Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Musings on the next tech killer app – A combined tablet and ebook reader device

Posted in Information Technology, Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on July 28, 2009

I have followed the news around Amazon’s Kindle with great interest. I think it will be a tech game-changer. It fundamentally tries to address the readability issues associated with the LCD screens in other devices. Though, I haven’t had a chance to use it as yet, I can imagine how the epaper display technology can produce images and text that is very close to printed paper. In my view, this capability alone will lead to a large scale adoption of this device in the coming years.

I also see a huge opportunity in a ‘next gen’ Tablet PC. I haven’t digged deep into reasons why the existing Windows based Tablet PCs haven’t been that successful over the past few decade. Is it the cost? Or usability? Or both?

There is a lot of discussion in the media around Apple launching a new Tablet – I am sure this will be a game changing device, given Apple’s innovation track record. My initial thought when I first read about it was – here’s comes a potential Kindle killer. But then I realized that the Kindle’s display will be a major advantage over the tradional LCD display.

A tablet’s LCD display is critical for many functions (graphics, media, interactive software and tools, etc.), and doubt if there’s a substitute.

My simple thought: Why can’t someone create a smart, usable tablet computer with an epaper display on the back side??

Such a device could provide you with both capabilities in one single device! You can read a book and then if you want to use your tablet, just flip the device around! Isn’t it as simple as adding an epaper like display onto a tablet device??

As a user, I for one would definitely queue up to buy such a device, at a premium!

4 Responses

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  1. narayan said, on July 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    i’m not sure kindle will take off the way it appears you do.

    before i argue why, let me relate an anecdote from my early days at cmc. one of the teams — not one i was involved in — designed and built what was a revolutionary thing at the time: a hindi word processor. if i recall correctly, it used a personal computer but replaced the keyboard with a custom version. as a word processor, it was a breakthrough, but it needlessly dedicated hardware to a single application because you couldn’t use the hardware to do anything more than write documents in hindi.

    i think kindle is similar to that ill-fated word processor. it has a screen, communicates wirelessly to the bookstore, but does little to exploit capabilities that seem within ready reach. for example, imagine if i could pause in the middle of a book, select a particularly interesting paragraph and write a blog entry about it. or share a well-written sentence with someone who has a similar interest in the use of language. or annotate a book for future reference. there are whole host of applications that one takes for granted on a pc that somehow seem to be off-limits to a kindle user.

    if someone can come up with a pc that incorporates a screen that is as easy on the eye for reading as kindle’s screen appears to be, that may be the death of that standalone system. perhaps amazon themselves will be the first to kill their firstborn to feed the next.

  2. Ashok said, on August 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Interesting topic – from multiple viewpoints..
    as a device, i tend to agree with narayan that a kindle with its narrow application will probably not be a ‘killer device’
    as a strategy, particularly for amazon, i see the logic and think it makes sense. its interesting that they chose a device that enables book reading of all things. amazon started as a bookseller, so they seem to be building on that entry strategy. so, in terms of adjacency, upsell, etc its perfect. from a customer standpoint, it’s a logical offering. i expect amazon to do what they did to etailing…expand well beyond books..
    be that as it may, is it going to be ‘game-changing’ either for users, amazon, their competitors or for next-gen devices?? i doubt it.

  3. […] a Comment I had originally blogged about this topic about 6 months back. See original post “Musings on the next tech killer app – A combined tablet and ebook reader device“. Also attached […]


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