Thursday, 14 April 2011

Amazon Kindle is Dead... Long Live the Tablet PC

We had an iPad for a year and now we have an iPad 2. It's about £150 cheaper than the original for the same spec and a lot of the original design flaws have been solved - you can actually hold it, and the smart cover works very nicely.

The original iPad's back was shaped like an oily banana and while it looked sleek, it was impossible to hold on to, so we added a leather case that just made the thing so bulky. Yes, you could prop it up to watch videos or type, but far from ideal. Like putting disabled hand rails on an Aston Martin to make it easier to get out of.

The new iPad 2 has a smart cover - £60 for a leather one! - but worth it because it is so neat and tidy, and as the iPad2 has a flat back, it folds away neatly when you're using the iPad. You can have a £30 plastic version, but the colour range is the same as B&M have chosen for their silicone spatulas. Not classy.

What has this got to do with Kindle?

Well, for £111 you can buy the Amazon device. The battery lasts a long time, and all it does is read ebooks.

The iPad was £480 for the 32Gb wifi version, from Tesco, or any other retailer thanks to Apple's price fixing.

To be honest, the iPad 2 doesn't do anything the iPad didn't do. It's just better at it.

The Kindle's battery last for weeks thanks to its e-ink screen technology, very handy for your holidays, if you're staying somewhere that has no electricity, I guess. I think most people could manage to charge their tablet computer overnight, along with their mobile phone and mp3 player.

And there's the problem. Wherever you go, you have other devices that will need charging almost every day, so is it really a problem to charge your tablet computer? Especially when you will also be reading your emails, watching videos and listening to music on it?

Disgo's Tablet 6000 costs only £98 from - that's £13 less than Kindle. Yes. it's only got 2Gb of storage built in and the screen resolution isn't a patch on the iPads but you can read your emails, watch videos, listen to music, browse the internet and read ebooks for less money than a Kindle.

Of course, there are more expensive tablet PCs too, running Linux or Google's Android OS. However, the price plummet of Apple's iPad 2 will force down the price of clones too. We'll see a whole flock of sub £200 tablets on the market by the summer, we reckon.

As a publisher, the devices that people read ebooks on directly affects the adoption of ebooks. ebooks might be a wonderful evolution of the publishing industry, but if people can't conveniently read them, they won't catch on.

We think that buying an Amazon Kindle is like buying your children a Vtech laptop. Why would you? It's more expensive than a real laptop, and it doesn't do anything useful!

But wait, you say, a VTech Super Student Laptop is only £50. It has a matchbox sized black and white LCD screen and doesn't do anything that you actually want your children to learn, such as how to order stuff off ebay with your credit card.

And you can't even buy a laptop for £50, can you?

Yes, you can. £50 buys you a very nice second hand laptop from the wonderful department store in the sky, ebay.

What about the cost of software?

Load the bargain laptop with the wonderful, free Ubuntu, a user friendly version of Linux, the absolutely free and fabulous operating system. Free office software, free everything. Does more than Windows. More reliable. Free. Easier to use. Free. Did we mention that it's free?

You have absolutely no excuse for not getting your children a real laptop, so why on Earth would you buy an Amazon Kindle just to read books on?

Sorry Amazon, considering that you fancy yourselves as a market innovator, you are five years late to market with the Kindle.

Our prediction is that the Kindle will go the way of the Sinclair C5, the Tandy TRS-80, the Psion palmtops and pretty much any kitchen appliance that you bought from QVC.

Only buy a Kindle if you want to show your grand children the product that killed the mighty Amazon.

1 comment:

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