The Shape of the Future
The devices we see on the market now are the first real competition that the printed page has seen since it was introduced, and they’re likely to cause the print industry the same problems that the recording industry has been experiencing for the last decade. How the industry responds to these challenges and opportunities will have a significant impact on the shape of eBook readers and the relevance of the industry in the next decade. eInk displays for the present and OLED for the future give us a taste of what an electronic book can look like—passive and reflective for text, and sharp for image. OLED displays can be made transparently and simply layered on top of eInk for showing video. Devices with these technologies can be made very small and are likely to become one of the primary form factors for access to information. Combine those with the evolution of wireless networking technologies, and we’re likely to see pocket devices with access to all audio, video, and text resources that their respective publishers choose to make available within the next decade.