather sooner than expected.

The problem with the tablets is that since they have an LCD display, there is a considerable amount of strain on the eyes on prolonged usage. The eInk on the other hand doesnt do colour, so thats a potential let down.

Enter Notion Ink. A revolutionary product in the making which seems to have solved the problems of netbooks and tablets all at the same time. Its powered by android and has a pixel qi display. Pixel qi is something quite revolutionary which inspite of having a brightness comparable to LCDs, has the ability to reflect direct sunlight and also reduces strain on the eyes. Seems too good to be true doesnt it? Even I didnt believe it until my friend Abhirup convinced me about this truly amazing development going on in this country. A lot is being promised and lot of interest has been generated thanks to this cutting edge device and thanks to its really attractive price tag of $498 for the 3G with wifi version. However, no release date for this device has been announced as yet although its expected that it might release by the end of this year or early next.

Incidentally even Infibeam is ready with its tablet offering. They call it the Infibeam Phi (the eInk edition is the 'Pi'). The Phi has Android as well as Windows versions and is decently powered. However since it has an LCD display, its difficult to call it as an ebook reader. The dual screen technology of pixel qi is far superior than the traditional eInk and almost as good if not at par with LCD brightness, this is where I think the Notion Ink tablet scores over the Phi. But even the Phi hasnt been released yet, although Infibeam is taking preorders.

Hence my conclusion that this is indeed the worst time to buy an ebook reader. The suggestion would be to stay put and abstain from investing in any such devices until both the Infibeam Phi and Notion Ink hit the mainstream market.

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