Tech Insider: e-Reader or Tablet? Which One's For You? - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

Tablet computers, like the iPad, and e-Readers, like the Kindle, have similar designs but function quite differently.  While tablets recreate the PC experience in a sleek, ultra-portable, touchscreen format, e-Readers are essentially single purposed–allowing users to easily read and store virtually thousands of books, periodicals, and other documents.

Both products can be used for leisure or work pursuits, however, consumers should ensure that the apps are compatible and that the software suits their needs. tracked down Ben Arnold, a senior research analyst at the Consumer Electronics Association, to share his knowledge about the two types of products for Tech Insider. Arnold is responsible for analyzing industry trends in the consumer technology market as well studying consumer habits and preferences, which fuel those trends. Here are four factors he said a consumer should consider before buying a tablet or e-Reader.

Content shapes the experience. For both e-Readers and tablets, content enhances the user’s enjoyment of the device.  Realizing this, most manufacturers have linked their offerings to marketplaces like iTunes and Amazon where a variety of content (applications, music/video, books, and periodicals) can be purchased.  For the most part, these online stores are device specific–that is, purchases from one manufacturer’s marketplace may not work on another’s device.

Form affects function. Both lightweight and slim, e-Readers and tablets can be used in a variety of environments. While this is one of the pillars of their value, it does make for an altogether new user experience.  Consumers in the market for either product should test them first to ensure that elements such as text size, on-screen typing, and touch screen navigation will be comfortable features for them.

Increased affordability. According to CEA‘s CE Sales & Forecasts, average wholesale prices for e-Readers are expected to fall 19% this year, compared to 2009–likely a consequence of the tablet’s emergence. (Most tablets have applications that allow them to also function as electronic readers.) While the iPad has captured a fair share of consumers’ attention in the tablet category, other manufacturers are poised to enter the market in an effort to capitalize on this new segment’s popularity.  We are sure to see the full spectrum of pricing–from economical to ultra-premium–as more tablets emerge.

The two devices could become one. While e-Readers allow users to read and store multiple volumes of books and periodicals as a primary function, tablets do this and much more.  As more tablets permeate the market, develop new features, and become more affordable, e-Readers could follow a similar transformation.  It remains to be seen if e-Readers will add more PC-like functions or expand their reader features by adding color, audio, and video.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.