After Monday’s announcement by Amazon about the new Kindle 2, the Internet and blogosphere has been ablaze in eBook articles. Without a doubt the technology is very easy to be impressed by, however is this the “electronic book” experience that is going to replace the printed book as we know it? As a designer I find it hard to believe, at least as it currently stands. It is also very easy to see the future of this technology and how it could quickly progress to reach mainstream adoption.
THE BUSINESS WORLD OF THE FUTURE
It is very easy to see how electronic reader technology could help businesses of all sizes reduce their internal printing. Especially when you consider that we are rapidly moving towards an always-on Internet connected environment. What business person wouldn’t want to reduce that stack of papers in their briefcase down to a small light-weight device that is easy to hold and can automatically have documents sent directly to it?
THE POTENTIAL FOR DISRUPTION
I can’t help but think about the possibility for disruption that could be caused by an eReader device like the Kindle. To me this feels like the eve of a technology shift on par with the adoption of the Internet. For example take just one small part of design, Annual Reports. If a device and file format gained mainstream acceptance in the business world it could be completely possible that printing an Annual Report would no longer be economically feasible.
We could argue that the internet and PDFs have already achieved this, at least in part, however not in a form that could actually replace the experience of the physical printed object. It is this emulation of the printed experience that I believe will cause a major change in the way we receive information. This perfect emulation of the experience isn’t there quite yet, but with the speed that technology progresses at we can’t be more than 5 years away from it. What happens then?
I would love to start a discussion on how a change such as this could affect the design industry? How will it impact design education, design agency business models, or even the demand for design?