Dan Ackerman at CNET has written an article, “Kindle, schmindle…I’ve got your $350 e-book reader right here” where he discusses alternatives to the Amazon’s Kindle 2, namely netbooks, and specifically the 10-inch Acer Aspire One.
He points out the display is not the best, since laptop/notebook displays are brighter than the Kindle’s, which was designed to mimic printed books, and it is heavier and somewhat awkward when used on it’s side, but there are ways you can still get decent e-book functionality.
One is using the EeeRotate software, which is a Windows application that allows you to rotate the display and touchpad so that you can read/view your display with your netbook on its side. You might want to be careful and keep an eye on where your ultraportable has its fan/ventilation located, and try and keep that on top – if you rotate it in such a way as to have the output at the bottom, it’s liable to feed warm air back into the system and cause the fan(s) to spin up more than is needed.
He also mentions some software packages for ebooks, such as Microsoft Reader, and the Digital Editions reader from Adobe.
Excerpt from the article:
With all the buzz about Amazon’s new Kindle 2, you’d think this revamped e-book reader was the most advanced piece of technology this side of designer babies. After all, for $359, you get a color screen, Wi-Fi and Web browsing, video playback, 60GB of storage, and a reasonably usable keyboard.
Oh wait, you don’t get any of that stuff. No, that’s what $350 can get you if invested in even a low-end Netbook, such as the new 10-inch Acer Aspire One. Not only is there a wide range of PC software available for buying and displaying e-books (and tons of free content as well), when you’re done with all that highbrow readin’, pop open a Web browser and rot your brain with some Hulu videos.
Unlike the closed-loop system on the Kindle (it generally only works with e-books from Amazon, and Amazon e-books only work on the Kindle and the related iPhone app — although there are some Kindle conversion tools out there, and Amazon will convert your personal docs for Kindle use at 10-cents a pop), at least you have a variety of different software and content provider options with my proposed $350 Kindle alternative.