Guest Author - Kathryn K Free
Amazon continues to drive the eBook Reader market with a scheduled press conference on Monday, February 9th. This event will be held at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. It has recently been confirmed that founder and chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, will host the press event. This is big news, but why? Other eBook Readers have released upgraded versions of their eBook Readers without all the press buzz. This ‘news' is so large that photos were also leaked and can be found at: http://www.boygeniusreport.com/gallery/devices/amazon-kindle-2/. It appears that the Kindle 2 will show a much sleeker look. The updated version of the Kindle has caused some concern from those who have not received their back-ordered Kindle. This concern is well grounded. The Boy Genius Report said that Amazon is expected to offer an upgrade to the newer device for a slight price increase of approximately 10% (around $35). I believe Amaze will offer some kind of upgrade.
It is furthermore believed that the new Kindle 2 will use the Broadsheet microchip from Epson. This microchip is what powers the Sony Reader 700. What it actually does is breaks the screen graphics into 16 pixel sets and updates them in parallel. In layman's terminology ~ it gives you faster screen refreshing and painting.
So what sets Amazon and their Kindle Reader apart from all other eBook Readers? I suspect that Amazon did their homework. They understood their audience and created an eBook Reader with functions that made perfect sense for the introductory price point. Amazon believed their product would sell but were caught off guard by the demand. This is evidenced by how quickly their Kindle sold out in 2008. There are two key features that the Kindle eBook Reader holds that few others do. One ~ the FREE wireless Internet connection to purchase eBooks and add-on products and two ~ the capacity to record notes and type!
It appears that other eBook manufacturers are playing catchup with the Kindle. New eBook Readers have added note taking and various ways to upload books. Corporations and smaller companies are entering the eBook Reader market at a faster rate. They are investing millions of dollars into the style and functionality. However, these new models and upgraded models are still lacking what the marketplace needs. Once these needs are addressed you will see the eBook Reader industry become a billion dollar technology boom!
These needs are beginning to take form and will undoubtedly continue to promote the paradigm shift in the eBook market. The eBook Reader industry is taking shape. Standards are being set and proprietary walls are falling down. Book publishes are publishing books in multiple formats (or a standard format recognized by the majority of eBook Readers). eTextbook market is moving faster and stronger as eBook Readers gain the capability to record notes. Wireless connection to the Internet and various ways of uploading eBooks are surfacing. Pricing is beginning to adjust make more sense.
One of the biggest competitors I see emerging from this paradigm shift is the PDA or smartphone market. Mobipocket has a FREE downloadable version for these devices, plus there is instant Internet access to purchase books. Many are using their PDA's and smartphones for eBooks. Not novels, but small eBooks that are free and specific.
Lower pricing, FREE Internet access, note taking, slim sleek design, color screen, standard formats, lightweight and good add-on products need to occur for this shift to take place. Once we see this paradigm shift take hold, eBook readers will become a viable part of the mass market. Today, they are still widely viewed as a luxury item.
So. . .I personally am excited about what the Kindle 2 has to offer. But I more enthusiastic about what is currently happening in the overall eBook Reader market. One piece of new technology I am interested in is what Plastic Logic has planned. Their proposed eBook Reader has not been released yet, but promises to be way ahead of what is on the market today. They are looking at a bendable plastic device the size of a standard sheet of blank paper with WiFi capabilities. Right now specs on their upcoming device is less than 3/10 of an inch thick and weighing less than 1 pound! The actual display area is 10.7 inches tall! Another feature I actually like is their projected virtual keyboard!
The eBook Reader market is moving at the speed of their targeted audience and their intended audience is finally being listened to!