For the last ten days I've been putting an Amazon Kindle 2 through its paces, wondering how desirable a dedicated e-reader is.
The resolution of the Nokia Internet Tablet screen is 225 pixels-per-inch; on the Kindle 2, it's 167 ppi. In a one-inch square, that means there are nearly twice as many pixels on the full-color NIT screen; too, video plays marvelously there. “White” on the 16-level-gray-scale K2 screen is, well, light gray; animation is not possible; and video doesn't even enter the realm of speculation.
Yet the K2's 6-inch-diagonal screen encompasses wonderfully more text than pocket-sized devices. And that is no small thing. In these electronic times I have re-subscribed to the print edition of the New York Times, added magazine subscriptions and now carry NYPL and Montclair library cards in my wallet; still, 90 percent of my reading is done on-screen. The pencil-thin K2 capitalizes on our need for reading to be mobile beyond any previous device.
As for portability, the K2 doesn't just talk the talk. Native-born to the walkaround web, its purchase enables you to browse all the non-moving-pixel parts of the internet from anywhere within reach of Sprint's 3G wireless network, for no cost whatsoever. And buy books at any hour, with immediate access.
In so many ways inferior to an Internet Tablet, but not without charm. However, that's not a Kindle 2 pictured below, but a prototype of the so-called CrunchPad, Michael Arrington's quest for a $200 “Macbook Air-thin touch-screen machine that runs Firefox and possibly Skype on top of a Linux kernel.”
It’s not a full-fledged computer, and it should not be. It’s 2009 and we no longer have just one do-it-all computer.
A tablet for lazy surfing, a netbook for travel, an iPhone for when we don’t even want to carry that much, a full laptop for everyday work, and even a full desktop as the multimedia workhorse: at these price levels we may very well have 5-6 or purpose-designed computers, situational devices. Pick up one, continue on the other as you move around — the switch should be seamless …
Well, I'd sure like a 12-inch screen for surfing … and something that fits in my pocket … and that I can read on while I'm falling asleep … or do some work on … or watch a movie on … Yes, maybe 5 or 6 different devices is what I want.