As I’ve mentioned before, this blog is mostly about software but sometimes I think it’s useful to write about related hardware. (Generally only hardware that can run ebook software, such as eReaders, tablets, and mobile phones.)
There have recently been some new eReaders released and some price drops that I wanted to share with you.
This is old news already, but Amazon has released a new version of the Kindle called “Kindle with Special Offers”. It’s the same as the Kindle WiFi model, but $25 less at $114. Coupons and discounts are displayed in the form of screen savers and along the bottom of the home screen. They are designed to not interrupt your reading at all.
Depending on the offers, they might actually be useful for you. You can get discounts on Kindle ebooks, Amazon Gift Cards, and other products sold at Amazon like HDTVs, for example.
Personally, I don’t know whether I’d get this model or not. It could end up saving you some money if you wanted the offers being given. Or it could just end up being annoying. One of the things I like about reading a book is that it is not online, and not involved in ads.
Barnes & Noble has released a new version of the Nook: a smaller device with a touch screen. It’s available for pre-order right now, and the price is $139.
My impression is that this Nook is aimed at non-techy people. Its almost-square size makes it cute, and they seem to be really pushing it as an easy to use device. This is in contrast to the Nook color, which they’re billing as “the reader’s tablet” since it runs on the Android OS and even now has apps available.
Meanwhile, the original Nook has been pushed to the bottom of the screen, called the “NOOK 1st Edition”, and has had its price dropped to $119.
The Nook Touch looks like a fun eReader, especially for those who don’t want a tablet. It’s a good price, too.
Similarly, Kobo now has a touch-screen version available. It’s also more square than the older models, but not as much as the Nook Touch. It has WiFi and all of the other features that the other Kobo eReaders have. It is available for pre-order from Borders for $129 (and other retailers).
The page of specs says that it comes with 15 ebook previews for free. I wonder if that means it does not come with the 100 free pre-loaded books like the older Kobo models. That was one of the things I found most endearing to the Kobo company.
Kobo also now has a “Reading Life” app, which apparently tracks your reading habits, lets you share things on Facebook, and earn rewards. Sounds kind of like one of those grocery store clubs to me, and I wonder if they will mostly be using it to gather data on what to sell you. But it could be interesting in any case.
Both the BeBook Neo and BeBook Club eReaders have gone on sale at eBookMall.com. The Neo has dropped down to $199 and the Club to $169. Plus the Club now comes with a free case, which they say is a $30 value.
I have a BeBook Neo and I like it quite a lot, especially with ePub ebooks. The Neo does have a touch screen, but it’s not the finger-swiping kind. It comes with a stylus that you use to tap on the screen. It was released before these touch screens became as popular as they are now. The stylus method that it has works well enough because it at least means that you don’t have to navigate through the screens with the buttons.
I don’t know as much about the Club, but it does have all of the same features that are now standard on eReaders, and it was designed to cost less than the Neo.
All of this activity in the eReader department makes me wonder if my previous impression of the market was incorrect. It might turn out that there are plenty of folks who want a dedicated e-reading device, and don’t want a full tablet. Either way, I am glad to see that there is still so much interest in eReaders, and that people are reading in general.