eReader VS Tablet PC


February 19, 2011

When Apple announced its latest 'magical' gadget, it was not only about the iPad, it was the announcement of a new era of tablet PCs. But since hearing about it, most people started comparing it to those that were yet to come – the eBook reader, or eReader.

The eReader is a device for reading electronic books in digital mode. It's easy to carry, collect (download) and has so many features that I can't find a single negative point.

Although many may say that reading on an eReader can lead to eye stress, it's not an issue, as most of them use e-ink technology, which gives a book-like experience without the emissive light of normal screens.

Actually, eReaders did really well in the last two years, and many people were seen using them, especially the ones made by Amazon.com, and different Kindle models.

Millions of people now own Kindles, according to Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. Other models also did well, such as the Nook from Barnes & Noble, the Reader from Sony and the Digital Reader from iRex Technologies.

But eReaders may come to a gloomy end this year. With the release of the iPad, and many other tablet PCs to be released soon by Apple's competitors, people hooked to Tablet PCs can get even more features, including multimedia, with a small add-on to the price of a normal eReader.

This is not to mention the difference between grayscale and full colour screens. Although some people may still prefer to use eReaders to prevent eye stress problems, there may be a few who choose to switch over to the iPad or other tablet PCs.

The argument may see an end with the introduction of a new type of liquid crystal display (LCD) screen manufactured by Pixel QI Corporation, a company involved in the research of low power computer display technology.

These screens are simply normal LCDs, but with an additional tweak: the reflective mode or 'ePaper mode' will turn the backlight off and the display will reflect ambient light. This will be easy on the eyes, and energy efficient too, and it is capable of handling functions like videos and animated stuff.

This magic transforming display may set the standard, or already has, for e-ink technology. E-ink will, of course, be used in other devices, but as people are interested in getting everything on their tablet PC, adding this technology to it will make people forget about eReaders with e-ink.

Their obvious limitation, and the most annoying one, is the slow refresh rate. These screens are also super slim, but some customers prefer the standard thickness, Pixel QI project lead Mary Lou Jepsen said, confirming that their first batch of production displays will be ready shortly.

She said that the first recipients of the panels will be specialised tablet devices with ‘multi-touch'. Even though she didn't reveal the identity of the manufacturer using the Pixel QI screens, I personally think it will be a big hit with the upcoming Android tablet from Google.

Pixel QI Corporation sees new displays with integrated touch-screens and wireless capability in their vision for the future, but for the current year, it will come to net-books, tablets and maybe phones. It's brilliant as it's the first generation of the display, so I expect it to play a major role in the Tablet PC’s future.