Monday, March 02, 2009

Hearst so Good

Six months after publishing their Esquire magazine E Ink cover (which is still blinking away in the basement), Hearst is apparently developing their own e-paper-based reader. Says Gizmodo:
While Hearst has been silent regarding exact product specifications, we do know that the device will feature a 8.5x11ish screen to appease publishers used to large page layouts, and Hearst will allow the device's "underlying technology" to be adopted by other publishers (we're assuming that means without licensing fees).

According to Fortune, we're likely to see the device this year. And with Sony giving up their early lead in the e-reader world, it's none too soon that the Kindle will get some friendly marketplace competition—even if Hearst isn't openly chasing after the book market.
In some ways, a magazine-based e-reader makes sense; with your subscription, you get the reader and issues are electronically beamed to it. Mind you, I don't know that that is what Hearst is planning, but if I were creating an e-reader for magazines, it's what I would do.
I would also strive for color, although E Ink's e-paper technology isn't there yet (if Hearst is going with an E Ink display).

Still, I remain dubious of dedicated e-readers. I think they will only take off when they are incorporated into devices that do other things. Why are the iPhone and the BlackBerry so popular? Because they are single devices that can do a variety of different things. Merge a Kindle with an iPhone with an E Ink display and you're more than half the way there.

No comments: