Saturday, November 20, 2010

iPad, Nook, Kindle, or Wait Some More?

Yesterday, November 19, 2010, I went to Barnes & Noble in nearby Lincolnshire.   I want to go there and get a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done.  There is a real following around Allen’s method of organization and planning.  You can Google Getting Things Done or just GTD as it is referred to by adherents.  I would expound more but GTD is a topic for a future piece.  Plus, the book I was looking for was out of stock.
Upon walking into the store and before learning they did not have the GTD book in stock, I stopped to look at the Barnes and Noble net pad reader that they call the Nook.  I had heard of the Nook but I had not heard great things about it.  It was a late entry, a me too, well behind Amazon’s Kindle product.  It became a third tier product when Apple unleashed their instantly popular and market leading iPad.
My business partner, my primary client, a close friend, and my niece Melanie were among the first on their block to get iPads.  In short they love them and use them in lieu of laptops for surfing, light email, playing games, and even a very expensive calculator.  My partner, Ara, uses it to demonstrate our software product DemandCaster and for other power point presentations.  Oddly, when I asked all them if they read books, magazines, or news papers, they all said no.
I know the Kindle and the Nook were both designed as monochrome display e-readers first.  They had internet WiFi and then 3G capability only to facilitate the selling and download of books to these devices.  In the third generation of the Kindle and the second generation of the Nook, the price is basically an impulse purchase.  The Kindle is $139 for the WiFi version and $189 for the 3G version.  The Nook is $250 and is only available in WiFi not 3G.   The new Nook has a color screen whereas the Kindle is still only available in monochrome.
When I was looking at the nook in the Barnes and Noble store yesterday an engaging salesperson, Mitchell, came over to extol the virtues of the new Nook.  He was very helpful.  I almost walked out with one.   He took the time and enthusiastically showed me all the features of the new device.   I had never experienced such sales pressure in a Barnes and Noble store.  I am not complaining, I am actually glad that Mitchell took the time to show me the features of the new generation Nook.  I just was not used to any kind of sales pitch in Barnes and Noble where the ambiance has always been more come in, browse, read, buy a cup of coffee, and maybe leave with some books, music, and magazines.
In considering getting a netpad device, I was only considering the iPad or the Kindle.   The only consideration was price.  Did I want to pay $650 for the iPad and have color and full web access?  Or did I want to spend $189 for a book reader.    The iPad, for 3G requires another monthly payment of what $20.   I really do not want another monthly cable/internet/cellphone kind of payment?  No.  It is becoming like a car payment.  Maybe if there is no WiFi and I really need to access the web for something, I will just use my cell phone.  
I really like the Nook.  It is affordable and beyond basic book reading capabilities, it is color, can surf the web, and I could use if for light email.  While it has a smaller screen, I am never that far from my work desktop or my own laptop which I would use for more serious writing such as this posting.
The Kindle is still the most affordable but is strictly a book, newspaper, and magazine reader.  Everyone that I have ever seen reading from one simply loves it.  As I mentioned above, everyone that has an iPad also likes their device.
I understand there are a slew of other devices about to hit the market.  Verizon has just launched an Android netpad with the 7” screen.  It is the same price as the iPad.  There is some value in going to the Android OS since our company email and my phone are both Google/Android based.  But, this is a smaller consideration since I would simply access my various gmail accounts and Google docs via the internet… er… cloud… whatever it is all evolving towards.
Usually with new technology, I wait.  I am not the first guy on the block to go out and get the latest and greatest gizmo.   I wait to see what others buy and use the technology.  I don’t buy the first product out of the shoot.  I wait to see how competitors react.  I wait because I know that either the prices will drop or the capabilities offered at the same price will increase.  In short, I wait. It is funny because the first users of the Kindle, switched to the third generation Kindle, and some even switched or added an iPad to their inventory of electronic/computing gadgets. 
Here is a great article on that explores the dimensions of the e-readers.  It was very helpful as I learned the new Nook is Android based.  I should have just listened to Mitchell last night and just bought one.
So, feel free to weigh in here:
  • Do you have a netpad?  Which one?  Do you love it?
  • If you do not have one, are you planning on getting one?
  • Do you read books and magazines on your device?  I especially want to hear from iPad users on this one.
  • How is the touch screen typing?  Do you text and type short emails?  Or do you do real work?


  1. 1.I own ipad wifi and kindle wifi. Love both.
    3.I think ipad is best for web, newspaper, comic and PDF(esp. scanned). Kindle is best for reading only(txt, PDF), maybe magazines too.
    3.If you don't type A LOT, I think the ipad typing is OK. If you do real work, I recommend laptops.

  2. Wait!
    In your case, I'd probably wait.. or buy the Kindle WiFi as an impulse purchase. There's even a few apps for it, including InstaPaper.

    I do have an iPad (which I'm using right now) and I do love it. It was meant for me. Nobody else. ;-)

    I do read books on it. Rarely, because I don't like longform writing in general, these days. But it so happens that I've been reading a PDF eBook over the past few days and GoodReader works remarkably well for this. I make a number of annotations and markup in that book (again, I have a problem with longform writing) so the iPad offers a better reading experience than dedicated readers, in my case.

    On my iPad, I: type long emails, write long blogposts, read all the academic articles for my courses (GoodReader, again), grade student papers, read large amounts of online text through InstaPaper (mostly from RSS feeds, using Reeder), liveblog during conferences, take copious notes (using TaskPaper), prepare classroom presentations, manage WordPress installations, etc.

    Much of this I used to do on my iPod touch 2G (including writing most of a 3500 word blogpost during a two-hour bus ride from Ottawa to Montreal). But they're easier to do on the iPad. Some apps are iPad-specific at this point (especially Apple's iWork suite).

    Why do I tell you to wait? Several reasons. One is that there's no early adopter advantage in your case. Another is that we're getting close to the announcement for the second iPad model. A third is that Android tablets will eventually come with Honeycomb (3.0) installed, the OS Google says is optimized for tablets. A fourth is that you can budget your purchase more appropriately if you wait. A fifth is that your workflow will slowly adapt to needing a tablet, as you spend time with tablet users. A sixth is that business models for book and magazine "content" on tablets and eReaders isn't completely crystallized, yet.

    As for GTD, if I were you, I'd get the audiobook version. I listened to it at doublespeed (as i do with many podcasts) and, though it did give me a few opportunities for new ideas, most of the book's ideas are so well-known at this point that investing the time reading those chapters might not be time so well-spent. Other GTD books, more tailored to your specific needs, could be used as reference material later on. But you could wait for your tablet or eReader for that. ;-)

  3. Do you have a net pad?
    I have an iPad. I like very much.

    Are you planing to get one?
    I got mine as a present. But I was planning to buy one later on.

    Do you read books and mags?
    Yes I read books, but haven't read magazines. The iBook app is great, but since I am in the United Arab Emirates I don't have access to purchasing books or even the iKindle app.

    How is the touch screen typing?
    Not bad at all. But I don't think I can use for anything more than text and emails without getting some word apps from the App store.

  4. I don't own any of these techno wonders, but have been thinking about getting one. I spoke to numerous friends and family members who have one of these devices or are also thinking of buying one. It appears the iPad is the most chosen and diverse.
    Thank you for your info on the subject. It was very helpful.

  5. 1. I have a 32Gbytes 3G Ipad that is actually from where I'm posting this comment. I truly love it.
    3. I do read books and articles on it, as well as see movies both in HD as in regular definition, listen to my favorite music, answer my personal email and so...
    4. I also use my Ipad as my notebook to take notes of the meetings I attend, answer mypersonal email, etc..
    I think you need to truly identify what you wanna do with the new toy... If you just want it for book reading... The Nook is your option. If you wanna use it for other activities, then either the Android, the Ipad or the new RIM device should be your choice.

  6. The Nook Color is not really an e-reader, and the Kindle is not a net-pad. They are different classes of products. The paper-like "e-ink" display is what makes an ebook reader an ebook reader. They are designed solely for one purpose: reading text, and there are no color LCD screens that come close in that regard. E-ink readers can access the web but web browsing on them is terrible and not the point of the device.

    So the Nook Color is not even a Kindle competitor. In fact I'd wager that barnes and noble will probably release a new generation of the e-ink Nook soon.

  7. Here is an NPR report with a Youtube embedded that provides instructions for turning ones Nook into a full blown Android Tablet.

    NPR Report