Friday, June 06, 2008


OK, we have said many times that its time wake up and smell the coffee and unless ebook reader devices prices drop below $100 they are just transient technology and frankly no more than toys for executives and novelties for geeks. That doesn’t mean that digital publishing is a waste of effort, very much the contrary digital publishing is about the total publishing process not the delivery mechanism.

Today for the price of a regular notebook, PC manufactures can supply smaller and simpler laptops. The Computex trade fair in Taiwan, is now showing ultra-portable models and more are expected in the second half of the year. Remember the Mac Airbook? We all wanted one, but they were expensive. Now prices for lightweight and effective laptops are dropping. Analysts predict that low-cost computers, between 7-10 inches and weighing about 1 kilo, could end up replacing regular notebook PCs. They aren’t predicting tens of thousands of shipments but tens of millions. Most of the new low-cost laptops, running on Linux or Windows XP operating systems, will be in stores this summer, and some analysts say they could resurrect a flagging PC market.

Intel’s Atom chip based products are to introduce Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) which we have already written about, but they now also plan two new system tiers they call "netbooks" and "nettops." These new systems will fit below the standard laptop/desktop markets and are compact mobile devices focused today on children, first-time Internet users and people who desire an extra PC can use for basic computing applications, listening to music, e-mailing and surfing the Internet, playing basic online games, social networking and making voice over IP phone calls. Why not add reading ebook online to that? In fact think of the potential in education and academia or other social mass groups that desire low cost access.

Intel’s Atom has competition from NVIDIA’s ARM based system-on-a-chip, codenamed Tegra and the VIA Nano. VIA, like Intel, is also capable of providing a comprehensive chipset/graphics/processor combination, and at a cheaper price.

Some may say that all this could seriously question the ebook reader in its current form. After all why have a single application devise when you can have a multi functional one that is fully wireless, light and does everything you need for the same price? Some may say you need it for travel, to take to the beach and read in bed. Others that we already have that reader – the book.

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