It’s no secret that I’m a Gadget Geek. I own two Smartphones, a laptop, a DVR, and an eReader. Rather than look at shoes and skirts and jewelry and makeup, I’m interested in the next big thing coming down the Tech Pipeline.
This week, social media has been all-twitter (pun intended) with the release of the Kindle Fire. I ignored the announcement at first because I went with a Nook Color instead of a Kindle for specific reasons. I’ve recently heard rumors that Barnes & Noble may have a Nook Color 2 in the works and now my interest is piqued!
Note: I’m a Geek, not a Nerd. :) I’m not well versed on highly technical terminology and requirements. Ice Cream Sandwich is a yummy after dinner treat to me, not a software term. I look at eReaders and gadgets and try to imagine everything I might want to do with the product. There are hundreds of technical blogs and TechNerds battling over those details out there. This blog is purely regarding my interest in tablets and eReaders.
When I was searching for a device, I needed to answer a few questions:
1) How much am I willing to pay for it?
2) What, exactly, am I planning to do with it?
3) Do I need it? And if not, what additions or options might sway me to purchase it?
Eenie Meenie Miney…Nook
In the world of electronic devices, there are many choices. There’s the iPad or iPad2, a versatile device with many apps available in the Apple store. I didn’t choose an iPad mostly because of cost. I don’t need it bad enough to pay more than $199 for it. It would be nice to have, but I’m not going to spend that kind of money. Then there are the non Apple tablets that are less eReader and more mobile PC – the Blackberry Playbook, the HP Touchpad and so on.
I have a laptop and an iPhone that are almost always on me, so the need for another gadget to do what two smart phones and a laptop will do was low. I have read entire books on my iPhone (yes, I really have), watched entire movies and so on, so what I wanted was something with a larger screen and the ability to take my book library anywhere I want, read whatever and wherever I want, and if there are added bonuses for the same price point, those are gravy on the potatoes. Or frosting on the cake, depending on if you’re a savory or sweets lover. ;-)
I ended up going with the Nook Color mostly because a friend had one and LOVED it, and it wasn’t like the Kindle, which everyone and their grandmother and my 7 yr old nephew had. I’m not exactly a trailblazer but I am hardly one to go get whatever everyone else is buying. The Nook also satisfied my deal breakers:
1) Ability to borrow books from the library, which was only recently remedied with Kindle. Not that I use this feature, but I don’t like being told no!
2) Ability to add my own non DRM material in any format I wish, including books I might buy from online bookstores. I prefer .epub and if you don’t know what the big deal is with .epub, here’s a thread to shed some light on the discussion. I’m not a published author, but I convert my stories to .epub and add them to my device so I can read them like a reader might read them.
Since the launch of the Kindle Fire, I have been taking note. I’ll say that I disagree that it is an iPad Killer, but it could compete strongly with non Apple tablets. A huge concern to me is an Amazon controlled App Store. Not my cuppa, but the Fire is inexpensive enough to not make that a huge deal. If you don’t care about that, it’s a contender.
New and Improved?
One of the bigger reasons I’m considering the Fire is because of the Nook Color 2 rumors. I bought my Nook Color just after Christmas last year so it isn’t even a year old. It has served me very well and I really like it, so if B&N is going to update it to compete with the Fire, I’m paying attention. I’ve read a few articles comparing the current Nook Color to the Kindle Fire and noting what features would be important to me for B&N to update. Attached is a chart from CNet.com, comparing the two devices.
What matters most to me is storage and format. Others might want actual tablet functionality like the ability to watch movies, use social media and even (GASP) do some work. I see that the Fire and the Nook both come with 8g of storage space—however the Nook Color has a micro SD card slot, which expands storage greatly. The Fire combats this with access to the Amazon Cloud, but if I understand this correctly, you can only access the cloud if you are connected to a computer or a wireless connection. I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I am wrong, but that makes the Fire more like a large, shiny, slick iPod Touch: awesome access to apps and features so long as you’re tied to a wireless network. Need to use something like GPS or an app that works best via a 3G connection and you’re stuck. I note, the deal is the same with the Nook, but with expanded memory, anything I might have needed to grab from the Amazon cloud (save Amazon books) I will have already loaded and saved to my Nook.
In the aforementioned CNet comparison, the differences between the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire aren’t enough to make me run out and buy one right now. However, suffice it to say that I’m going to be watching the evolution of the Nook Color and determining if I will be updating my current device. Book format still sticks in my craw, though. I have a number of books and documents that I’ve converted to ePub. I’m not likely to convert them all to .mobi just to have a device that plays videos and uses apps. I’m just hoping that B&N will step up to the plate and deliver a device that competes and brings the same functionalities to its already stellar tablet.