Saturday, July 17, 2010

The weight factor behind an eReader

Do you know why the laptop will never be good as an electronic book reader? Apart from the form factor (which makes it unsuitable for holding up as you read) is the weight factor. Book lovers typically hold the book in their hand as they read; hence a good eReader has to be hand held. The heavier the eReader gets, the more uncomfortable it is to hold for long. Below is a rough comparison of various devices that could be used to read electronic books. Note that in comparison, a Dan Brown paperback weighs about 0.3kg.

Laptop ~ 4kg
Netbook ~ 1kg
iPad ~ 0.7kg
Kindle ~ 0.3kg
iTouch ~ 0.12kg

The book reader app in the iPad is really impressive. The library looks like a real bookshelf. Your books are displayed there like physical books. When you touch click on a book, you see the image of a book opening up. When you flip the pages, it looks like you are turning the physical pages. Touch click on any word and the pop-up window lets you choose if you want to look up the word in a dictionary, write notes, or add a bookmark. I would love to see electronic ink eReaders like the Kindle do that, but unfortunately the price to pay for the super low power consumption and the lovely eInk look is the lack of sophistication in presentation.

In balancing between the weight factor and the "cool" factor, young book readers will lean towards the iPad. Older, more serious book lovers, will probably find the likes of the Kindle more tenable.

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