Kevin Turner, the Microsoft COO, mentioned eReader while he was going over a list of potential products that would benefit from the fact that Windows 8 will offer users a consistent experience from device to device regardless of whether those use Intel’s x86 or ARM architectures.
Microsoft’s major goal is to expand coverage of the computing market to the point where users don’t need to worry about ever seeing anything else which includes desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, televisions, and now apparently eReaders.
The Kindle makes use of E Ink screen technology and highly efficient power consumption to accomplish the task of displaying text and next to nothing else. These types of devices would not benefit overly much from the versatility offered by Windows 8. They literally can’t handle most of the tasks that the operating system is best at. No visual effects, animations, or colorful displays are possible on the efficient but bland E Ink screens.
What this would allow for would be the creation of a portable reading device that allows its owner to access their data all at once regardless of its source. Most of the popular eReaders on the market today, including the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo options, limit their user to accessing reading material purchased from the company marketing the hardware. Since each of these major providers already has a Windows program available for their customers, it would be a simple matter to construct something that would have all the advantages of something like a Kindle without the platform lock-in.
Windows 8 is great at power management and Microsoft is careful by providing only pre-installed and locked down copies. This will allow the company the option of customizing a build specifically for the eReader market that offers only the features absolutely essential to properly operating such a device.
To do so would be to get a step ahead of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and something to look forward to.