Borders has slashed the prices of E-Readers Kobo and Aluratek by $20, illustrating just how meh they've become in the tech world. The price drop is nothing new—both the Kindle and Nook, Amazon and Barnes & Noble's market leaders, have seen their prices slashed recently, and they're thought to be the most exciting brands in the sector. But who does the news bode worst for?
Well, on one front, it shows that Borders is in a bit of trouble (not unlike it's main competitor, which is closing stores). It's throwing everything it's got at the e-Reader market—with iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry apps for the Kobo, as well as a bunch of freebies for consumers willing to back the Borders e-burro. And it's not just up against B&N and Amazon, which has now partnered with Staples to begin selling the Kindle in stores this fall. Both Apple and Google are also ramping up their assault on the printed word, with Apple's iBook store already on the market, and Google Editions on its way.
But most of all, this news proves that, as my colleague Kit Eaton pointed out a few months back, this is about as good as it gets for the e-Reader. It's not quite dead, but it's looking a bit peaky, like. The reason is, of course, the tablet. We all know about the iPad, and at last some competitors seem to be showing their faces. And this, of course, renders the e-Reader if not quite chocolate teapot territory, then one of those crappy ones made out of metal that burn your fingers when you pick it up by the handle.