At Spreed we love the Kindle. Any technological innovation that makes electronic reading easier and more accessible is alright with us. But the product has two clear limitations that bother us. First, and foremost, is its size. We get it – Amazon is almost metaphorically replicating the traditional book here. But in this case we think holding on to a form factor that is quickly becoming anachronistic is a mistake. People no longer want “portable”, they want “pocket-size” when it comes to their mobile devices. Why should their mobile reading device be any different?
The second limitation is Amazon’s decision to use e-ink. Again, they’re trying to replicate the traditional reading experience. Less light being emitted from the page means fewer saccades (eye movements) which means a slightly more pleasant experience. But at what cost? E-ink is necessarily a picture of the page. It is not HTML or any dynamic code, and that renders the device little more than a picture window. Obviously, Spreed is all about leveraging the power of the computer to assist and improve the reading experience, so our bias here is pretty transparent. But by opting for e-ink, rather than a traditional browser, the Kindle forces itself into a corner and prevents the user from using the device in so many other ways.
Thankfully, there are others out there who are moving in the right direction. Case in point: Polymer Vision’s new Readius. Check out this article from the New York Times that describes the Readius in more detail.
The Readius is trying to offer pretty much everything that the Kindle does. Only it meets the two criteria above – it’s pocket-sized (therefore truly mobile) and is not limited by e-ink. Take a look at the picture and it’s not hard to imagine the device as a phone. Isn’t that exactly what we really want?
Congratulations to Polymer Vision for taking us one more step in the right direction.