13 May 2010


I see in a story in yesterday's Financial Times that eReaders may be about to take off, as a mass market product, in a big way.

The FT quotes John Rose, the global leader of the Boston Consulting Group's "media practice." Says Rose, a recent survey "suggests that e-readers and tablets are not a niche product for early adopters but could become the MP3 ... players of this decade. Grandmothers will soon be carrying them around."

There's a hitch, though. Mass adoption will depend on price, and Rose expects price to break downward. He expects the Kindle or Sony Reader (or presumably the Nook, though the story doesn't mention that one specifically) to be selling for $100 to $150 in order to bring about that grandmotherly interest.

A nook now costs $259. A kindle? Also $259. A Sony Reader? The pocket edition sells for $199. The touch edition for $299. The Daily edition $349.

I'm wavering between going for the lowest price Sony Reader on the one hand or waiting for the prices of the whole category to drop on the other. I'm not tempted by the iPad. It is more than I need. This is the problem with the iPad generally, as I see it. There are general-interest computers, such as the one I'm using now. And there are special interest digital devices, like my iPod or Blackberry. Which one is an iPad? It seems to fall in between the two stoools. I'll get special task devices as they seem necessary or convenient, and I'll keep my desktop for everything that is worth sitting down as a desk for.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.