Like most gadget lovers I dream of the perfect digital reading device. In my dreams this device is pretty much identical to the interactive book in Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. Unfortunately, the technology behind Stephenson’s nano-tech powered ereader is still decades away. In the meantime, we’re stuck with a motley assortment of devices that attack the challenge of reading digital content from a variety of different angles. From dedicated eInk readers like the Sony Reader and Amazon’s Kindle, to PDA’s, and multi-purpose mobile computing devices like the iPhone. None are anywhere close to perfect, but they’re all we have for the time being.
Knowing full well that I’m not about to find the “ultimate” ebook reader anytime soon, I spent a bit of time this summer evaluating the merits of two very different devices: the iPhone and the Kindle.
While comparing the reading experience on both of these devices was an interesting exercise, I found that the relative strengths and weaknesses of each product lead me to consider bigger questions about the future of ebooks and digital content.