Quick Update: Perfect timing. The Boy Genius Report just outed some pics of the second version of the Kindle. The form factor is definitely an improvement over the original, so those wanting to buy a Kindle may want to wait for a bit. Check out the post. (pics here)
Back to my original post.
As readers of this blog know, I’ve been pretty outspoken in my feelings about the Kindle vs. iPhone debate in the past, going so far as saying: the future of reading is the iPhone, NOT the Kindle. My 2nd post on this topic written more than half a year later, gathered an evolved consensus on where that comparison between the iPhone and Kindle stood.
And, it’s official now – the iPhone (despite being a music/browser/phone/app platform) has bested the Amazon’s Kindle at it’s own game – in sheer # of readers!
Stanza, a book reading app on the iPhone, is close to ~400K downloads at a current rate of ~5K downloads per day, while the Kindle is estimated to sell ~380K devices this year. And, let’s not get started on the # of iPhones sold as of date and the passionate following they have acquired.
But, since this is an apples and oranges comparison, let’s look at the major differences between the devices:
1. Price: While the Stanza is free if you already own the iPhone, the Kindle is twice as expensive (~$399) than the iPhone (~199)
2. Book Selection: Definitely the Kindle. It’s Amazon and they have the greatest selection of books on the planet.
3. Reading experience: I love reading on my iPhone. I’ve spent hours reading my Google Reader feeds, but Kindle is rumored to be easier on the eyes, thanks to E-Ink.
4. Battery Life: My biggest pet peeve with the iPhone is the battery life (particularly since it’s an essential utility in my life). It lasts for a day. The Kindle’s battery lasts for four days.
5. Connectivity: Again, the iPhone works flawlessly with Wi-Fi (spotty 3G networks hamper the 3G experience), and I’ve just the right apps to make even my Edge experience bearable. The Kindle: EV-DO.
As you can see, if you’re a voracious reader, the Kindle is your best bet – looks notwithstanding (although I think it’s a really expensive purchase). But, as the Forbes article pointed out:
Stanza users are a different type of reader from Kindle buyers, says Feedbooks Chief Executive Hadrien Gardeur. “Kindle appeals to heavy readers who spend far more time reading than anyone who uses an iPhone,” he says. “But I don’t think the mass market is ready to spend that kind of money. So they really don’t compete with one another at this point.”
But the iPhone definitely has the potential to become a huge hit among average book readers (going by the numbers) and I presume there are many like me – “1 book a month” readers. So, if Jobs can recreate the iTunes ecosystem for books, I’ll pay for the books. And, so will millions of other satisfied iPhone users.
Are you an iPhone or a Kindle? Or do you prefer reading books the old-fashioned way?