Friday, February 13, 2009

Kindle 2 vs iPhone Stanza

A few weeks ago I joined the growing throng of Apple fanboys and signed up for an iPhone. The main reason was that my last phone was one of the great GUI disasters of all time. It took about 8 button clicks to delete a single SMS message and similar hoops for many other common actions. So this time I was determined to get a phone that didn't make you want to throw it firmly into concrete after the first five minutes. I haven't been disappointed with my iPhone and in fact I have been surprised by it's versatility.

Since the first Kindle was released I've been watching that space with interest. I love to read and I love the idea of eReaders. But I've never seen an eReader I wanted to use. The Kindle seemed like an eReader I'd want to own. While I was researching new mobile phones I came across Stanza. Stanza is an eReader app for the iPhone and I was keen, though more than a little sceptical, to give it a go. What has surprised me is how much I've enjoyed reading books on my iPhone with Stanza. I've read a couple of novels using Stanza in the last couple of weeks and have my eye on a couple of others I'm keen to read. The only thing stopping me is the stack of paperbacks on my bedside table (I've issued instructions not to buy me any more paperbacks unless instructed otherwise). I could go on a bit here but probably best you take a look at Stanza's quick guide video if you want to know more.

Which brings me to Kindle. Last week Amazon previewed a new improved Kindle (see also CrunchGear's "Hands-on with the Kindle 2". Looks great but is it too late. The Kindle probably provides a slightly better reader than the iPhone (hard to tell from the preview) but it would need to be dramatically better to compete. One of the selling points for the iPhone is that I could consolidate my music and my phone into one device. So why would I want to carry another device to read a book when my phone does such a good job? Obviously not everyone has an iPhone, but I'm assuming that similar devices (by Apple or it's competitors) will become the norm in the future and that each will be able to provide a similar reading experience. So while Kindle seems like a great idea it now looks like a great idea that came too late.


Mark Ellul said...

Well you now can have your cake and eat it....Amazon have released a Kindle App for the iPhone...Best of Both Worlds!

geekglue said...

Thanks for the comment Mark. I saw the Kindle iPhone app and have been planning to download it. I have been put off by what I've read about the process for buying books. I really like the Stanza experience. It provides links to a number of sources for buying books and the process is handled comfortably within the app. But I will definitely try the Kindle app myself in the near future.

Gabriel said...

Stanza is great if you only want to read text from free books. But it will not allow any artwork and cannot read purchased eBooks. Most reviewers either omit these facts or simply overlook them.

Those are severe limitations if you want to read something besides Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Art of War or Robinson Crusoe. eReader is also free on the App site and has a much wider capability for accepting e-material. This includes artwork and paid eBooks.

iPod Touch Blogs

geekglue said...

Hi Gabriel,

thanks for the comment. Though it is a little mis-leading. You are correct that the Stanza has limited support for artwork. But it definitely supports purchased eBooks. I purchased and read a couple of eBooks last year from the Fictionwise Stanza bookstore. Unfortunately there has been a change that limits purchases to the USA and Canada. Perhaps what you are noting is that Stanza doesn't support eBook's with inbuilt DRM?