It’s a fact of life that any piece of technology you buy will soon be obsolete – be it a mobile phone, computer or just the humble TV in the corner of your room, while you’re unboxing it some guy in marketing is putting the finishing touches to an ad campaign heralding the arrival of its replacement.
And I hate to break it to you but the, greyscale, single-screen eBook reader you’ve been eyeing up in your local department store isn’t going to be any different.
If 2009 was the year eBooks finally ‘arrived’, 2010 will be the year they establish themselves in the popular psyche. Getting your reader out on the train or bus will soon stop winning you envious glances from fellow travelers, before the newness has worn off for you everyone will be poring over theirs. Probably at the same time as they’re drowning out the sounds of fellow commuters with their iPod.
So what’s going to happen to render your shiny new reader obsolete?
2010 is set to see the arrival of colour screens, dual-screen devices and internet connected readers – something not yet widely available here. Plus there’s the ever persistent rumour of a tablet-style device from Apple which is guaranteed to shake up the market.
Oh, and readers are going to cost much less next year, it won’t be long before the first major supermarket starts retailing a sub £100 device, admittedly by the middle of next year it won’t look too exciting compared to the feature rich readers on the market but chances are it’ll do everything your current reader does, just for less.
So does this mean you should hold off from buying a reader this side of New Year? I’d say not.
If you’re just looking to read standard books on the move you’re unlikely to need any of the fancier features coming out next year and, though cheaper devices are sure to be available before long, the build quality of budget devices is unlikely to be too impressive – just see how quickly shiny metal cases are replaced by thin, cheap plastic as manufacturers fight to bring costs down.
Buying a well made Sony or COOL-ER reader today will get you a device certain to see you through the next few Christmases and it’ll last long enough for you to pass on to someone else should you decide to ‘upgrade’ to some battery-munching 3G device next summer.