With the freshly manufactured Kobo Aura costing up to $149.99 and the HD version up to $169.99, is it possible that readers would someday soon bypass the ereader format and read straight from their smartphones? It’s a concept that all ereader producers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Samsung, and Kobo, have to consider.
More people than ever are surfing the web with the smartphone, according to a research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Some 60% of U.S. adults use a smartphone to access the Internet, double that since 2009, and about 20% claim their phones to be their primary source for the Web. And if you’re already surfing the web on your phone, while also tweeting, Facebooking, instagramming, why waste the time going back and forth between your devices? Why carry an ereader no matter how light when you already have a viable, dynamic ereader in your pocket, especially when you could download the Kindle app and the Nook app to access your ebooks?
In addition to losing precious seconds in a social media climate of instantaneous reaction swapping devices, there’s also the cost issue. Ereaders can range from around $69.99 for the basic models to the $200 range for HD models with WIFI and to at least $500 for an iPad. They certainly do not have to be expensive. But smartphone ownership continues to rise among U.S. adults, from 35% in 2011 to 56% in 2013. Compare this with 18% in 2011 and 33% in 2012 for ereaders. And if readers are spending $700 in retail on a phone, or less with a two-year service contract and upgrade eligibility, how many people are also willing to shell out the additional cash to buy an ereader?
Despite Amazon denying that it will release a smartphone this year–and certainly not a free one–it seems only a matter of time that the ebook giant (tyrant?) will enter the smartphone market and try to connect even more directly with its consumers.