Kobo – Unboxed & Linux Friendly

I’ve recently acquired myself a Kobo eReader. Read on to learn of my initial experiences, thoughts and reactions..

For those who remain unaware of what an ereader is…

They are little device designed to replace physical books. The key to success of the major ereaders (of which the ipad is NOT included) is the use of a completely distinct display technology called E-Ink. The important detail about that is that things displayed on E-Ink look just as though they were printed on paper. Compare this to viewing a typical LCD screen (like that of your phone) in the bright sun. The LCD has to overcome the ambient light, which is really tough in the day. The sharp contrast in brightness is similarly tiring for eyes in good lighting. E-Ink is free of that burden.

Deciding against the Kindle and Nook

In the moments since I got my Kobo the eReader world has changed. When I ordered it, it was about $100 less than the Nook or the Kindle. However, as the battle heats up, both of those competitors have been re-priced and thus I likely would have ordered a Nook if I could go back. HOWEVER.. I’m finding the insanely minimal approach of the Kobo to actually appear to be it’s winning feature. It’s damned thin and very light. The Sony ereader is the only other that sort of rivals it in this regard – I looked at that one in a store and noticed its screen was quite reflective and I kind of don’t enjoy burning my eyes out via glare.

So I suspect even with the new pricing, the Kobo is still worthy of MAJOR consideration. This is for those people who are interested in getting a device that does one thing especially well. The Kindle comes pretty close in this regard though, but it has more parts and complexity. Still, if you’re completely afraid of operating a computer to a basic level, you should probably just go with one of the others. I, like many of my generation, don’t even consider operation of a computer effort.. So whatever to that point for me.

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iPad FTW?

iPad
iPad Promo Images

Yesterday Apple introduced their massively anticipated iPad tablet device. For those who haven’t yet heard about it, it’s basically a hudge iPhone (that doesn’t make phone calls). The iPad is meant to unlock a “new” market segment for small computing devices that is somehow not already met by the iPhone and netbooks.

What does it do, anything new?

The iPad doesn’t bring new functionality to the computing world, but it does consolidate and simplify use particularly of eBooks. There have long since been many very cool eBook readers out there built around providing simple means for people to read electronic books.

Amazon's Kindle eBook reader

With the release of iPad, iTunes will expand to include support for buying eBooks and of course that functionality will be easily available for regular computers and perhaps for the iPhone as well, unless Apple decides allowing that would result in you buying less stuff.

Beyond books, the iPad does all the stuff you expect from an iPhone. It runs the exact same applications (with rare exceptions), it will play back music and movies. Of course one major distinction is screen size. The iPhone’s screen is made up of 480×320 pixels where as the iPad provides 1024×768. So in the case of browsing documents, this will make a major difference. The iPad’s resolution however is like that of a standard TV – so all our new HD/widescreen content won’t fill the screen (unless you like cropping out much of the scene).

Like some of the better eBook readers, the high end iPad offers 3G connectivity. This enables those users to be connected to the internet via the cell phone network (like our smart phones). The sad part here is the extra ~$130USD for 3G is well on it’s way to paying for an Amazon Kindle or a Barnes & Noble Nook (both $260USD) which are optimized strictly for reading eBooks but both include 3G as well.

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