Kramer vs. Kramer: Who’s winning in the battle of digital devices?

Make no mistake that the consensus is that the Apple iPad is the best tablet on the market, and the press conference this month announcing the iPad New only cemented its place at the top. Boasting a new screen that is already prompting conversation on the best new ways to displaying content, excitement surrounding the iPad New has been strong, though not overwhelming. The question, of course, then becomes whether or not the tablet is really the best device for reading purposes. Complaints have already been circulating about the quality of magazines on the iPad New, since many publishers have not been creating files compatible with the screen. Also, conflicting reports have indicated both that ereader sales have waned in the post-Christmas months but also that tablets may not cannibalize dedicated ereader sales as some have feared. Are Barnes & Noble and Amazon competing with Apple and each other for the title of the ultimate electronic reading device? Or are their own products struggling even against one another to assert themselves as the best reading experience provider?

Who is making the best case for readers and who is being overruled? Read some of the excerpts below and draw your own conclusions.

“Apple is still indisputably at the top of the tablet market, but the next iPad (which most people are calling the iPad 3) faces a host of competitors that are clamoring after their own little niches. There is no tablet out there that surpasses the iPad 2 on every level, but here are 20 tablets that — in one way or another — distinguish themselves from Apple’s gadget.”

— Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post (3/1/2012)


“But there are signs that publishers are cooling on tablets for e-reading. A recent survey by Forrester Research showed that 31 percent of publishers believed iPads and similar tablets were the ideal e-reading platform; one year ago, 46 percent thought so.”

 Julie Bosman and Matt Richtel, The New York Times (3/4/2012)


“Seasonality is surely part of the cause for the decline in unit shipments. Ereaders like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook are great beneficiaries of the gift-giving season. But DigiTimes Research indicated that the introduction of viable, less expensive tablets like Amazon’s own 7-inch, Android-based Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble at the end of last may be having a more profound effect on ereader sales.”

— Damon Poeter, PC Magazine (3/5/2012)


“Best overall e-ink reader: Amazon Kindle Touch with Special Offers. Unlike the Nook Simple Touch, the Kindle supports audio (Audible audiobooks, MP3 playback, and text-to-voice autonarration). It’s also a great touch-screen e-reader. Add support for library lending, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (for Prime members), and integration with Amazon’s world-class online store, and you’ve got an e-ink reader that edges out the competition for just $99.”

— John P. Falcone, CNET (3/12/2012)


“What to make of the conflicting reports? It’s just another reminder that they are estimates and that this data is coming from research firms, not directly from Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble themselves. As I’ve written before, it is too early to say whether media tablets will cannibalize e-reader sales. It could happen, but three months of Kindle Fire sales doesn’t provide enough data to generalize, and device adoption patterns may be very different outside North America.”

— Laura Hazard Owen, Paid Content (Mar 13, 2012)


“We’ve spent more than a week with this thing, and yes, the screen is lovely. That A5X processor is a tab-loading, game-rendering beast. Yes, the optional stupid fast LTE connection smokes even my leveled-up home cable connection. And yes: It is pretty. But if you’ve owned—or even played with—an iPad before, Cupertino’s new hotness will leave you cold. It’s an upgrade. It feels like an optional configuration rather than something, shall we say… resolutionary. And that, frankly, is a bummer.”

— Joe Brown, Gizmodo (3/24/2012)