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Sony touchscreen e-readers: Is this a must-have feature?

September 1, 2010

Sony has transitioned its entire line of e-readers to touchscreens.  An article in today’s New York Times suggests that the touchscreen is the natural course for things, such as e-readers, to follow. However, I question the validity of this statement the article, “To Win Over Users, Gadgets Have to be Touchable”:

For readers used to turning paper pages, e-books invite touch perhaps more than anything else. Many a Kindle screen has been sullied by errant fingers before their frustrated owners realized that readers turn the pages of an e-book using buttons on the side of the device.

Really?  “Many” Kindle “owners” have bought their Kindles online, only to discover that they are not touchscreens?  This is a classic example of an author creating an unattributable scenario in order for a weak story to hold together.

While the article also states that Amazon is expected to release a touchscreen Kindle, Mr. Bezos has said that this would only happen–if at all–once the technology allows for glare-less touchscreens.  Whether the Sony e-readers have accomplished this will have to be seen.

As for me, I really do not feel limited by my Kindle’s lack of a touchscreen.  In fact, since I read my ultra-light Kindle with one hand, having a touchscreen, as opposed to buttons placed in-line with my holding position (which the Sony appears to lack), would be a negative.

Sony touchscreen e-reader

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One Comment leave one →
  1. maclifer permalink
    September 2, 2010 12:44 pm

    I’ve never wanted a touchscreen e-reader… I’d hate to have fingerprints on the screen and with a touchscreen you *must* use two hands for the device. Have a physical keyboard is very helpful and allows very fast note taking. I’ve discovered the webkit browser with the Kindle 3 allows Facebook and Twitter comments to be quickly entered as well.

    Touchscreen? Blech.

    I should add, I am a heavy touchscreen user with other devices but touch “keyboards” really aren’t that convenient and definitely mar the screen. With an e-reader, I find myself very heavily focused on the screen – much more so than when using other touch devices – and fingerprints / smudges would be very apparent.

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