Everyone seems to have thrown their hats into the ring this month with several new devices making their debut in the ereader market. September started with a bang with the big Amazon press conference, where four new devices were introduced, including the Kindle Paperwhite ereader and Kindle Fire HD tablet. In addition, Amazon is boasting several new features like FreeTime for kids. Though the iPad Mini has yet to have its official announcement, the iPhone 5 was also introduced this month, and with 29% of ebook readers reading from smartphones, the iPhone 5’s half-inch-larger screen (than the iPhone 4S) might come in handy. Samsung, however, is not going down without a fight, and their latest ads for the Galaxy S3 make fun of waiting in line for the iPhone 5. Also sneaking in just before October starts, Barnes & Noble announced its new HD tablets, making the Nook HD+ the cheapest 9-inch tablet on the market, undercutting the Kindle Fire HD. The new Nooks will also feature customizable homepages, allowing users to create multiple profiles on the same device.
Ereaders seem to be coming out fast and furiously, but who will withstand the test of time? Read on to make your own predictions.
“The best all-around Android tablet is still the Nexus 7. Its polish, speed, software and pocket-friendly size give it an edge over the fantastic Fire HD. But this misses the fact that the Kindle Fire HD isn’t trying to be just another Android tablet. Yes, Android runs through its veins, but the Fire HD is geared toward feeding Amazon’s super consumers (and creating more of those super consumers). Given that mission, the Fire HD works exactly as it should. Still, we’d rather spend our $200 on the Nexus 7.”
— Nathan Olivarez-Giles and Roberto Baldwin, Wired (9/11/2012)
“According to a new study, 45% of all U.S. adults now own a smartphone, about double the proportion that own dedicated e-readers or tablet computers, currently making smartphones the most common mobile e-reading devices… With fewer e-book buyers gravitating toward dedicated e-readers as their reading device of choice, tablets, smartphones and other e-reading venues will become more important for publishers to pay attention to. According to two other Pew studies, in the earlier part of this year, about one fifth of U.S. adults owned an e-reader and about the same proportion owned a tablet computer.”
— Jeremy Greenfield, DBW (9/11/2012)
“One thing’s for certain, Barnes & Noble is clearly serious about competing in the tablet space. Not only from a price perspective, but in performance as well. The company has taken the Nook Tablet concept and heavily iterated on it — much like Amazon did with the Fire HD. It’s too early to tell, of course, which offers the better value, but that will depend on more than just specs and pricing. Luckily, I don’t have to decide that today, as this will be a tough one.”
— Eric Franklin, CNET (9/25/2012)
“Which 7-inch tablet is right for you likely depends on your specific needs. In very simple terms, I like the Nexus 7 for web browsing and email; the Kindle Fire HD provides the most complete movie-watching and book-reading experience; the Nook HD is a good lightweight travel tablet with a screen built especially well for reading magazines; and the original Kindle Fire remains a bargain value LCD reader with full Internet capability. Again, however, all four can browse the web, are light enough to hold in one hand, have a nice display and are relatively cheap. It’s all a matter of taste, as they say.”
— Jason Gilbert, Huffington Post (9/26/2012)
“Next to Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s ambitions are almost quaint. They seem set on perfecting the e-reader as a piece of hardware, while paying relatively little attention to its grander implications. Perhaps this is why Barnes & Noble has also become a sort of stalking horse…for other companies that feel threatened by the ever-expanding arms of Amazon. Let’s put it this way: It’s no coincidence that some of Barnes & Noble’s biggest retail partners for the new Nooks are the same massive retailers who recently made headlines for dropping the Kindle from their shelves (Wal-Mart and Target, I’m looking at you). Brick-and-mortar retailers feel threatened by Amazon’s not-so-secret drive to make them obsolete, and Barnes & Noble’s products serve as a buffer to total market dominance… Yes, the great e-reader wars are beginning, and folks are taking sides.”
— Seth Porges, Forbes (9/26/2012)
“’ If this decision for consumers was just about devices, then Barnes & Noble would be pulling ahead,’ said James McQuivey, a media analyst at Forrester Research. ‘These are better devices than what Amazon has announced, and they’re comparably priced. Amazon just has a much bigger service offering to go behind their device.’”
— Julie Bosman, The New York Times (9/26/2012)