Yet another company has come out with an e-reader. E-Ink Corp has created a device with a six-inch screen that shows only black and white text, and has no wireless. For that, you get to pay $300.
Why would someone want to pay for a device they have to hook up to an existing laptop in order to get what they want to read? That’s like saying you’d much rather have an 8-track recorder instead of a DVR.
These kinds of devices are exactly why the e-reader market will shake out faster than most believe. E-Ink isn’t the only company pumping out e-readers with no wireless. So are companies like Booken, Cool-ER and Dittobook. These may have been okay at the dawn of the e-reader age —- which was just last year — but technology has already overtaken these relatively new offerings. Sony, IRex, Plastic Logic and First Paper will all launch wireless e-readers by early next year. CrunchPad, Dell and Apple are all rumored to be developing wireless tablets. And prices for the wireless devices are falling fast, so much so that Forrester predicts an average e-reader price of $199 nest year and $99 in 2011.
Without wireless, people can’t information when they want it. True, many of these devices were built for book readers, not for newspaper and magazine readers or those who want to surf the web. But the devices that have a chance at long-term success are the ones that allow users to perform multiple tasks at once. What would you rather do? Spend $300 on a single-use device or $399 (the rumored price) of the much ballyhooed CrunchPad?
Change is coming really fast. So fast that these e-readers with no wireless could soon be like 8-track tapes … an interesting relic well past its time.