Much has changed in the world of eReading, in the past I was a huge eInk proponent.
So much I that I bought devices for most of my family members and looked to invest in the company. The latter was a bust as I discovered eInk was a private company worse they where bought by a company that has sat on their technology. However that did not deter my enthusiasm for eInk. I still loved the technology and hoped to see more.
So what caused me to start changing my opinion. The change stemmed from the most unlikely device, my blackberry Storm. You see a good amount of books still come in PDF and reading such books on an eInk device is painful. While all eInk support PDFs, they did so poorly. Sadly as much as I enjoyed reading on my eInk device, I had to resort to reading PDFs on my phone. A small 3.5″ screen and ironically that proved to be a better reading experience than my eInk device.
That got me thinking that maybe eInk isn’t the end all. The only drawback was reading on your phone was the a tad killed the battery very quickly. This made using the phone as an ebook reader impractical. So I reverted reading on my eInk.
That experience two years ago.
However as time processed and older technology adapted. In particular the rise of the LCD/LED screens in form of tablets things slowly started to change. Then B&N did something that revolutionized the eReading market they released the Nook. A 7″ tablet with an amazing screen and battery life.
Here is a device that could handle PDFs and ebooks in one device. (This was after I rooted and ROMed the device – – the nook software was extremely limited). Most importantly it was portable. While the iPad existed it was not as portable as an eInk or nook.
I did not pick up my eInk device again. Though the battery life does not compare they nook lasted enough to get a reader hours of reading before a charge was needed. With the battery limitation minimized this made all the advantages of a tablet worthwhile.
Today I’m no longer carrying a tablet and phone I’m using a Note 2 ( aka phablet) as my primary source of reading. Incidentally It’s also the same device I used to write and post this blog.
Do in think eInk has gone by the waste side. No I still think there is great opportunity for that technology and still room for the device to complete in the eReading space, phone and tablet arena. The fact that the battery on such device will always out perform any LCD both in battery life and daylight visibility means there is a market. I believe their fall was in their focus. They put all efforts behind low performance hardware, with a hefty price tag. What eInk has to do is deliver a product with better hardware at competitive prices. People will buy because now it fits a need and the experience will not be subpar.