Back in February, I discussed at length the advent of the digital age and its effects on bookworms like myself with my post Digital Bookworm. Since then, there have been several new arrivals of tablets on the electronic market. Now, bookworms can read books in color, browse the Internet, send email, download applications etc. all on one device. Does this mean that I no longer have to carry two and three books at a time when I'm riding the subway? Perhaps not anymore.
The Kindle Fire was released in early November and advertised as a more affordable rival to the illustrious iPad 2. At only $199, the Kindle Fire brings the tablet to a new audience and also incorporates all that bookworms love about the Kindle. Critics love the Kindle Fire as much as fans do. Since its release, the Kindle Fire has been flying off the shelves and its most recent sales are now rivaling the iPad 2. (Something to think about.)
The Nook Tablet was also released in November. Like the Kindle Fire, it marries the Nook with the technology of the tablet. The Nook Tablet has also taken it one step further by adding a soft cushion to the back of the tablet without sacrificing weight or size and critics have remarked that it is easier to use, has better battery life and a coveted SD card slot---missing in most tablets. All of this ensures that the Nook Tablet will be able to compete with the Kindle Fire and the iPad 2.
Not to miss out on the tablet race, Toshiba released the Toshiba Thrive back in July. An Android-based tablet, the Toshiba Thrive is a slightly bigger in size and weight which gives it a sturdiness not found in other tablets. The Toshiba Thrive focused on connectivity and convenience with this tablet offering full sized USB, HDMI and SD ports. The battery can easily be removed and can be replaced with another with ease. For its Internet connection, it uses Wi-Fi but not 3G and has a relatively good camera. Price-wise, the Toshiba Thrive is priced about the same as the iPad 2. It's a good option for those who love Android based electronics.
Sony S Tablet
September saw the release of the Sony S Tablet, another Android 3.0 based tablet with two versions, Tablet S and Tablet P. The Sony Tablet S follows the standard tablet shape and features but has a funky asymmetric design and wrap effect that gives it an "off-centered gravity feel" that Sony wanted users to have. This design also features a swooping plastic attachment at the back of the tablet which will allow users to prop up the device with ease. Mobile access is both Wi-Fi and 3G and users have the bonus of USB ports, front and rear cameras among other features.
The Sony Tablet P is a clam-shell shaped tablet that flips to a close like a handheld gaming device. (Think Sony PSP.) Dual touch screens with full screen capability (although there are seams across the middle of this tablet) make it fun to use and its fold-able design makes it even easier to carry. The release date for the Tablet P is still pending but this is one to look out for.
The Blackberry Playbook, released in April, brings the Blackberry OS system to the tablet market. For fans of the Blackberry,myself included, the Playbook has the potential to be a strong contender when issues such as the native e-mail, BBM application and updated operating system are addressed. The Blackberry Playbook 2, slated for February 2012 release, will have said changes and should see substantial sales as a result. Recently, discounted Blackberry Playbooks have disappeared off the shelves which suggests that Playbook has a promising future if developed right. We shall see.
The days of the written page may look bleak for the dawn of a new era has already arrived. Yesterday it was the e-book reader, today it is the tablet, who knows what the future will hold. Bookworms, like myself, are moving from the printed page to the latest electronic reader and we have more options to choose from than ever before. And of course, it's always good for a bookworm to have options. Now that the holidays are here, the timing could not be more perfect.
Which tablet or e-book reader are you going to buy? For myself, I am still surveying the tablet market. I have not yet made a decision on which one to buy. Part of me wants one solely for my books (I'm thinking a Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire would serve this purpose) and then to have another for mobility purposes (iPad 2 is a front runner). But perhaps that is unnecessary or being greedy? Techies, what do you think?