Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kindle Alternatives – B&N on Blackberry

I’m not a fan of Blackberry devices. Actually that’s not true, I really dislike them. They’re not intuitive, and I’ve never liked the form factors. Perhaps that changes as they move towards things like the Storm, but for now I’m avoiding them.

However they are popular, and my wife loves hers. So when I saw Barnes and Noble had a e-reader application for the Blackberry, I decided to try it. While we were having lunch today, I asked her to download it and see what it looked like. She did, and we connected to my account at Barnes & Noble.

Once there, the free books from B&N showed up, along with samples that I’d sent to my iTouch and samples I’d ordered from the PC application on my laptop.

A few comments. The Blackberry application seems much less refined than the iPhone/PC versions. It wasn’t as smooth to read, and the paging down sometimes paused the device.  I wasn’t happy with the default font, but when we picked “font settings” from the menu, the screen went blank and the application seemed to go out to lunch. The screen was also small, and not really as easy to read to me.

In this case, the device got in the way.

My wife didn’t like it either, but she wasn’t thrilled with the iTouch or even the Kindle. She liked to pick up a book and just get back to her spot, but I think that’s somewhat because she doesn’t read much and the change was somewhat drastic for her. She used my Kindle a lot last year, but was annoyed when I read a book in between her sessions and she had to find her book again. I agree with that, and it seems these are personal devices.

The Blackberry application, like the others, doesn’t sync up your location among devices. In once sense that’s good since if my wife and I “shared” a book, we wouldn’t want things going back and forth. However if it were just me, and I moved around on devices for some reason, I find that slightly annoying.

I rate this as a poor implementation, but to be fair, the small screen was a bigger deal to me. She has a curve, so I’d like to see this on a Storm.

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