With Apple launching its iPad it has become clear that ereading is going to be a serious business in coming years. To me iPad currently is nothing more than a GIANT iPhone which Apple would use to sell Books on the same lines as that of iPod, remember the iTunes store? iPad has a new application called iBooks which includes iBookstore, which allows users to purchase content that will be displayed on their virtual bookshelf. Apple announced deals with five major book partners, including Macmillan and HarperCollins.
Amazon on the other hand wants to bring the iPads multi touch to the Kindle. To do so they have bought Touchco, a startup of around six employees and Amazon plans on incorporating both the new personnel and technology into its Kindle hardware division, named Lab126, which is located in Cupertino, Calif. – also home to Apple.
Amazons purchase of Touchco can be thought of as a direct response to Apple’s iPad, and the technology acquired could be included in the next iteration of its Kindle e-reader. Amazon has been looking to compete with Apple on other fronts as well. Last month, it announced plans for a Kindle applications store and an effort to get developers to create the same breadth of programs for the Kindle that they have created for the iPhone and, soon, the iPad.
Amazon has also decided to charge less for e-books in part to make the purchase of its Kindle e-book reader more palatable and create reader interest in a new format.
There has been a new entrant in the battel filed the “Pi”. A homegrown company has introduced its own e-book reader that, at least by the looks of it, has what it needs to take on the biggies in the business.This is by far India’s first attempt at making an e-book reader of our own that has actually materialized and the product is ready for “consumption”. The Pi is made by shopping portal Infibeam which currently offers over one lakh books for Indian readers via its portal http://infibeam.com. The Pi gives its users a cool option to upload their own content via a USB. In future, you can also expect a lot of newspaper and publications to the list of reading materials. The Pi, apart from being just an e-book reader, also happens to be a music player. It has 512MB of ROM and supports upto 4GB of memory with SD cards.
Amidst all this hassle there has been no major update from sony who were the first to come up with digital ink and epaper format and the very first to launch a ebook reader based on the same technology. One thing has always been clear about Sony’s line of e-readers: they’re arguably the sleekest and most elegant dedicated electronic-reading devices out there today (in a pre-Apple Tablet world, at least).
Sony launched Reader Daily Edition PRS-900, Sony’s first e-reader to include built-in 3G wireless service for accessing e-books wirelessly from Sony’s Reader Store. The move to wireless is a big deal for Sony, because it allows the company to compete directly, from a features standpoint, with the Kindle and other e-readers like the Barnes & Noble Nook, which bundle in “free” cellular connectivity.
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Coming soon: a comparison of all four.