MACOLDIE just loves Engaget's podcasts and listens regularly. The latest edition comes highly recommended for anyone interested in eBook readers and the new large-format Kindle DX. The detailed discussion highlights the cost of the DX and explores potential problems in the subscription model for newspapers.
In the USA, where newspaper subscription has always been a bigger segment of the market than in other parts of the world, people may be willing to shell out several hundred dollars a year to have their favourite broadsheet ported to the Kindle DX every morning. But it becomes a very expensive proposition at the moment and probably wouldn't work as well in, say, the UK where the subscription base is minimal and the majority of people buy their papers from a nearby shop or–another shrinking market–regular delivery from the same local store.
The guys at Engaget even question the future of e-ink technology because of its many shortcomings in refresh rate. We know from using the Sony ebook reader that the refresh rate is just about adequate for reading a book–the page change takes about the same time as turning over the page of a normal volume–but navigating the menus is excruciatingly slow. Most times it feels like manipulating a computer of 20 years ago.
While e-ink displays have one overwhelming advantage with their long battery life, we suspect most people would settle for a back-lit display, similar to that on the iPhone, for general book reading if they could be sure of a reasonable time between charges. As usual, the need is well ahead of the big bottleneck in all portable computer devices: battery life. Anyway, listen for yourself.
Another angle on the ebook discussion we would recommend this article on TechChrunch: How Big Can the Kindle Get?