Monday, 28 December 2009

28. E-Readers from Barnes and Noble - The Nook

Barnes and Noble have launched their own e-Reader, and sold out their pre-launch versions such that now the next delivery will not be until February. (Check their website for details Barnes and Noble)

However, before you buy, you may want to compare to the Kinder. A comparison on specifications can be found in the Gizmodo website. In brief, it uses the Android operating system, and seems to avoid text-to-speech, probably to avoid the problems that Amazon had had over access issues. However, a hacker has found there may be speech-to-text. So there may be other things still to come.

Unfortunately, I think this case with a blind student in the US will limit the take-up of e-readers in the near future as manufacturers will be reluctant to include text-to-speech until the issues are resolved. (If my interpretation of the legal issue is correct, the problem is put across in the media as the device is not accessible to the blind, a legitimate concern. However, if you read the background, it appears that the problem is around concern that the course notes are not available at the beginning of the course in a form that is accessible to Kinder in a manner that can be easily accessed by the blind. But this failure of the university to offer e-notes to the student(s) has been around for a long time. So the reality is that the blind student is still as badly off now as they were before Kinder, while the dyslexic individual would be better off but is denied its use. Instead of addressing the old issue of ensuring course material is available at the right time, his university has been accused of discriminating. So Kinder appear to have withdrawn the text-to-speech, and so no dyslexic individual can benefit. Of course, there is also the argument with the Writer Guild of America. But that is separate.

Gizmodo review of the Nook

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