The last two weeks have been especially busy for the e-book reader industry (and probably pretty frightening for Amazon). Here's a quick round-up of what's been released and what we have to look forward to this holiday season:
1. Barnes & Noble Nook: The Nook has gained the most buzz lately, especially after some of the e-reader's details were released by the Wall Street Journal the night before. With a price tag set at $260, some e-book lending abilities and running on the Google Android OS, BN.com's Nook will surely provide some competition to Amazon. Furthermore, users will have availability to more than one million e-books online, twice that of what is available on Amazon.com. Also, after a bit of confusion over where exactly the Nook could access Wi-Fi (previously thought only in B&N stores after a mistake at a press conference last week), the Nook can work on Wi-Fi networks in stores and at home for downloading books.
2. Plastic Logic Que: Plastic Logic, which also partnered with Barnes & Noble for an e-book reader to be released in 2010, announced plans on October 19 for their own touchscreen e-reader named Que. Targeted towards professionals for business uses, supporting PDFs and Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. Less than a third of an inch thick and apparently "shatterproof," the letter-sized device will be able to connect to the Internet via AT&T 3G and Wi-Fi. Price and release dates should be announced at CES 2010 on January 7.
3. Spring Design Alex: Trying to steal Barnes & Noble's thunder a bit the day before their release, Spring Design announced plans for the dual-screen Alex. Also powered by Google Android OS, Alex comes with a trademark feature, Duet Navigator, which lets the reader cut and paste content captured on the color touchscreen and send it back to the black and white EPD to save battery life. A price hasn't been given, but its scheduled to be released by the end of 2009.
4. Amazon Kindle: While it's still the dominant leader in the e-book reader market, who knows how long the Amazon Kindle will remain king? Amazon is stepping up its game, with announcements of Kindle software coming to both Windows and Macs and a $20 price cut on the international version to $259, making it and the U.S. version both the same price as the B&N Nook. It has also switched from Sprint to AT&T's data networks for wireless capabilities.
Is the Kindle just trying to keep up by basically copying features from the Nook? Personally, I still refuse to pay over $200 for any e-book reader. It's just not that necessary a gadget to me yet. But if the prices could come down, I'd reconsider.
Do you plan on buying any of these devices? What you like about them? What do you think is missing?