Home > Tech News to Use > Tech News to Use: The new age of publishing

Tech News to Use: The new age of publishing

I mentioned last week that the Tech industry is at the cusp of a revolution that will end with the elimination of the PC and server as we currently know them. This week I’m going to talk about the revolution that the print industry is going through and provide a very cool offer that just came to my attention.

The revolutionary change in print has been on-going since the inception of Craig’s List. The transfer of digital bits, as opposed to the transfer of paper media, is virtually free. Realizing this, craigslist.com founder Craig Newmark realized this and began a service the provided advertising services without charge. We know how that affected the newspaper industry.

A more recent “next step” in the print revolution was the creating of Amazon’s Kindle reader. While there were other digital readers using the same technology for some time, notably Sony’s, the Kindle was the first to provide virtually instant access to nearly any book available. Even with the Kindle’s admitted shortcomings of limited grayscale text/graphics, and proprietary DRM (digital rights management), it has proven to be very popular among the heavy reader demographic so important to publishers.

Hardware technology has not advanced to the stage that devices as powerful as a laptop and as convenient as a Kindle are going to be economically available. Tablet style PCs have been around for years; however their price, performance restrictions, and style have been limiting factors in their popularity. A tablet that costs $1,500 is simply not tenable.

Steve Jobs and Apple have been developing a tablet device for over 10 years. The primary cause for the long delay has been waiting for the technology to become affordable enough for success in the marketplace. The announcement of the Apple iPad last January was not unexpected. What was unexpected were the many limitations of the device. Applications for the device must be purchased through Apple’s iTunes store and the device will not support Flash video, a built-in camera, or built-in SD card storage. Despite the many limitations, the $500 iPad is a very compelling media consumption device.

Fortunately for consumers, just as the technology has advanced enough for Apple to produce a marketable tablet device, other manufacturers of more open products are also stepping up to the plate. 2010 is going to be the year of the tablet. HP announced the Slate that uses the Windows 7 operating system and thus should be as open as any PC with respect to the applications and media available to it. Dell has announced the Streak that is smaller and thus more portable than both the iPad and the Slate.


Apple’s iPad


HP Slate

Dell Streak with 5” screen

Advantages to this form factor are unlimited. Newspapers, magazines, and books will be available in full color and in their familiar page layout format instantaneously and with the digital economy, the price for this media will be reduced to virtually nothing. Of course video and web services will be available and easily consumed or used with this form factor.

As numerous as the current uses are for such a device as this “media consumption” tablet, the unknown factor is what amazing new uses developers, artists, and marketers will bring to our attention in the coming months. Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for these innovations!

One such innovation has already been developed; the merging of text from a book with the video on a computer screen. Vook.com, (the obvious melding of Video and Book), has been publishing these video/book amalgams beginning less than two years ago. Of course very few people want to read a book on their computer, even if some video content is included. However, with the tablet devices announced for this year, this company appears to be in the catbird seat.

This brings me to the offer I mentioned in the beginning of this article. Vook and marketing guru Seth Godin have announced a Vook version of his best selling book “Unleashing the Super Ideavirus”. For a limited time, this video/book is available for only $0.99 which will allow you to taste the very beginnings of this new media format. At http://vook.com, there should be a link to the offer on the front page. Again, you may not want to read the whole book on your computer screen, but for 99 cents, you get a taste and you can always read it on a laptop if you have one or later, when you buy a tablet device, you can read it there.

Categories: Tech News to Use
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