Monday, October 6, 2008

The Sony PRS 700 and the eBook Reader Market

sony_prs-700_readerLast week Sony proudly announced the 3rd generation PRS series eBook Reader.  It has some nice features; particularly the reading light and the fact that it has a touch screen.

And yet I can't help thinking that something is broken in the marketplace! This new Sony readers and the rumored Kindle device prove to me that the Reader design world is stuck in neutral.

There is little happening in the narrowly focused electronic reading world that makes sense to me. It is now nearly twenty years after we tried putting books on a CD ROM disc to stimulate reading opportunities. Over time the Internet and cheap hard drive space have removed the CD disc from the equation.

Today, the digital publishing is still very much alive and growing rapidly (if not broadly). The best reader that money can buy is still very expensive ($800) and excruciatingly dumb.

The consumer is quite happy with a multifunction device that has about three inches of screen space.  After all you can read books, handle email, surf the net and listen to music all with one device.  And that doesn't even take into consideration the convenience of being able to make and receive phone calls!

Reading devices are still being designed by people who know some technology.  What they don't seem to know much about is the consumer generally or publishing specifically.  And therein lies the rub.

So where is publishing headed? Debates about that vary from the sublime to the ridiculous as do most debates. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the Internet or its children will provide the delivery vehicle.

Cell phones with substantial screens or projection capabilities are going to hit the market soon. With their programmability based on open operating systems they almost certainly will become the device of choice for both computing and reading. They will also probably take over the world of TV show presentation to major audiences everywhere.

So what is possibly wrong in that world? The idiots that keep designing readers persist in building devices that will not compete. They are holding back the market that they need to develop before it is too late for them. Goodbye Sony reader: Goodbye Kindle: Hello open systems and the new old revolution.

All that cell phones really still need to own this market should appear in the next generation phones. I am hoping that happens because the brain dead place holders made by Amazon, Sony and Phillips make no sense. Or maybe they make as much sense in this market as one hundred thousand dollar CD recorders would make in today’s data transfer marketplace. Yes folks,  twenty years ago a CD Recorder cost a hundred g’s.

Cell phones are following that cost and value curve and dedicated reading devices are not.  Wether they recognize it or not -- this game is already over.  The spindle, ah the bindle, no the, don’t help me, I’ll get it. . . oh yeah, THE KINDLE,  that’s it, is dead. It was slaughtered by a real market before it mattered to anyone anywhere except a few engineers and those of us early adopters who bought their bad designs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. every single word...


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