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Old 06-06-2011, 07:14 AM   #91
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Sure, but GSM was far from the first cellphone technology. I doubt very much phones like this had texting.
Fair enough, but then it's really the technology that has changed and progressed. Nobody makes black and white TV sets anymore (far as I know), or tube radios, but that doesn't mean that TV sets and radios as such have died out, or been replaced by multi purpose devices.

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... it remains a communication device.
Exactly.

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I used to carry a pager when I was on call, but a number of years ago they switched and are now notifying people by text message instead.
Same here, although it must be said that pagers were never much in general use and largely restricted to very specific user groups (doctors in hospitals, volunteer firemen and the like). For the general population it's been cell phones forever (professionals took some exception to them at first because SMS are a best-effort service, i.e. delivery is not guaranteed, there's no priority service / guaranteed bandwith, etc. I suppose they've learned to live with those shortcomings by now)
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:55 AM   #92
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I think the word processor is about the only device that has been outmoded by the swiss-army-knife approach.

But if you think about it, a word processor is basically a typewriter plus some basic computing features. It makes sense you end up with a computer instead. Typewriters are pretty much gone though so I would count that as one.

Cellphones remain - smartphones are booming, but lots of people still have a more basic featurephone.

Pagers are a good one but still in use by some, but I still had a pager for work up until last year. I think it's still in the drawer - just most of the time we take the cellphone instead.

You'd think mp3 players would be replaced by smartphones, but there's still lots of them. I personally don't like using my cellphone as an mp3 player but I don't play music much any more, so I'm managing.

I think PDAs have been bumped by smartphones (sure, you can find a stray model or two, but they are pretty much dead). Then again a smartphone is basically a cell phone + PDA...
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:33 AM   #93
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Well, yeah, PDA's are going away quick, but how many years ago was the Time of Death officially called? And technically... the PDA was born a multipurpose device. It just became part of a multi-multipurpose device


Stand-alone word-processing machines I'll give you.
It's not exactly the same thing, but the Alphasmart is a dedicated, portable word processor. I remembered reading about them in Writer's Digest not too long ago, and sure enough, they're still in business. I'm not sure that there are any of the big Desktop Word Processor's being sold though.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:58 AM   #94
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It's a no-brainer. Within a couple of years it will be possible to make tablets the size of the Kindle with a dual-mode screen that has all the qualities of e-ink and LCD. It will have more power than a current iPad and will cost what a Kindle costs now. There will be effectively no benefit of a regular ereader, and no market for a device that costs the same (as a tablet) but does less.

It's just a matter of the technology getting a little better and cheaper.

It's exactly like a PDA. Smartphones are now PDAs. There is very little market these days for PDAs that don't make phone calls.

There will always be demand for dedicated devices, but I doubt that demand will be enough for manufacturers to bother with.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:00 PM   #95
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^ I hope you are wrong, but do understand your economic supply/demand/manufacturing ROI perspective.

Still, hope springs eternal!
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:09 PM   #96
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They've been predicting the demise of the ereader now for a while: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=118446

Funny enough, several new dedicated ereaders have come out since the "dedicated device demise" predictions have started.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:20 AM   #97
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They've been predicting the demise of the ereader now for a while: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=118446

Funny enough, several new dedicated ereaders have come out since the "dedicated device demise" predictions have started.
Simply because the technology hasn't yet got to the point where a tablet can replace a dedicated ebook reader.

Who is going to market a $100 e-ink reader when they can sell a $120 tablet that can be used as an e-ink reader AND a tablet (i.e. has a dual mode screen that doesn't compromise like current LCD screens and is also capable of full colour, video, games, etc.)?

I can understand that some luddites don't want extra capabilities even if they can ignore them and never have to think about them, but most people would prefer "a+b+c" rather than just "a" considering the prices would be practically identical.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:27 AM   #98
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^ True enough. But not for me if "a+b+c" means results in degraded, sub-par or overly compromised performance. I been around long enough to have seen this happen over and over again.

Your example however would indeed be tempting, even to this dedicated, "single purpose" device guy.

Of course, to each their own.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:00 PM   #99
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Who uses a calculator anymore?
Every accountant, bookkeeper, treasurer I've ever seen.

That might actually be a good example of why dedicated devices will endure, even if in a smaller market segment.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:10 PM   #100
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Whatever promotion B&N does to supposedly lure people into the stores and download ebooks there, Amazon can match or better it on-line.
Well, Amazon can't provide comfy chairs, a cafe' and a place to meet with people in person and fondle merchandise. B&N has played this card, we can only see how long and well it will work.


[yes, I know you can order chairs and coffee on Amazon...that gag's been done, don't milk it.]
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:21 PM   #101
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Well, Amazon can't provide comfy chairs, a cafe' and a place to meet with people in person and fondle merchandise. B&N has played this card, we can only see how long and well it will work.


[yes, I know you can order chairs and coffee on Amazon...that gag's been done, don't milk it.]
The comfy chairs are gone, though, at least in my local B&N.

They seem to be concerned that if the comfy chairs are there, customers might sit down and read the books and then leave without paying for them.

When I got my Nook, I deliberately set up a "B&N Day" weekly reminder on my calendar -- I was gonna go to B&N with my nook every weekend, settle into a big comfy chair, buy a beverage, and browse their online catalog. It would be a fun outing, a treat.

The first day I tried, I found the comfy chairs were gone. I tried to sit in the cafe chairs, but no joy. They were scientifically designed to be painful. Plus, I felt like I was hogging a cafe table that would be necessary for eating -- not a trivial point when they only had THREE tables to go around.

I never went back. *sigh*
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:23 PM   #102
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Before I decided to buy my K3 I was quite tempted by the iPad, which seemed to offer book-reading capability and obviously many more features than a straight ereader. But what put me off was the weight. I couldn't imagine I would find it comfortable to read with in bed for any length of time.

Now I know that for some people the solution is a lighter 7" tablet, but if I am going to have a tablet I would want a 10" one, in order to get the most out of it. It's rather like some people being able to read books or watch videos on an iPhone. I know it can be done, but not by me.

There are always going to be problems that make all-purpose devices less than ideal. They may be improved in various ways. The iPad 2 is lighter, but still a bit heavy for me. Perhaps eventually there will be an iPad n that will be light enough!
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:36 PM   #103
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The comfy chairs are gone, though, at least in my local B&N.
That's sad. It seems pretty clear that the big B&Ns around me are banking on the idea that if you want people purchase stuff in the store, then you must first get them in the store.
The one's here went from AT&T paid wifi (iirc) to free wifi, from mediocre cafe cakes to Cheesecake Factory brand, and have free story time and other activities for kids. I don't know their financial state, but there's no "Store Closing' signs yet, and when we stop in to browse, we walk out having bought something more often than not.
Items on shelves get my kids to beg for stuff. Amazon's web site, as much as I love it, does not.

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Old 06-08-2011, 01:07 PM   #104
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I too have always been a huge proponent of single specialized tools/gear/software versus Swiss Army type stuff. Every day I carry a cell phone, a Blackberry, one of several mp3 players and now, my new Kindle3. A bit of a hassle? Sure. But one I am personally willing to put up with for a variety of reasons, similar to what people have listed already. But even I must admit: the concept of convergence is compelling, even to me.

Still, I do consider myself an enthusiast in certain areas, which is only one reason I continue to carry multiple devices around. Another is this: no one in my personal circle of close friends has a music collection as perfectly tagged with cover art as I do. Yes, this takes me some time initially, but most importantly, it is time I feel is well spent, especially considering the results I achieve.
It's probably a mistake to assume that convergence means (1) all functions (2) on one portable device. That kind of convergence seems unrealistic to me.

Here is a no doubt incomplete list of functions which might converge:

1. music
2. movies
3. games
4. information storage
5. reading
6. photography
7. banking & investing
8. shopping
9. email
10. social networking
11. time management
12. news
13. educational programing
14. military logistics

Given these functions, some are performed better on larger/smaller devices, or light/heavy devices, or purposed/multifunctional devices. Some materially increase their value if they are integrated with other functions, some (stand-alones)don't. Some require more expensive equipment than others.

I would suggest that there are some laws of convergence involved here.

One is that convergence of function tends to increase the expense of the device.

A second is that there are one or more "sweet spots" for each function in terms of both expense and convenience, and that the sweet spots for one function might or might not be the same as for another. Further, sweet spots can be seen as primary and secondary - that is, there is one kind of sweet spot which is based on the function being considered primary, and another kind (the sour spot?) that takes into account that some other function is more important.

Now, the value of convergence for reading seems to me to mainly be reducing the number of devices that must be carried around. But if a person is in a situation where that convergence is important, it is likely that reading will be a secondary function, and therefore its implimentation will be a sour spot. On the iPhone, the screen is too small. On the iPad, the device is too heavy. And both devices are costly.

With all this in mind, it seems to me that dedicated EBRs exploit the fact that reading is a stand-alone function requiring increasingly cheaper and lighter equipment. The sweet spot seems to be the 6 inch grayscale non-LCD device. I expect the price of the entry level EBR to settle down somewhere under $100. I expect some marginal increase in screen resolution and contrast. I expect some improvement in the operating system and navigation functions.

If these expectations are realized, I would think that the EBR is going to become like a cell phone - most everyone who reads (meaning book readers) will have one. This is because it seems clear that electronic reading is not going away, and that a sweet spot device will always be available for every function, simply because there is a profit to be made in the sweet spot.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:38 PM   #105
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^ Harmon, if I may be so presumptuous...you raise excellent points. I plan to ponder this further and look forward to reading much more discussion from others on this.
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