Wednesday, February 18, 2009

iPhone could rival Kindle 2

The best ergonomic design will win ...

"It would be ironic if, after all the ink spilled about Amazon's Kindle, the iPhone turned out to be the reader of choice for electronic books.

But consider: Mobile phones are the most pervasive of all digital technologies, pushing 4 billion users. If you're carrying a device with you anyway, throwing a few books on it is simple enough, and reader software like Stanza ( www.lexcycle.com ) makes the experience at least a bit more palatable, assuming you can get used to working with a small screen for basic reading.

The Kindle is all over the news, with version two announced in early February, but an informal poll at O'Reilly's Concurrent Tools of Change conference in New York found that only 10 percent of the audience used Kindles, while 70 percent read books on iPhones.

If a surge in iPhone readers is really happening, it's easier to give credence to the rumors that Apple is developing a device to explore this market further, a larger version of the phoneless Touch that would be both ebook reader and turbocharged tablet computer.

I've read books on small digital devices, but the limitations of the format eventually take their toll, and I yearn for a larger screen. I also find that although I enjoy digital reading, I only do it about 20 percent of the time.

Print is still easier on the eyes, and the tangible identity of book in hand, each with its own typeface and unique characteristics of paper and binding, appeals when measured against the Kindle's monotonous six font choices. This may be generational, but I suspect I'll never get used to the idea that in terms of content delivery, books will look largely the same."    (Continued via News & Observer, Paul Gilster)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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