Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, by now you would have already heard about the latest Apple Gizmo called “iPad” which was officially launched yesterday with much media coverage and fanfare.
One could easily brush this gizmo as another hyped up geeky product but in reality this could be more than what meets the eye. iPad could well help kick start an entirely new category of devices just like what iPhone did in the smartphone industry.
Apart from being a swiss army knife that can play music, photos, videos, games, edit your spreadsheets and documents, it could also be an eBook reader. This last category is what we are primarily interested here @ CollegeToU because we are focussed on the education industry and all the things that interest the student community. But this is just the beginning with only two major companies that have created compelling products, wait until Google driven open sourced Android based gadgets show up on the market by end of 2010. Then you might see companies like Dell, HP, HTC and others creating a plethora of gadgets which apart from being eBook readers could also launch missile (just kidding).
As you might have already seen other high profile companies like Amazon also launched their own eBook reader about a year ago. Visibly this market is getting hotter by the day with more high-tech companies betting their future by creating an entirely new product line focussed on digital reading. Amazon claims that their eBook catalog now consists of about 400,000 books, journals and magazines. On similar lines Apple announced yesterday that they would open up a catalog store similar to iTunes called iBooks which will allow you to download eBooks onto the iPad and read electronically. No more hassles of buying a paper book or magazine and waste paper.
But I believe there could be more to this device than just novelty reading while lying on your couch. What if the entire K12 and Higher-Education publishers got together and created eBooks in an open format compatible with
any eBook reader such as Kindle or iPad. You could potentially save millions of trees every year from destruction and also save money because eBooks are cheaper than paper books. The publishers can offer upto 50-75% discount on books because of reduced cost of raw material, printing, logistics and distribution. Though there needs to be a sophisticated electronic book store akin to iTunes store for music which has its own cost of infrastructure and maintenance but I believe it is significantly lower than publishing a paper book.
Finally we can do something for a greener earth rather than just talk about it.
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