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Are E-Readers Already Obsolete?

Stephen King's definition of a Kindle: "A gadget with stories hiding inside it. What's wrong with that?"

Amazon Kindle

E-Readers, also known as digital or electronic readers, allow users to wirelessly download books and read them on hand-held devices which resemble a glorified etch-a-sketch. Well not exactly, but these handy little electronic readers have become very popular, according to a recent article in Time, Amazon has already sold 1.7 million units of their Kindle E-Reader since it was launched in 2007.

The Time article further states: According to the Association of American Publishers total revenue from digital-book downloads has risen 149% this year, while they estimate e-readers sales to top 3 million by Dec. 31. And according to Forrester Research around 1 million of these gadgets could be sold this holiday season, and sales in 2010 are projected to double, to 6 million.

"The year 2009 is a breakout year for e-readers," says Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research. "But we're still in the early stages."

But Amazon has probably seen the light, as well as the sales numbers and are moving full-steam ahead. Amazon recently announced it will be introducing the Kindle into more than 100 countries - complete with a feature that allows owners to wirelessly download Amazon e-books. There is definitely a ready market for such a device and for such a service as consumers are the ultimate judge and jury for any product.

Where there's a profit to be made, other companies will follow, cue wagon stage left. Just like when Asustek invented the category of Netbook with its ASUS Eee-PC in 2007, other laptop makers and sellers quickly jumped on the bandwagon and the marketplace was flooded with netbooks or mini-laptops.

This recent trend towards E-Readers will prove no different, take for example Sony, who introduced the first electronic reader way back in 2004, will be introducing three new devices according to the Time's article. The Sony Reader will have a Pocket Edition ($199), sporting a 5-inch-diagonal screen, Touch Edition ($299) which will be touchscreen-equipped and the Daily Edition ($399), which will feature wireless capability.

Asus is also entering the E-Reader market with a product called the Eee-reader which should be on the market for Christmas. Then there is the Fujitsu FLEPia which is the only commercially available E-Reader which has a color display. It's only available in Japan and costs around $1,100. Ouch!

For the more modest consumer, the Irex Digital Reader will be hitting U.S. stores this month, October 2009. The DR800 will have an 8.1-in. touchscreen with wireless connectivity and will sell for $90 less than the similarly sized Kindle DX, which will set you back around $489. This is the price at the time of writing, expect those prices to drop as competition heats up.

On the horizon, there are many different versions of the e-reader that will hit the market. There is even a fold up model which will open like a book and another one called the Polymer Vision Readius which is also a phone but it has a flexible screen that folds up around the phone to make it extra portable.

Then we have the looming debut of Apple's fabled iTablet which could be a game changer in the whole E-Reader arena. It could also be a Kindle-Killer given Apple's enormous popularity with tech savvy consumers who only want the latest gadget on the market.

One really has to question why all this popularity for the E-Reader, especially since we already have the small portable netbook on the market, which can be easily used for reading books. More specifically, we already have Tablet PCs which could easily fulfill this reading function. Granted they may be slightly larger, but they also offer all the features of a laptop, so why not just convert/use this device as an E-Reader?

Of course, the E-Reader probably has the cool factor in its corner and may be the tech gadget of the moment. Plus, there are those people who want their tech devices to perform only one task, in this case, offering up a cosy read that's equivalent to a real book experience. Purests will shiver at just the thought of such a ridiculous notion. They want their books the old-fashion way, ink on paper and hold the batteries.

Will the E-Reader be another one of those passing tech fads, here today and gone tomorrow? Will it go the way of the Do-Do bird and become extinct or something more horrible, become outdated before it even gets a chance to really fly. Will it be replaced by more fully loaded gadgets that will do everything electronically imaginable?

Eventually, with new advancements like flexible screens, we will see the advent of a tech gadget that will perform all these functions. A full-body "Swiss Army Knife" version doodad that will be a phone, laptop, web browser, camera, TV and of course E-Reader... plus, stuff that we haven't even invented yet. Exit Blackberry stage right and cue violin music.

Those of us who ponder such new inventions and gadgets can't help but conjure up the ultimate communication device and system. Many of us still dream of the longed for fabled "Google Box" which would give us all the above neatly wrapped around something like the Google Wave.

We wonder why Google doesn't just stop pussy-footing around with one third party partner after another, depending on them to supply and deliver to the masses, Google's programs and information. Instead, Google should design and create their own device which would unify all their countless programs and applications into one convenient medium.

They could even take a hint from the ancient Romans, who sat down and designed the aqueduct system to supply water to the masses. They could even further follow the Romans by making some people pay for the system, while the less fortunate would get it for free.

Google needs an advertising medium that's freely available to every person on the planet, the Internet just doesn't cut it anymore. They need to go beyond and have a direct wireless connection with all their users, even where the web is not available or too slow. Direct instant communication with all their customers and clients. Besides, a King without a Kingdom is just a virtual wanabe, time is ripe for Google to enter the real world.

Creating a fully loaded E-Reader like gadget centered around its massive search engine index and Google Books would be a great starting point. Filling such a device with all of its popular programs such as Google Wave, Google Earth, Google Latitude, Google Maps, iGoogle, Google Chrome, Google Docs, Google Books... would consolidate Google's sprawing, scatered empire into one unified entity people could actually get their hands on. Wouldn't such a handy practical device be the next logical step in Google's evolution, especially in our Utopia challenged world?

Now wouldn't that be the perfect wave.


The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For more information on netbooks click here: best netbooks For the latest web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools By Titus Hoskins Copyright 2009.

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