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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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April 2011
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One Day Sale on Kindle DX: $299

This morning provided us with a neat deal for anybody interested in a slightly more expansive screen than that available on the usual Kindle.  Today, April 15th, anybody who’s interested can snag themselves a Kindle DX for $80 less than the usual asking price of $379.  Size isn’t everything, as the saying goes, but it’s a decent consideration for this purchase if you’re in a position to take advantage of it.

The advantages are fairly obvious and stem mainly from the larger screen.  It gives you a lot more real estate to work with.  This means the potential for better PDF presentation, which I find essential for any serious academic or technical reading.  It also makes for more convenient reading of books on larger font sizes, since even if the screen refresh rate has gotten to the point of not being an issue it’s still obnoxious to have to flip after every hundred words or so.

The sacrifices that are required for the improved screen are minimal.  Some people will find the weight a little bit much for single handed reading.  It does weight slightly more than twice as much as my Kindle 3, it’s true.  This emphasizes what I consider to be the only major flaw of the device: No buttons on the left side.  You are required to handle all the controls on the right.  Combine those two issues and you get a fair amount of inconvenience.  From personal experience I would say that it goes largely unnoticed pretty fast in the face of the expanded screen, though I notice that some reviews on the site are a bit more vehement about the issue.

Keep in mind when you consider buying this that the current model of the Kindle DX came out slightly before the Kindle 3. As holdovers from an earlier generation of the product line, it still has a 5 direction navigation stick instead of the pad and it lacks WiFi capabilities.  This last is especially a concern if you or the person you are buying for happens to live outside of the US, as the coverage internationally is less than ideal, by all accounts.

Overall, however, it’s a great product for reading.  I’ve been using mine since a few weeks after it was released and have absolutely no complaints.  Due to the size, it tends to get brought out mainly when reading a brand new book, for that fresh hardcover feeling, or when I need to look at something larger like a textbook or diagram.  The DX handles pretty much everything I’ve thrown at it without a problem.  The overall 4-star review status would tend to confirm my personal assessment, with the majority of negative reviews seemingly concentrating on problems with Amazon’s customer service or a now-resolved hardware problem when using the leather case being sold as an accessory.

As always, let me emphasize:  This is not a tablet PC.  I know it’s the same size as one, and it has a big screen, but this is a device for reading.  It may be significantly more expensive than the Kindle 3, but it’s still a Kindle.  Do not buy the Kindle DX expecting anything but a great way to read your books.

Is Apple About To Get Serious About Kindle vs iPad?

There’s been talk of the potential for Kindle vs iPad conflict since months before the latter device was ever actually unleashed on the public.  While I do believe that there was some degree of overlap between them for certain customers, the larger trend appears to have involved just grabbing both, if you’re going to get an iPad anyway.  The Kindle is almost universally held to be the superior eReader, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the versatility of the iPad in any other way.  Apparently Apple may have decided that this situation is less than satisfactory?

Recent reports of an Apple patent just recently made public have been causing a great deal of speculation about the future of this conflict.  The proposed display would contain a standard(LCD or OLED) video layer underneath a form of electronic paper(similar to the Kindle’s E Ink display), with a touch interface on top.  Perhaps the most interesting part of the proposition is that since the layers would be independent of each other and software controlled, it would be possible to operate both in tandem, in theory, to create an environment extremely conducive to web browsing and video-enhanced eBook reading without sacrificing the readability of the text itself.  Thinking this through, however, I’m left wondering if it really addresses the shortcomings of the existing Apple tablet offerings with regard to reading.

I’m going to make the assumption that the electronic paper display that is noted in the patent’s design is somehow transparent when not in use.  I’m sure that the technology for that is available, I was just still under the impression that it was not really ready yet.  This would give the proposed design an “advantage” that many Kindle naysayers have been looking for for a long time:  An E Ink-like screen with a back light.  Of course, this also removes a major component of the readability improvement that is enjoyed with current eReaders.  Even assuming that you could completely turn off the back light any time you wanted to, and I would definitely assume that this is an intended feature that nobody would think of leaving out, you would be left with text hovering on a transparent plane over a recessed background.  Intuitively this seems awkward somehow.

My guess would be that this is meant more as a power-saving measure on potential future tablets than as a serious delving into eReading as a direct Kindle competitor.  Think about an iPad with a week’s worth of battery life now that the screen doesn’t need to refresh large sections regularly unless the user demands it.  That would be an impressive selling point.  This would also address, though to what degree would depend on proper implementation, the complaints of readability in direct sunlight that the iPad has met with.

It remains to be seen what will actually happen, of course, and I’ve only touched on a handful of possibilities.  For all I know, this could end up being an offshoot of the iPhone, a competitor for the Nook Color, or the greatest thing ever to happen to the eReading world.  A patent just isn’t enough to go off of if you want definitive.  Any move away from standard LCDs in portable devices with batteries is always going to get the benefit of the doubt from me, though.