Archive for February, 2010

eReaders in Higher Ed – yes, but no, but yes.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The basic message of this article is, eReaders are coming and they will impact on Higher Ed, just not yet (and not the current Kindle DX)

According to the article, the Kindle isn’t the “killer” product for Higher Ed primarily because it doesn’t support the degree of note taking most students want, and you can’t open multiple texts at once.  At the moment the nearest portable products with that functionality are tablets and netbooks.   If I were to guess, I’d say that the utility (and relative low cost) of a netbook will be of greater importance to students than the readability of an eReader (unless the price crashes).  As for tablets (including the iPad), it’s too early to tell.  I don’t think the price, and functionality are  right yet.

So the take away message is don’t buy the current Kindle – wait for something that meets your needs.  There are people hammering away in their digital workshops trying to build the “next big thing” in eReaders.  For example you can get a Jetbook eReader right now, for $US 150  (I know, I’ d never heard of them either).  It’s not a Higher Ed product, but it’s an example of what to expect in 2010.

One vital area missed in this article is the crucial area of content.  There is no point talking about eReaders without considering the cost of the texts.  Unless the texts are significantly cheaper, why bother.  If free, creative commons or “open texts” are used by the university do student’s attitudes change?

Has the Kindle arrived in Australia just in time to be killed off by the iPad?

Monday, February 1st, 2010

I wouldn’t buy an eReader just yet.  With the iPad coming in at US$500, we’re likely to see the price of new and existing devices drop.  The larger format Kindle DX is about the same size and price – this either gets much cheaper very quickly or dies.  

Other than that, the iPad looks like being a niche/novelty product – an iTouch/PDA that’s too big for your pocket, or a netbook that’s not as good to type on.   Unless you are looking for the perfect accessory for your Captain Picard costume  you probably don’t need one.  Wanting one is whole different issue. 

Check this Tech Republic page for articles, a short video and a podcast.