I just read this on TFTS: Smartphones, Tablets, E-Readers Become Physically Heavier With More Data [The More Apps, Ebooks, Information You Add to Your Kindle, Android or iOS Device, the Heavier it Gets].
Quotes from the article:
John Kubiatowicz, a computer scientist from University of California’s Berkeley campus says that the more data you put into your notebook computer, netbook, tablet, smartphone, ebook reader or any other electronic device, the heavier it gets.
It’s a matter of energy vs. matter. While downloading software and apps does not really increase the amount of matter in your device, it changes the amount of energy stored on your tablet, smartphone or e-reader, particularly the level of energy in its electrons. And given Einstein’s theory of relativity stating that Energy equals the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared (E=mc2) then the difference in weight between a full ebook reader and an empty one is about 10-18 of a gram, or what scientists call an attogram.
Studies say that dust that gathers on your iPad’s touchscreen will weigh more than loading thousands of e-books on your device.
This is an odd fact, of course, as devices will not individually weigh more, with more data. But consider the amount of data being transmitted around the world, such as through broadband cables, datacenters and ISPs. Does this make the world substantially heavier?
I find this really fascinating. I don’t fully understand the science behind E=mc2, but if more energy equals more weight, then it makes sense. It’s such a small amount that it’s nothing anyone would ever actually notice when holding their phone, but the idea that putting more digital content on a device increases the weight is so interesting because we all generally consider things like energy and digital files to be totally non-physical. There are even studies being done nowadays that show that thoughts are like little entities, and if they are made by electrical impulses in your brain, and if that has mass, then why not? Some people probably find this kind of topic way too “out there” but I love it. It’s very futuristic and I think it’s awesome that our science is starting to be able to explain these kinds of things.
According to these reports, the Sony Reader T1 uses a modified version of the Android OS. I wasn’t aware of that at all – I thought that was only used on more tablet-like devices. An anonymous hacker has figured out a way to get into the operating system and make it so that you can install Android apps. Now people who use this hack can install the Kindle app and read Kindle ebooks on it. Before this, that was only possible on devices that were expressly supported by Amazon.
The problem with this is that the Sony Reader has an e-ink screen, which was not designed for Android apps. Those, for the most part, are all designed for LCD screens like the ones you see on tablets such as the Motorola Xoom or Samsung Galaxy. E-ink was made mostly just to display the text of a book. Because of this, there is no real hope of turning your Sony Reader into a real Android device. But the idea that you can put Kindle ebooks on it is interesting, if you’re the type who wants to go against the rules just for the sake of going against the rules. Personally, if I wanted to use Kindle ebooks I’d just get a Kindle.
This blog is one year old this month!
Technology evolves very quickly. Some big things about ebooks have changed in the past year. I think, overall, that the biggest thing has been the evolution of devices that you can use to read ebooks on. All major e-reader suppliers have released touch screen versions of their devices, and they are also moving into Android-based tablet-like models as well. I am actually surprised at the level of acceptance of tablet devices. Since they are generally not very necessary devices, I thought most people would consider them to expensive. But that’s another thing – the prices of these devices are dropping quickly. And, of course, Amazon keeps selling more and more Kindles and Kindle eBooks.
Some changes have also come in software. Microsoft recently announced it was discontinuing Microsoft Reader. I also expect formats like Mobipocket and the old Palm eReader will be gone soon. Because of that, I’ve moved them into a new category on this blog called “Obsolete Software”. I want to keep those posts around in case someone needs a reference later on, but there is no need for them to have their own categories anymore. ePub and PDF seem to be emerging as the most popular formats. ePub is so great because the text will move to adjust to your screen size, and everyone is just so familiar with PDF that they keep using it.
This isn’t meant to be a huge year-review of the state of ebooks, just a little ‘look back’ from where I sit. I think I’ve been pretty consistent in updating this blog about once per week on average. I expect that I will keep doing that. I might bring in some additional topics that are related. I am interested in how ebooks affect authors and publishers, for example. I am also always interested in how new devices and software will change the market and the user experience. So, we’ll see how it goes! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂