Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Nook

For whatever reason, Amazon's Kindle has never really appealed to me. Though I read a fair amount, and am not opposed to the idea of an e-reader, I've just never had any techno-lust for it. It's not because of the DRM, though I'd rather they didn't have it. It's just that it's not that exciting. It's basically a one-trick pony. No matter how thin they make it, or how many books it can hold, it will only every serve the very limited purposes of reading books and doing some light web browsing. Boring. I can do both of those things on my phone, albeit on less than an ideal screen size, or on my laptop.

Today, Barnes & Noble announced their competitor, the Nook. The Nook is based on Android. Now, people who read this blog know that my opinion of Android is that it's not as good as the iPhone in most respects, both from the point of view of a consumer and from the point of view of a developer. Obviously, that's subjective, but it's my honest opinion of where things stand right now.

However, I see the Nook as possibly a game changer for Android, much more so than the much-touted Verizon Droid, which might be a good phone, but it doesn't strike me as a game changer as much as being a not-totally-horrible-like-the-Voyager ersatz iPhone for people unwilling to switch to AT&T. I'm not quite ready to say it IS a game changer, but it definitely could be. It's a book reader that can be more. It's a tablet device that can be programmed. It's bigger than a phone, but still portable. This device, in my opinion, is every so much more techno-lustworthy than the Kindle. It also raises the bar for Android. Here's a whole new audience of devices that will be able to buy Android apps.

Of course, we'll have to see how it actually performs and how people like it. But assuming it delivers on its promises, then I'd say that Android just pulled out a tiny bit from the pack and its odds are looking better. There's a long ways to go in the race, but this could be a turning point. This could be the thing Android needs to achieve critical mass for their App Store, which is the one thing that they absolutely must have if they're ever going to challenge the iPhone's dominance.

I can't wait to see where this goes from here, and I can't wait for Apple to introduce some kind of new iPhone OS device, whether it's a tablet, or something completely new. I don't have any idea what Apple is going to do, but I'm sure they are not going to stand still.



11 comments:

Jon Gretar said...

As I understand it.... The Nook is an ebook reader and nothing more. Even if you manage to hack it then we are talking about electronic paper screen and as such has severe limitations on usage.

But... I'm excited both for Nook and Kindle. I generally dislike all-in-one gadgets. They do many things and most of them not very well, much like the old all-in-one stereos that every kid got. The iPod classic still is the best thing for music. The Nokia 5110(and the models after based on it) is still the most reliable and trusty phones. The point is that deticated devices are always give the best experience and reliability.

I do like the iPhone as a mini computer. But it's not the best phone(as in phoning experience) and as an ebook reader it's horrific and a joke that publishers attempt to make ebook readers. It's like publishing the new best-seller on post-It notes. :)

Jeff LaMarche said...

A dedicated app may generally do that one thing better, but as a general rule, I'd rather have a single general purpose device rather than dozens of dedicated ones. There are some jobs for which I want a dedicated device, like a phone, for example.

Maybe it's just because I like real books, but I just don't find an eBook reader to be one of those dedicated devices I have to have. Yes, reading a book on the iPhone is not a good experience, but neither is lugging 50 pounds of stuff when you travel because you have a dozen dedicated devices.

When I'm at home, I'd prefer a real book. Call me old-fashioned.

homunq said...

I think the Nook is not hooked up to the android app store, and I'm not even sure it runs 3rd party apps at all. It's just Android as a platform, and B&N standing ready to take advantage of app store development FOR you, not letting you take advantage directly.

Philippe said...

The war as begun!
I want a eBook reader but would like a bigger screen... Since amazon Kiddle dx is not available in Canada... Will wait to see if Apple respond to this market...

Jon Gretar said...

@Jeff: I get what you are saying. I like my iTouch as a multi gadget. There are a few things I like as tool of it's own. A camera is one example. Another example would be an ebook reader. Personally I can't read off a screen anything longer than a screenfull. After that I have to print and read.

But electronic paper readers are great as it does not emit light and as such have similar reading experience.

I think this will be like is now with the DVDs and Records. Most of the stuff you will just own digitally for convenience but for the few literature, music or movies you really love you will own the "boxed set" that you will proudly display.

@Philippe: Apple will not respond to this market. They might come out with a tablet but not with electronic paper. epaper just can't do cool tricks. :)

Jeff LaMarche said...

homunq:

If that's true, it certainly dampens my enthusiasm for it. Then the question is: how long until people jailbreak the Nook so that you can?

Jon:

If the devices get small enough, I'd consider getting one, but the big obstacle is, I have thousands of books. The real value in an eBook reader to me would be recovering a lot of that space, but it would cost thousands of dollars to get all the books I own (and want to keep) onto an eBook reader. Unlike Tape Casettes, LPs, and VCRs, books will never become obsolete as they are self-contained and don't rely on anything except your eyes and a light source to use them.

Who knows, though, maybe some day an eBook reader will wow me and I'll jump on board the wagon, but for now, it just doesn't grab my attention the way I would have thought such a device would before they existed.

Financial Risk said...

The purpose in life is to read. The kindle is a better reader than the nook that weighs more and batter lasts less. iPad display is too bright and color brings the potential for obnoxious ads and other distractions. iPhone is a joke. Computers are too big, heavy and unusable.

Edwin said...

scrub m65 kamagra attorney lawyer body scrub field jacket lovegra marijuana attorney injury lawyer

JeansPilot said...

JeansPilot offers the chance to buy a large variety of men’s and women’s jeans clothing from the world famous Italian Brands.
Online jeans clothing store looks for original fashion clothing sales and clearances of worldwide known designers. We participate in fashion auctions to get the lowest possible price for Top quality Clothes, Shoes and Accessories.
Buy Jeans

SEO Services Consultants said...

Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck! Web Design Company

h4ns said...

What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town live streaming
Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town live streaming
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Stoke City Live Streaming
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Stoke City Live Streaming
Notts County vs Manchester City Live Streaming
Notts County vs Manchester City Live Streaming
Bologna vs AS Roma Live Streaming
Bologna vs AS Roma Live Streaming
Juventus vs Udinese Live Streaming
Juventus vs Udinese Live Streaming
Napoli vs Sampdoria Live Streaming
Napoli vs Sampdoria Live Streaming
Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur Live Streaming
Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur Live Streaming
AS Monaco vs Marseille Live Streaming
AS Monaco vs Marseille Live Streaming
Alajuelense vs Perez Zeledon Live Streaming
Alajuelense vs Perez Zeledon Live Streaming
Technology News | News Today | Live Streaming TV Channels