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View Poll Results: Could the iPhone serve as a whiz-bang e-reader?
Yes 43 26.88%
No 117 73.13%
Voters: 160. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-25-2008, 04:57 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Opinion: Could Apple's iPhone smoke the Kindle?

CNET News.com's Greg Sandoval thought he found the right reading device, the Amazon Kindle, until he heard about Apple's soon-to-be-launched iPhone 3G. You might think they'd be two totally different devices serving different purposes. Not so Mr Sandoval:

Quote:
I know Apple has said nothing about offering an e-reading application for the new iPhone. But what happens if Steve Jobs later surprises us or some developer turns the iPhone into a whiz-bang electronic reader? I'll tell you what happens, my Kindle ends up on eBay.
So I pass the question to our (hard-core) e-book users: Do you believe the iPhone could be turned into a whiz-bang electronic reader?
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:18 AM   #2
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I think the question should be rephrased to something like "Could the iPhone become an adequate electronic reader?"

Of course anyone can read ebooks perfectly legibly on an iPhone but the whole point of eink is the old 'reflective' VS 'transflective' debate.
The screen on the iPhone is beautiful BUT it emits light and in certain lighting conditions that can be very stressful on the eyes.

It all depends on how you read your ebooks. If you read your books in 15min chunks in a well lit indoor environment then the iPhone will be adequate but for me, in bed with a side light, the iPhone could never replace a device with a reflective screen.

I also think the screen is too small to read novels comfortably.

E
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:20 AM   #3
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How long do you think the iPhone will last if you keep its backlight constantly on?
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:40 AM   #4
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Well,
if this is any indication where the Iphone is going
http://code.google.com/p/iphoneebooks/
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:16 AM   #5
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It's also damn tiny for an e-reader. If Apple decided to do a little tablet thing with a larger screen... yes, they'd probably destroy any competition if they added ereader functionality and a decent store.. but an iphone? No.

See, some of us (and I'm not one of them) may be willing to use a palm device or iphone to read a book, but not most people. It's small, it's irritating to hold something like that and read for ages and ages (and I've used it in that way.) I LOVE my iPhone, and use it all the time for everything, but not books. It's not even the eInk thing, it's just the size. It's not efficient to read in those dimensions, the lines are too short, the page turns would be too frequent.

The reason the Kindle or the Sony Reader or Cybook or what-have-you are commercially viable is they recreate the reading experience, and over time we've worked out that the "paperback" size is just about right. Any smaller is too small, any bigger is unwieldy.

I think the iPhone at its new price point is going to shake a lot of industries, but I don't think books have a lot to worry about. Make the screen three times its current size and... well, that's another story all together. If Apple came out with a tablet-like touch device as expansive as the iphone but with a ebook feature and they had a decent book selection I'd toss my Kindle in a moment.
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
So I pass the question to our (hard-core) e-book users: Do you believe the iPhone could be turned into a whiz-bang electronic reader?
No, absolutely not. I have an iPod Touch (an iPhone minus the phone) and I think it would make a horrible book reader. The screen is too small, the battery life too short (around 6h or so with the backlight continually on) and a touch interface just doesn't work for a book reader.

On the other hand, it makes a great portable video player (which is primarily what I bought it for).
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:57 AM   #7
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As a dedicated reader I don't think it could ever compare but it depends on your reading habits. There is a large population out there that has less then 2 hours a day to read and in less then 20 min sessions. Example: reading in bed or in poor light waiting for the movie to start. It will make a better reader then the Kindle for this market and I think that Amazon is making a mistake by closing their potential market to only Kindle owners. The dedicated readers aren't for everyone.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
As a dedicated reader I don't think it could ever compare but it depends on your reading habits. There is a large population out there that has less then 2 hours a day to read and in less then 20 min sessions. Example: reading in bed or in poor light waiting for the movie to start. It will make a better reader then the Kindle for this market and I think that Amazon is making a mistake by closing their potential market to only Kindle owners. The dedicated readers aren't for everyone.
But there are far better devices than the iPhone/iPod Touch for that market - eg devices which will read MobiPocket format books open up a hugely wider range of books than any app for the iPhone is likely to. That includes virtually any Palm/Pocket PC/Windows Smartphone, as well as the majority of other makes of mobile phone.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:05 AM   #9
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I think one day the ereader market will also be rolled up from the mobile sector. As the mobile will evolve into an all-purpose-mobile-electronic-device. I think however that to function as a reader you need a eInk or comparable technology. And right now eInk isn't up to be usefull in a mobile device. Once it reaches say 250ms refresh times, one could build a mobile with eInk which also works nicely as eReader but until then: iLiad
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axel77 View Post
I think however that to function as a reader you need a eInk or comparable technology.
No, I don't agree with that, I'm afraid! I read books on LCD devices for over 20 years before eInk screens came along. Certainly eInk devices make better dedicated eBook readers, but any PDA type device makes a perfectly satisfactory reader, especially for the more casual reader.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:29 AM   #11
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I guess that in the long run mobile devices will be the "used in most cases"-gadgets. Wether they use eInk or LCD or whatever is up to someone else to decide.
But dedicated readers will have their place, even in that world.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:37 AM   #12
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There's nothing new here. People have been using cell phones as reading devices for a while now. Take a look at sites like http://www.wattpad.com. People who love to read will read, and people who love gadgets will use gadgets. It's no surprise that those of us who like both will bring them together.

As great as e-ink devices are (and they truly are great) many people want device consolidation. They'll get in their phone / pda / mp3 player / gps / ebook-reader. Is it better that way? I don't know, but if people stop trying new things, we loose innovation. Maybe future generation phones will use better e-ink technology as well?

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Old 06-25-2008, 07:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
But there are far better devices than the iPhone/iPod Touch for that market - eg devices which will read MobiPocket format books open up a hugely wider range of books than any app for the iPhone is likely to. That includes virtually any Palm/Pocket PC/Windows Smartphone, as well as the majority of other makes of mobile phone.
But Mobipocket announced at the IDPF conference that they would have a reader for the iPhone by the end of the year.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...740#post184740
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:45 AM   #14
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Thanks, Barcey - I'd overlooked that announcement!
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:59 AM   #15
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I still haven't purchased my device yet as I am waiting to see what Astak has to offer. With that said, there is no way I would use a device that is mainly a phone/mp3 player, as a reader. Can you imagine the ringer going off while engrossed in a great read? I am sure you could mute the phone but let it the device serve its main purpose. It may be great as an alternative.
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