On CNet, Scott Stein writes about why a $79 Kindle has replaced his iPad as his e-book-reading device of choice. The reasons aren’t really new, and indeed have popped up any time anyone has ever compared e-ink devices to tablets for reading: eyestrain-reducing e-ink screens, less potential for distraction, longer battery life, and less potential for being stolen (and less of a loss if it is).
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens as screen display technology gets better and lets tablets steal some of the screen-readability and battery life benefits of e-readers. Will dedicated e-readers stay around? Will they get so cheap that people treat them as disposable? Will tablets get that cheap?
It’s amazing how much the prices on big-screen high-definition TVs have come down over just the last few years. I regularly talk to people in my “day job” who paid a thousand bucks for a TV that has an equivalent costing less than half that today. Electronics prices can drop fast if enough economy of scale is applied.
So far, we haven’t really gotten to that point with tablets yet (perhaps, aside from the display issue, because only two tablets have ever really taken off marketwise). But sooner or later, we will. If nothing else, Amazon has a pretty big incentive to make both e-ink and tablet devices as cheap as possible so it can sell more e-books and movie streaming.