Monday, November 23, 2009

Delays for Sony, BN Nook and even Apple tablet - Update

I must have browsed 100 stories this week about the Nook's unavailability for the Holidays because it sold out quickly.  If you order one today, the Nook won't be shipped until January 4.
  The inference is that if you ordered one some time ago you might receive yours probably in time for the holidays.  The delay is reported in stories about how amazingly successful the Nook has been and that as a result, only limited numbers of high-volume Barnes & Noble stores may have Nooks by, or shortly, after Nov 30, and even they will have a limited supply.

  One tv reporter opined that Barnes and Noble seems to be encouraging a stampede to their stores for the promised very few Nooks.  In the meantime B&N is offering an "elegant Nook holiday certifcate" that would reach buyers by December 24 and which could be gifted to someone as a placeholder until the physical Nook reader is shipped.

  Gizmodo's John Herrman is the only online writer who's pointed out the obvious:
' Nobody has any idea if the Nook is actually any good yet, but no matter: It’s the perfect Christmas gift, in theory!
Granted, it’s a little worrisome that Barnes & Noble is taking pre-orders before letting reviewers have their say, so maybe this enforced waiting period is a good thing.  At any rate, it’ll be January — well after we’ll have run B&N’s Android-powered ereader through its paces — before anyone else will be able to get one. '
  In Gizmodo's accompanying graphic, the bottom panel looks very bright compared to the vendor ads (just as the Amazon Kindle background looks almost white in most of the Amazon ads).  I wondered how distracting the bottom screen might be and how easy it is to turn it off while reading a book or whether you need it 'on' for book navigation.  Someday we'll find out.

  CNet's David Carnoy pointed out that "...the company hasn't shipped a single unit yet" and that B&N spokeperson Mary Ellen Keating read the article and added she hopes people will opt for the holiday certificate "that can be wrapped and given to the recipient.."  Can be wrapped?  What a strange week.

  Commenters mention that in a "big Chicago store" B&N will get 12 units though he says the first wave would be January 4.
  Keating did add that B&N is "on track to ship devices that were preordered prior to today by the holidays."

  Another commenter said that user guides are normally available in advance and are the only method of finding out how an e-reader might function (several of us learned about the Kindle DX's current inability to annotate PDFs, via the availability of the user's guide online).  But B&N will not be releasing the User's Guide until the Nook itself is released with the guide installed.

Sony Insider Edition 7" wireless e-reader delayed too
This was all over the news just before the Nook delay stories.
 Another problem in Sony's case is that the wireless will be only to the Sony store and that they are not set up to release this unit in Canada or anywhere else outside the U.S. next year but the price is $399 to the Nook's and Amazon's $259 for the 6" models.

It's puzzling that they both rushed in to vie for the holiday buying season because of e-reader popularity right now but that both (even the hardware and electronics-savvy Sony) did not properly estimate production needs.
  Some have mentioned that tbe lawsuit against B&N by Spring Design, maker of "Alex" (a dual-panel e-reader shown to B&N and the topic of several earlier non-disclosure oriented meetings with B&N), may be an unmentioned factor in the delays.

Apple may have a delay on its highly-anticipated tablet device.
  ResellerNews reports rumors that they may not launch a tablet until the 2nd half of 2010 because they are, per Taiwan's Digi Times, waiting for OLED (organic light-emitting diode) to become available.
  Update - Added an information link for OLED.

  ResellerNews says that MacWorld's UK editor-in-chief Mark Hattersley has used the 9.7" display and that its resolution so fine that it's said to make HD TV screens "look grey and washed out"  Furthermore, these screens don't require a backlight and they draw far less power than traditional displays.

  Downside: the OLED panel currently costs $500 (vs the Kindle e-ink display's $68) and accounts for 30% of the device's total cost.
' Apple's 9.7in OLED tablet PC is expected to have a cost of about $1,500-1,700 (based on today's prices)," according to the DigiTimes source. '
That doesn't sound ultra realistic, but Digitimes adds that Apple will also be releasing at that time a 10" LCD panel-based tablet expected to be priced between $800 and $1000.

Most news reports agree that this all leaves Amazon Kindle a bit of an open field during the holiday weeks.  On the other hand, people tend to want something they can't have :-). Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Question: Do you have any experience with how well the Kindle 2 renders PDF's?

    I have a lot of classics and theological works in PDF on my computer and I'm entertaining the idea of using a Kindle or Nook to make them more acessable. Some of the PDF's are scanned images (most from Google Books) and some are searchable text.

    Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

    -Mark McIntyre

    You posted a comment which was released, but the Google software did not post it for some reason. So I'll quote it here.

    "Question: Do you have any experience with how well the Kindle 2 renders PDF's.

    I have a lot of classics and theological works in PDF on my computer and I'm entertaining the idea of using a Kindle or Nook to make them more acessable. Some of the PDF's are scanned images (most from Google Books) and some are searchable text.

    Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated."

    The Google image-based ones are often 20 times larger (in space taking) and are slower to load pages as each one is an image.

    If you want to see them exactly as laid out you could try it, but if the words are small, they'll be small on a 6" screen vs the 8.5"x11" paper they were intended for.

    Landscape mode often helps as it enlarges the text. But with image-based straight text (single column), I'd just send it to Amazon to convert to reflowed-text so you can do normal searches, use the dictionary and add annotations.

    For straight-text, if the original fonts were large enough it's surprisingly readable on the K2, especially in landscape mode, unless you need large fonts.

    For free conversions, send them to the [you] address you made for yourself at - sending it with the email address you use for correspondence with Amazon normally.

    In the subject field, put "Convert" ...

    Here's an Amazon forum thread of people's reactions to K2 pdfs - it varies and there are some good suggestions:

    Hope that helps.

  3. Well, Mark, they apparently finally released your post, keeping the original time posted, which must have been stuck in some server 'pipe' !


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