This is going to be the week of the iSlate or whatever Apple announces on Wednesday so here are my hopes for the future of eReaders, Tablets and related Gizmos. I had a tablet pc for many years and use the Kindle 1.0 and Kindle for the iPhone app. So I think I can speak from some sense of familiarity with these devices and how they work or don’t work today.
Here are my current frustrations with eReaders and ‘Pods in general:
1) I can’t easily cite, share, link or even share comments about what I’m reading or viewing. If all my music, books and media will be in the cloud and I can make bookmarks, annotations and highlights; shouldn’t I be able to share those things with my friends and social contacts?
2) Form factor and battery life. I live on my iPhone which means by mid day I’m always looking for a USB port or a power plug when I’m on the road. I hate having to always plug the thing in. Kindle is really great in that it can go for a long long time between recharges, but the compromise in terms of UI and page responsiveness is tough. Plus the fact that the Kindle only does one thing, read books means it gets left behind when I travel most times because I don’t want to put another gadget in my carry on. In the end I’ve gotten the Kindle for iPhone app and purchased a case with a built in battery.
3) The stylus as a disaster. Trying to decipher hand writing is the most useless thing anyone ever came up with. In fact why do we even have to write by hand anymore. Isn’t it better if we all use a keyboard. A responsive keyboard, or virtual keyboard that gives me predictive text, is a lot better than trying to decipher my chicken scratch. I really tried to make the tablet note taking thing work, but to be honest I gave up eventually and went back to the keyboard. The only thing I liked in my old tablet was the capability to lay the screen flat so that the laptop screen wasn’t hiding me from the other folks around the table like a dungeon master behind a screen.