MOBILE TECH REVIEW posted an announcement and description of its usual, very thorough video comparison of e-readers, this time of the Nook Simple Touch vs the Kindle 3. The video takes almost half-hour to view because they go through all the features for each e-reader, comparing their pro's and con's. They explain that they look at these elements:
. the dictionary
. PDF support
. buying books
. text clarity (not a small thing, w/ Pearl screen capabilities)
. reading features.
Their full written review will follow next week. This was of interest to me because I hadn't seen any other news-site "reviews" yet that paid attention to anything but the TouchScreen interface, and -- while it is the key factor for many people because it does make navigation easier -- the effectiveness of an e-reader for people who read many books and periodicals is a lot more than that.
It seems that many who look mainly at hardware don't pay attention to the other 4/5ths of a user's guide that will deal with the many reader options and explain the functioning of features that are very useful for book clubs and for classes but also for people who like to make notes about their reading or who like to look up more info while they're reading, with the ability to get back to that page with the press of a Back button.
That your highlighting and notes can be easily lost without backup beyond the device's dependence on what happens with an e-book (accidental or premature deletion) and the lack of a method for transfering those notes to your computer (for use with a text editor or for printing or just for backup) is getting too 'simple' for my tastes. But Amazon's 'cloud' has provided these capabilities for 4 years. Beyond this, they added an extra copy of your web-readable annotations in a Kindle owner's private Amazon web page, organized by book.
The video review is at YouTube but can also be seen at MobileTechReview's forum. (Those using Kindle blog-editions to read this can't run videos of course.)
The feedback at YouTube is mainly happiness at how thorough the reviewers are and there's little of the blind-siding with either device because the review goes into so much detail. I did see there, and at MobileRead.com, that viewers of the video report end up discussing the merits of each without just going into the side-taking that's normally seen.
CONSUMER REPORTS also posted their results of a review of the Nook Simple Touch (NST) and the Kindle 3 (K3). The new Nook "beat" the Kindle 3G model by 1 point, though the Touch capability is a strong factor. So one can wonder how it did in other areas.
But to an extent, it makes sense that the Touch Screen makes the difference and the other factors are less important (especially when they're not mentioned).
Oddly enough, CR stresses that the new Nook is "emulating Amazon's focus on reading with minimal fuss and extra features and adds, "The Simple Touch drops those bells and whistles and the second screen. As a result, it (like the Kindle) successfully "gets out of the way and disappears and lets you get on with your reading..."
That is bizarre because the Kindle 3 has a plethora of very useful features that the Nook has dropped from what it put into its original Nook Classic a year ago or that it never had at all. Consumer Reports is normally known for looking at a myriad of features that, together, make a product what it is, but in this case they looked mainly at the type of navigational control, as if just driving a car a certain way would be the sole concern while not caring how the car functions along the way when there are several things you hope it will do well if at all. [Edited to correct a word choice.]
In this case a car radio would be an unnecessary extra feature (the Nook dropped its mp3 player and ALL audio and has no speakers), and while its original Nook Classic had a GPS-like unit that would guide you to various web sites and allow you to download books from other stores, that is not functioning in this model, at least, and B&N shows it (the web browser) as non-existent, mainly because it fails at doing the most basic things and is therefore hidden.
For one thing a web browser, while you're reading, can take you to a library (Wikipedia or Google) for more info on a subject. One of the features that the Kindle allows free via normally-expensive 3G cell phone networks, in 100 countries, is access to Wikipedia FROM the page you are reading, for a search word or phrase.
For students of any age, that free, 3G cell phone network access to Wikipedia (or Google) is no small feature, and it's been present since 2007 on the Kindle. I've little doubt that if other e-Ink readers gave customers this feature for no add'l charge via 3G, a review would heap praise on it and not consider it not worth a mention.
But the Nook is US only, for purchasing Nook books, so is relatively limited and that's not particularly known either.
For those interested in the actual features that were made for people who love to read, see both my Features-Comparison and, for sure, the MobileTechReview video of the features of both e-readers, as it's a very balanced report, giving credit to each where due.
The depth of the look via that video means there is less hype over just one product feature and less reliance on weight to today's library-lending when Agreements have been announced that the Kindle will be participating in that but, unlike most ereaders, there'll be no additional software to be downloaded or required, and the borrowed books will be delivered over Wifi without the arduous Adobe 3 DRM rights-protection method that requires using a computer and an extra piece of software to do the library borrowing. However, Amazon came from behind on that one and since it's not ready as of today, that's fair game.
Here's the interesting reaction by the Mobile Read forum crowd to the Consumer Reports evaluation. It's of interest because it's not a group wedded to any particular e-reader but they are a tough, knowledgable crowd.
KINDLE 3.1 SOFTWARE HACK FOR OLDER KINDLES
First, I'm not recommending that anyone reading try this, since it not only violates the usual Terms of Agreement but it is also not a piece of cake for most and you could wind up with a non-working Kindle instead of an improved one.
I just came across PC World's story about a software patch that opens up older Kindles to new features such as enhanced PDF support and better web browsing. See the PC World story by Chris Brandrick for the details.
More than anything, it's a strong sign that Amazon is long overdue on providing a software update for its Kindle 2 and DX models but especially for the expensive DX Graphite (which has the Pearl screen capability that the Kindle 3 has and was released only a couple of months before the Kindle 3). The natives are restless.
"AFTER DISCOVERING THAT PEOPLE DO ACTUALLY STILL READ, APPLE DECIDES TO BE A LITTLE NICER TO PUBLISHERS"
Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes an entertaining story about what has happened in the e-reader world since Steve Jobs originally told the NY Times's John Markoff that the Amazon Kindle was doomed because "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is," he'd said. "The fact is that people don't read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore."
While he provided a tablet for web-browsing, video watching, and games, it also allows the unusual reading-users an area also. And now, Dumenco adds, "the next version of the iPad operating system, iOS 5, will finally have a unified home for all your iPad newspaper and magazine subscriptions: something called Newsstand."
JOHN LOCKE IS THE FIRST SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR TO SELL OVER 1M E-BOOKS THROUGH AMAZON
The Bookseller's Lisa Campbell reports that John Locke is the first self-published author to join what Amazon has dubbed the Kindle Million Club. Here's his Amazon page.
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