The Kindle is great but stale... and where's the Google e-reader?

September 07, 2016 0 Comments twitter, google, android, kindle, ereader

I don't think Amazon knows how to innovate with the Kindle. As an original Paperwhite user, I've seen little reason to upgrade. Yes, the Voyage and the Oasis are seriously nice bits of kit, but have you seen the prices? With a Paperwhite coming in at around £100, the £170 Voyage and particularly the eye watering £270 Oasis just don't offer enough to justify the extra spend.

It's not that Amazon have run out of things they could do with the Kindle. Indeed, the most oft requested feature I see amongst friends, family and followers is water resistance, as included on the new Kobo Aura One. When on holiday by the pool (or in it) or even languishing in the bath at home, waterproofing would be a fantastic addition. Yet still the feature eludes Kindle users. What else could Amazon add? Colour has been talked about for a while, but as far as I know, there's still not really a viable colour e-ink solution. Delivering a colour display would hugely enhance comic and magazine experiences on the Kindle (as well as improving illustrations). It would also play into enhancing the Kindle's 'experimental browser'. How long is it going to be experimental? It works fairly well (although there's considerable room for improvement). I'd also like to see the browser supported using the wireless connection on 3G Kindles, it would certainly help the upsell to the more expensive model.

The real draw for Kindles of course is the ecosystem. While Kobo make some really great devices, there just isn't the breadth of titles that Amazon have and of course, once you're locked in to Amazon, as with any of these ecosystems, you're not inclined to switch. I have noticed of late that the prices of Kindle e-books are rising to match and often exceed the paper alternatives, so the motivation for change is certainly there.

What really puzzles me is that to date, Google haven't released an e-reader. Through Google Play Books they have a ready and waiting ecosystem and in Android, of course, they have a suitable platform. There's no reason they can't start simple, releasing a Paperwhite type device purely for reading (perhaps at a knock-down price) and adding music - and inevitably apps - further down the line. Hey, if Amazon want to fork Android and make their own tablets, why shouldn't Google try and have a piece of Amazon's pie?

Sadly, I just don't see any sign of it happening, even though to me it seems to make perfect sense.

Would you buy a Google branded e-reader?