There are the obvious competitors and the not so well known ones. Here’s a list of the main eReaders that are competing against the kindle -
Hanlin eReader V3 vs Kindle.
- Based on eInk Vizplex technology. Same as the Kindle.
- 800 by 600, 6″ screen. Same as the Kindle.
- Document Formats Supported: pdf, doc, epub, lit, prc, mobi, wolf, djvu, html, txt, chm, fb2, and ppt.
- Image Formats supported: png, tif, gif, bmp, jpg.
- Music Formats: mp3.
- Languages Supported: English, Chinese, Russian, Ukraine, Turkish, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Bulgarian, Estonian, Polish.
- Price: $299. Sold by Jinke.
- Internal OS: Linux. Allegations going on that they’re using a modified Linux GPL kernel without sharing the source code.
- Also sold as IBook V3, BeBook, WalkBook, and Papyre 6.1.
- The picture is courtesy jmerelo on flickr.
- Overall Thoughts – Great document and language support. A worthy competitor.
Sony Reader PRS-700 Vs Kindle
- Based on eInk technology that is a version ahead of the one the Kindle uses, and has touch screen. Touch Screen allows for notes and it has a virtual keyboard.
- Price: $399. Sold at SonyStyle.
- 6″ screen. 800 by 600. Edit: Same as the Kindle, except touch screen.
- Lots of complaints on glare and poor visibility due to the new screen. Kindle doesn’t have that issue.
- LED sidelight. Kindle has no sidelight.
- Internal OS: MontaVista Linux Professional Edition. Storage capacity: 512 MB.
- DRM Free Formats Supported: BBeB Book (LRF), PDF, TXT, RTF, ePub.
- DRM Formats Supported: BBeB Book (LRX); Secure PDF and ePub.
- Music Formats Supported: mp3, aac.
- Image Formats Supported: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.
- In December 2008 Sony revealed that 300,000 Sony Readers had been sold globally since device launch in Oct 2006.
- Overall Thoughts: Currently the strongest competitor to the Kindle. The touchscreen is a good step up. Sony has to figure out a way to enable wireless downloads to truly compete.
iRex Digital Reader Vs Kindle
- Great Display: 10.2″, 1024 x 1280 pixels, 16-level grey scale. The kindle has just 4 level gray scale.
- Price: $749 for the 1000S Model. (it’s 499 euros – so it really should be $666). Available at iRexShop.
- There is a basic 1000 model with no touchscreen, and there are two advanced models with cool features – Wacom® Penabled touch screen (1000S) and touch screen+wireless connectivity (1000SW).
- Storage Capacity: 1GB Removable SD card.
- Supported Documents: PDF, TXT, HTML.
- Suported DRM formats: Mobipocket PRC.
- Supported image formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and BMP.
- Image is from their official site –
- Overall Thoughts: Its a great device – however, the price point aims it at a completely different demographic than the kindle, sony reader, etc. I think it’s going to end up being iRex Digital Reader Vs Plastic Logic for the higher end of the market.
PlasticLogic Reader Vs Kindle
- Will be available in Q2 of 2009 (first half of 2009) – Including it here since it has a gorgeous screen.
- PlasticLogic is a startup out of Cambridge (yeah, that Cambridge).
- The screen is the size of 8.5 x 11-inch paper, while being only 7 mm thick – thinner than a pad of paper. Its also flexible (or at least some of the demos show it as flexible – the final reader might not be).
- Supported Documents: PlasticLogic supports Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, and Adobe PDFs.
- It has a touchscreen and uses gesture recognition for things like turning pages.
- Targeted at Business Users.
- Also working on a Colored Version that should be available in 3-5 years.
- Picture snippet courtesy Brian Solis via flickr. It just amazes me that they don’t have a single straight on picture of the reader at their site. Its like looking at myspace profiles with ‘in the mirror, strange angle photos’.
- Overall Thoughts: This is going to be a dangerous competitor. Their screen technology is way ahead of eInk (or it seems that way). Hopefully they’ll target business competitors exclusively (at a much higher price point) and the kindle will have nothing to fear.
CyBook Gen3 Vs Kindle
- CyBook3 from Bookeen has the same 6″, 800 by 600 eInk screen as the kindle.
- Supported Documents: HTML, Txt, PRC, PalmDoc, PDF, Secured Mobipocket. It does not reflow pdfs or allow for zooming into pictures so a lot of PDFs won’t be readable.
- Supported images: JPEG, GIF, PNG .
- Supported Music: mp3.
- Capacity: 512 MB internal storage.
- Price: $350, currently sold out.
- The picture is courtesy neuron1210 from flickr.
Overall Thoughts – For some reason I cannot fathom this is my favorite out of the Kindle competitors. I really like the design, and the pictures I found on flickr all show a good screen that looks good in the device.
Some of the readers I’ve excluded include the Fujitsu Flepia (because a single reader costs the equivalent of $1,726), the Phillips Readius (its more of a portable ereader given its roll-up 5″ screen), and the iRex iLiad (because its successor, the iRex Digital Reader, has been covered).
My overall conclusion is that the Kindle beats all its competitors when it comes to core functionality as an ebook reader, especially given the wireless delivery and ease of use. However, advancing the technology and improving the looks are two areas where the kindle needs to play catch up – it’ll be interesting to see whether there will be any big technology changes in the Kindle 2. If not, by the end of 2009, the kindle might lose its status as the best ebook reader on the market.