25 October 2011

Color Nook, Dell Streak, Kindle Fire, Oh My - Tech Tuesday

First Stop - Nook Color

Books are like food for me, necessary to my existence. I can't imagine a day when I am not surrounded by their lovely spines. But then I read Dick Eastman's Plus Edition article (If you are not a member, you must sign up for this valuable newsletter.) about the Nook Color and was hooked. My family obliged and gifted me with one for Mother's Day. I was hoping to use it not only as an e-reader, but also as a small tablet. I like that the Nook Color can be used to surf the web, check email and keep up with social media, but I quickly became frustrated with a few things.
  • limited number of apps (back in May there were just over a hundred)
  • lack of apps I really wanted; Hootsuite, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, GedStarPro, Genealogy Gems and others (They did just add Dropbox on 10/20/2011)
  • platform did not support zinio.com, which offers easy to navigate digital versions of Your Family Tree, Who Do You Think You Are? and Irish Roots.
  • inadequate search interface with the Barnes & Noble Nook store
It turns out that while I enjoyed reading books on the Nook, I wanted more than it was capable of providing. I didn't really want an e-reader, I wanted a tablet. My daughter was more than happy to take the Nook Color off my hands. As a college student, she is able to purchase many of her textbooks digitally and the Nook would allow her to carry her books independently of her laptop.

Second Stop - Dell Streak
In July, Staples had a great deal and I bought the Dell Streak 7 for $199. This is a seven inch tablet, about the same size, but slightly heavier than the Nook Color. It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. Because it is Android based, it can access the Android Market and a seemingly endless number of apps. Here are some of the ways I use the tablet.

1. Write blog posts.
2. Read e-books from both the Kindle and Nook stores.
3. Listening to Genealogy Gems podcasts.
4. Communicate via Skype
5. View documents from Dropbox via Adobe Reader
6. Access my passwords and user names through Roboform
7. Keep up with social media via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Hootsuite. 
8. Save items in Evernote. 
9. Read genealogy magazines via zinio.
10. Read blogs in Google Reader.

A tablet has definitely been a better fit for me. There are lots of inexpensive ones out there, including the Dell Streak 7 Wi-Fi Tablet at Amazon. Except for its battery life, I thought I would be satisfied with the Streak indefinitely as I am not one to go out right away and buy the newest thing. Well, I was satisfied until I heard about the new Kindle Fire.

Third Stop - Kindle Fire

Yup, I pre-ordered one. I had to. There's a line. It's first come, first served. And I want to get it first. The Kindle Fire will be released on November 15th. Will it outshine the Nook Color? I'll let you know. 

Happy Tech Tuesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!


More reading about e-readers and tablets:

Android Wars by The Ginger Jewish Genealogist 



  1. I have been struggling with this same issue. I want something that will do it all. Which one do I drop hints for at the holidays? I want something that I can load the free genealogy books from Google onto as well as get on the internet for email. I am unhappy to learn that Nook doesn't support Google Reader. I originally thought it would be the Nook, but now you have made me pause. The comments in Dick Eastman's article on the Kindle caused me to rethink that choice. Thanks for the link to Irish Roots - I had never seen it before. Now there is another item for my Christmas list. I will anxiously await your opinion on the Kindle Fire.

  2. Hi Margel,

    Barnes and Noble offers an app called Pulse for reading your Google Reader feed. It was just too busy and confusing for me. I like things very simple. In May 2011 Dick Eastman demonstrated a way to turn a Nook into a full android tablet that would then be able to use regular (not Nook formatted) apps, but again, it was a bit too complicated for me and I didn't want to void the warranty.

    Recently Dick shared a new way to easily (even to me) turn a Nook into an android here: http://eogn.com/wp/?p=17527 and you can buy the needed cards here: http://www.n2acards.com/ It really is super easy now, but I bet I won't get that tablet back from my dear daughter so that I can try it.

    Plus, you might want to wait a bit longer to make any decisions. There is a rumor of a new Nook Color coming on November 7th. You can read about it here: http://techland.time.com/2011/10/28/new-nook-color-november-7-rumor-says/

    What size tablet are you thinking of getting, e-reader sized or IPad sized?


  3. I too have a Dell Streak and looking at the Kindle Fire due to battery issues. I would like to hear your experience since getting the KF.

  4. Since I have gotten the Fire, I have used it exclusively, although I am not ready to give up on the Streak yet. I have a conference to attend in January and plan to bring both, plus my Lenovo netbook. After that I should know for sure whether I can make do with the limitations of the Fire.


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