eReaders compete for consumer attention at electronics show.
eReaders have been a big thing at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, for several years. This year, however, companies are taking it to the next level as they try to catch up with the significant lead in sales of the Kindle. There’s even a special “TechZone” set aside this year where the eReader manufacturers are working to stand out from the crowd.
Here are just a few of the many eReaders I’ve seen this year.
This eReader tries to set itself apart with two screens instead of one. One screen uses eInk, the technology that powers most eReaders. The other is a smaller full color touch-sensitive screen. You use the bottom, smaller screen to navigate and browse the web. This extra screen comes at an extra price, however. When Alex launches next month, it will cost $399, which is almost $140 more than it’s two leading competitors, the Kindle and the Nook. It also doesn’t have the same content selection, although it has a partnership with Google Books to provide free public domain eBooks, and Borders to provide paid eBooks.
Unlike many of the eReaders on display, iRiver isn’t trying to stand apart due to the design. In fact, at a distance, the Kindle and the Story look very similar. iRiver is all about the content. When the Story is released, iRiver will have a site setup that links to around 20 or 25 different content providers. In addition, it supports a a variety of formats, such as Word documents, spreadsheets, and comic books.
Many other eReaders were spread across the show floor. Some were small, some were geared for business, and some were from other countries. Every eReader has something that helps it stand out, whether it’s a second screen, wide support, or a way to take notes by drawing on the screen. Whether or not any of these will be enough to overshadow the current giant in eReaders is for the consumer market to decide through sales. Or maybe, readers will return to regular books.
PHOTO: Everyone at CES wanted to get their hands on the latest eReader. (Photo Courtesy Aaron Broder)