While the number of companies claiming that they manufactured e-reading devices has declined since its peak in early 2010, the number of variations on a theme has almost made up for the consolidation.
Service options, “special offer” (ad-sponsored) models, tablets and quasi-tablets all made their debut in 2011. Just this week, Amazon announced the launch of a mobile-web store optimized for the iPad.
There are lots of favorites among the current crop. Publishing Trends posted a round-up of various reviews last week, and everything from the Kindle Fire to the Nook Tablet to the Kobo and Sony Wi-Fi readers got a nod from at least one source.
The number of web sites dedicated to reviewing devices also seems to be on the rise. I find Nate Hoffelder’s The Digital Reader good for news, with the somewhat misleadingly named PDF Devices a solid source for side-by-side comparisons.
The reviews make it clear that the “best” device to choose depends on how you want to use it. Because reading is an individual experience, it seems likely that the products we rely on for digital content consumption will become increasingly targeted at narrower niches.