The difference this time, developers and supporters say, is that the screens on the new hardware are made to reflect rather than transmit light, making them more like paper. The devices weigh about 13 ounces (light enough to be held in one hand while reading) and can be updated in Wi-Fi hot spots or through Internet connections (although they cannot be used to surf the Web yet). Their touch screens are also capable of doubling as notebooks to jot down information or to download books. Pages are turned with the touch of a button.Big deal. Why would anyone want an e-newspaper that doesn’t connect to the internet or allow the reader follow hyperlinks? Isn’t that the point of reading an electronic newspaper?
The newspapers, of course, are trying to save trees, cut print production costs and lock in readers (perhaps by giving them free readers in exchange for long-term contracts). But who wants to be part of a captive audience limited to top-down, one-way communication. Isn’t that what TV is all about?