Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tablets and eBooks: The future of media?

An avalanche of Tablets launch has been witnessed in 20110 since Apple’s Steve Job unveiled the iPad April 3rd 2010. Last week he interrupted a sick leave to launch the second version of the  iPad dubbed iPad2. This is a follow-up of the to the 2011 launch. It was not an isolated incident as others soon followed.

Within the past year technology giants have been devoting time, money and efforts in activities related to the eBook and the smart device ‘tablet’. Google has its Android and Google eBookstore , Apple its iPad and now iPad2, Amazon its Kindle, RIM’s Playbook, Samsung its GALAXY Tab 10.0, Dell’s Dell Streak,  HP its WebOS and much earlier, Microsoft’s ill-fated Live Search, and yet to be released Microsoft Tablet PC. This is obviously no idle pre-occupation. However the question is; could this flurry of events targeted at the eBook and the tablet shape the future of how information is processed and disseminated globally?

The eBook is a text or image-based publication in electronic format published and readable using electronic devices (computers, tablets, smartphones)

However eBooks had been viewed with some scepticism owing to multiplicity and standards (thus perceived as obstacles to interoperability), intellectual property rights, readability and a host of other issues. But these challenges of providing the most natural reading experience had been met head on with eBook providers coming up with several innovations; The eBook Reader!

The eBook Reader is an application developed to make reading and using eBook easier as they offered portability and guarantee perpetuity of access to content 24/7 irrespective of location. A Comparison of eBook Readers gives you a glimpse of features offered by each reader.

Microsoft: You’ll recall that Microsoft had been involved in the digitization of books for its MS Lives Search which was however halted in 2008.  Amazon offers over 775, 000 eBooks, Newspapers, Magazines, primarily to service its Kindle 1 and kindle 2 users.

In December 2010, Google launched Google eBookstore, an online book store of over 3 million books (free and for sale). The eBooks come with inbuilt readers making them platform independent and can be accessed via browsers (on PC, Mobile or other smart device). The eBooks are equally Readable on Android-based smart phones/devices, iPhone, iPad, Sony and Nook.

If you are using Chrome (Google’s Web Browser) the Chrome web store[*] offers you wonderful apps that can be downloaded for use. The apps can be used to utilize the eBook Store.

These developments seem to suggest a growing relevance of non-traditional media (Print Books & Computers). Wired Magazine and the New York Times reported  on 19 July 2010 that Amazon sold more  eBooks are  than Hardcover.

Just last week the OpenLibrary launched its eBook lending service providing access (of over a million free eBooks) to account holders to borrow up to 5 eBooks at a time, for up to 2 weeks. Readers can use laptops, library computers and tablet devices including the iPad to enjoy what Huffington Post has described as a new twist on the traditional lending model.

Whether this marks a shift in information transmission on one hand and a ‘tablet revolution’ as the ultimate information transmission media on the other is left to be seen.

Related sites of sources and resources

Digital Libraries

eBook Stores
Google eBookstore Downloadable 3 million free ebooks and hundreds of thousands for purchase

Free eBooks Download your Textbooks for Free over 200 textbooks that students can download totally for free.
The Book Depository Over 11,000 eBooks available.
Internet Archive:Text Free Books from a variety of sources, most available as scanned PDFs and OCRed plain text. More that 2,000,000 books available.
Library of Congress -- Historical books, images, and music from America.
Open Library  Millions of books indexed, many are downloadable.
Project Gutenberg Thousands of out-of-copyright books available for free, with more being added every month.
University of Virginia Electronic Text Center Free online HTML collection
The Online Book Page  University of Pennsylvania

The Tablet

Dell Streak
Archos 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab
RIM Playbook
Toshiba Folio

Screen Dimension
0-7 in

5 in
10.1 in
7     7 in
7 in
10.1 in
0.5 lb
1 lb
0.8 lb
0.9 lb
Battery Life
10 hrs
10 hrs
12 hrs
7 hrs
7 hrs
Date of Launch
April 2010
Aug 2010
Nov 2010
Nov 2010
Early 2011
Nov 2010
Wi-Fi, 3G
Wi-Fi, 3G
Wi-Fi, 3G
Wi-Fi, 3G
Availability in Nigeria as at Nov 2010


Apples iTunes shop offers 1.8 million free books (commercially available titles) for the iPhone, iPod and iPad. readable via its e-book application. The iBook app as provided for in its documentation allows users to change font size,, font type, page turning

[*] Other useful apps, extensions and themes are freely  available and downloadable from the Google webstore.  
[†] iPad now available in Nigeria on the MTN Network
[‡] Samsung Galaxy Tablet is available in Nigeria on the Etisalat network with 250 MB free Internet Data, 25 minutes free calls 25 SMS every month for 12 months for a princely sum of N125, 000.00/

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