Down the rabbit hole: from click, touch to drag


Recently the Wired Magazine ran a comparison on two portable e-book readers – the new Kindle from Amazon, and the Sony Touch. They came down slightly in favour of the Kindle – with its superior display and Whispernet Wireless connectivity.

But what struck me was that the smartphone users I showed these devices to, immediately touched the screen to load the book  – functionality which you get on the Sony but not the Kindle which uses a joystick (see our ‘home’ videos that demonstrate the difference : Sony TouchAmazon Kindle ).

We know that the sales of smart phones have rocketed – and as they become more and more widespread amongst students in the next few years, the disconnect between our traditional web and commerical mobile patforms will be become more and more obvious – one of the biggest is that of interaction : touching, dragging, moving the ‘stuff ‘ on the screen that you are looking at.

The coming of the iPad only accelerates this drive, to react with, to converse with, annotate, share a text : so that in an academic context learning is no longer a solitary experience.  (See how the page-turn works on an iPad here, using their iBooks app.)

Google (and other’s) answer to the iPad are on their way – so as the market for mobile reading expands this may prove interesting for established aggregators in the e-book field such asMyiLibrary, who are already moving away from their existing pdf reader because this form of delivery does not work well with mobile devices.

The race down the rabbit-hole is on ; not to replace the printed book but to make reading/teaching/discovering academic texts more tactile, and more interactive.

As Alice says, ‘what is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations’ ?