Monday, December 29, 2008

eReaders -- Have you considered a "Netbook?"



Last week Stacey Higginbotham wrote an interesting blog piece on notebook computing and what that might mean for the electronics industry.

She notes that notebook PC sales have overtaken the sales of desktop type machines.  This is the direct result of WiFi and the almost ubiquitous access to the Internet.

This is of interest to me, because Henri needs a new eBook reader.  It's time. . .

I figured that it would be a great Christmas present, so I started looking very closely at all the eReaders -- Kindle (never), Sony, Cybooks, Irex, BeBook and a few others. 

From my perspective the best available option is the Irex.  It has a touch screen, is able to connect by WiFi to the Internet and allows you to make notes and annotations.  It reads protected Mobipocket files and unprotected PDF.  All in all, contrary to my first opinion, it has turned out to be a great machine.  Or at least it is until you check out the price -- $700!!!

Well, let me think!  Here is a pretty much single use device that costs more than a fully powered, big screen laptop.  Too rich for my blood!

But the laptop thought triggered an idea.

I have been hearing about netbooks so decided to check them out.  Acer makes one called the Aspire One.  It sells at Costco for $349.00.  This is a fully functional Windows XP notebook with 1 GB of RAM, a160GB hard drive that is net ready and weighs about 2 pounds.  And it has a great screen with brilliant colors.

Heck, with that capacity, it is a lot more robust than a couple of the laptops we have laying around. 

Because it has the XP operating system it can read protected Mobipocket, PDF and Microsoft reader eBooks.  Because it is net ready you really don't need to buy an software.  All you need to do is access email and Google Docs are you are ready to go.

Of course, if you want to work offline, you can always load Star Office (for free) and have a fully functioning road machine. 

Sony and Cybook readers are in the same price range and do a whole let less. 

Rumor has it that Dell and a couple of other companies are getting ready to introduce lighter, faster, cheaper models next year.

I would love to finish this piece by telling you that I bought Henri a net book and we are both very happy. But that is not what really happened.  What really happened is that I put off the decision and the purchase for a couple of months.

And Henri, lucky man, got a new shirt. . . .


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