Thursday, July 7, 2011

ebook readers : the next flip?

As an owner of a Flip camera, I was disappointed to hear that Cisco has decided to sunset it's Flip camera operations.At the same time I see the same writing on the wall that motivated this move.  The handheld video market has been sandwiched in two directions. First from smartphones and their increasingly better cameras in a highly portable multi-purpose device, and second from Digital SLRs shooting HD video in better quality. As an owner myself, with the wife's iphone and my android, the flip, continued to be forgotten at home. And most importantly, not missed.

It remains a great niche device, but I like many others I suspect are willing to sacrifice the user experience for portability. This was a  great device at home with a young baby, but newer smartphones and more critical things to pack like diapers, food and drink.  Despite our 1st world entitlement people make some (small) sacrifices in quality for portability (see mp3). In our disposable culture, many new tech devices are laid to waste very quickly with vastly improving physical technologies like SSD.

eBook readers share some very similar  traits. Their main highlights are readability, and portability. Very similar in form factor to tablets, which are the larger form smartphone. ereaders could easily end up as a temporary technology. The main hurdle would be some sort of eInk that can switch to a display capable of video. From anecdotes I haven`t heard complaints about reading from tablets, so that could be the sacrifice users will make for a more powerful multi-purpose device. While I`m very happy to see a Canadian company like Kobo doing well, I`m not looking to go long on Kobo unless they can successfully transition to becoming a marketplace or a platform.

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1 comment:

nicolescooter said...

Great post! Its so true, with the price of tablets coming down closer and closer to tablets, eReaders are going to be a hard sell. I think they are going to become a device that you get free with subscription or with purchase of a tablet. We'll see in the fall when Amazon comes out with their tablets what their strategy is with the kindle. What they decide to do is going to determine how quickly the eReader takes to fade away.