The tablet market is off and running and the Kindle Fire is doing very well. I have often wondered what the future of the original e-reader will look like. Now that the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo e-readers are all touchscreen, what is the next big update?
I’m not saying they’re perfect by any means. The page transitions could be smoother, and the page turn buttons could be arranged a little better to make things more comfortable for lefties. Then of course, there’s always the potential for faster browsing in the Amazon Store.
Right now to me at least, my Kindle and iPad serve completely different purposes. I have tried reading a book on both an iPad and Kindle Fire, and the screen is just too bright for me to read for a long time. My Kindle Touch isn’t really a gadget to me that I feel like I need to separate myself from like the computer or phone.
A hybrid tablet and e-reader has been mentioned in the past, and I think this is most likely what will happen. The trick is designing one that can create the same effect that both an e-reader and a tablet can. I’m not exactly sure how far off this possibility is, but it would be nice to be about to just carry around one device that does multiple things. At the same time though, if that device is stolen, you lose everything.
With the Kindle Fire out now, I’m not sure I really see a point in creating a color e-ink Kindle. Most books, regardless of whether they are print and electronic don’t use much color. I can see it being used for highlights and annotations, but how high is the demand for that?
In the short term, I would love to see a light built into the Kindle. I don’t mean a backlight necessarily, but perhaps a light that is built in at the top that can flip in and out when needed. There are a number of good clip on lights available, but having one that fits seamlessly into the device would be ideal.
E-readers are continuing to show strong sales, and now that the prices are lower than ever, many more consumers are able to jump on the e-reader bandwagon. In the next year or two at least, I think e-readers like the Kindle and Kindle Touch will draw sales from these new consumers.
Looking ahead 5 years or so, I predict that the hybrid e-reader/tablet will emerge and take a share in the market. But who knows, there may be something completely different around to shake things up. Technology progresses incredibly fast these days. To say the pace of technology competition and updates are overwhelming is a major understatement.