Monday, April 20, 2009

Alternatives to the Amazon Kindle

On Friday, Mike Q and I presented on mobile classroom technology at the 12th Annual Massachusetts Community College Conference on Teaching, Learning and Student Development. Our Presentation was titled The Future of Mobile Teaching & Learning and we discussed how the Apple iPhone and the Amazon Kindle , along with the iPhone software development Kit (SDK), will transform mobile teaching and learning. The session detailed what is different about these devices and showed how they are significant using hands-on demonstrations and examples.

Towards the end of the presentation, we were asked about alternatives to the Kindle and I thought it would be interesting to list three of the more popular ones here:

Astak 6" EZ Reader
Like the Kindle, The Astak 6" EZ Reader has a Vizplex screen that is very high resolution, so that it reads well in low light environments. It includes an SD card slot, USB port and mp3 player. Future models (should be released soon - maybe this month) will include the EZ Reader Plus (adding Wi-Fi) and the EZ Reader Pro (adding Wi-Fi, Touchscreen and note-taking along with other innovations. In August, the company hopes to release the EZ Reader BigBook, with a 9.7 inch FLEXI screen and a host of new features. The company says this device will "READ TRUE" on an 8 x 10 item an that would be very nice when it comes to textbooks.
Approx Price: $329

iRex Digital Reader 1000S
The iRex Digital Reader 1000S has a large 10.2" 1024 x 1280 16-level grey scale Wacom® penabled® touch touch screen (requires use of Wacom stylus) which is very nice, allowing you to make handwritten notes in your digital documents, just as you would with a conventional pen. The iRex also includes an SD card slot and USB connector. The DR 1000 SW with stylus is planned and will include WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity.
Approx Price: $749

The SONY PRS-700 has a 6-inch display that also touchscreen technology. It comes with a stylus but it is not required - for example - you can turn pages by sliding your finger across screen. The SONY also has a virtual keyboard that can be used for annotation and searching. The SONY also includes a built-in LED reading light for low-light situations.
Approx Price: $400

If you are in the market for an e-book reader, you should take a look at these alternative devices along with the Kindle.

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