I have a Barnes and Noble Nook and am quite happy with it. The features are comparatively good with the competition, namely the Amazon Kindle and the Borders Kobo. Sony also has one.
There are other devices out there that function as e-book readers , such as the iPad or Smartphones. These devices are less appealing for reading (to me anyway). Phones have displays that are too small, and the iPad has a great screen, but text isn’t awesome on it, especially when compared with e-ink displays of the Nook, Kindle or Kobo. Simply, for the sole function of reading text, e-ink beats them all hands down for ease of viewing (even in direct sunlight) and the incredible battery life afforded by it’s low energy usage is a nice benefit. An e-ink display doesn’t do anything else well, though the vendors do try. For reading a book – winner declared as e-ink and all others lose. Period.
BUT… the currently available e-ink readers aren’t without their failings. That’s why I’m looking forward to my NEW e-book reader. Let me tell you about it:
1. It has a color e-ink display. Everything black and white e-ink is, but with (at least) 256 colors. This technology exists now and has since at least 2006, when Fujitsu displayed this concept. Color displays make reading illustrated publications like comics, magazines and newspapers worthwhile on the device. Black and White is wonderful for text, but just does not get it done when it comes to images.
2. It has a backlight that can be turned on and off, and has a brightness control. Using the backlight will obviously reduce battery life, but having this feature eliminates the need for the unwieldy clip-on led lights that have to be used today for e-book readers in poor lighting.
3. The screen is a decent 6×4 inch display, with a one inch plastic border around it, made of a mat-black rubber, for easy gripping. It will be mat-black. Not white. Not shiny black that shows fingerprints like an episode of CSI. Mat-black. Different colors can be made available later for those that need that sort of thing.
4. It has a built-in cover to protect the screen. Not just cases that cost $30 and up, after-market. This cover is built-in and it will be a versatile and resiliently constructed screen that is functional but does not make the device less attractive.
4. It has free, 4G connectivity to not one, but multiple online e-book retailers. It won’t lock you in to only selections from Amazon (if you have a Kindle) or Barnes and Noble (if you have a Nook). It will leverage sites like Smashwords.com, Kobo-books.com, Diesel-books.com and so on, too. And let me say this part again… connectivity to these outlets is free of cost to the user, and will be subsidized entirely by the retailers.
5. It has a touch-screen. This has been done in e-ink displays by Sony and others. No need for a tactile keyboard or multiple, physical buttons beyond the one that powers it on and off.
6. It will sell for under $300.
Want to know where to buy one of these magnificent devices? Me too. And when someone makes one, I will be the first to pre-order. Until then… e-book reader manufacturers, take note. I’m waiting, and I bet I am not the only one.
Oh, and Barnes and Noble, regarding the new Color Nook you just released (sans e-ink)… FAIL.