Gizmodo has attempted to fire the starting gun on the digital morning paper with this review of Sony’s new Reader, announced at CES. As well as saying how great the device is, Gizmodo says this:
But hereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the hottest part: RSS support with images. The digital morning paper is finally about to happen.
While I think the Sony Reader is nice and a decent gadget, I think this misses the point on digitising the “morning paper.” These devices are going to cost several hundred dollars; their screens are just not set up to show more than one paper at a time; and, from what I can see, there’s no colour.
I do believe, as I’ve said before, that there will be a digital morning paper one day. But before it happens, I think the platform has to be at least as good as paper (and, while I disagree with a lot of what Simon Jenkins said in his Guardian column this morning, I think he’s done an interesting job of saying why a non-techie person might still want a newspaper for the foreseeable future). And it has to be cheap – ideally so cheap that newspapers could give away a device for free in return for an annual subscription to their product. Basically, the barriers to consumer entry have to be virtually zero. I still think e-paper is going to be the way to go.