Day: April 10, 2006

E-paper RSS feeds and the new newspaper

I was discussing e-paper with my sister’s husband over the weekend and we were both intrigued and excited by the prospects of RSS feeds and what they could do combined with e-paper and access to the web. Your news on your flexible e-sheet on a constantly refreshed basis! I imagine your front page would be a variant of a site like this one popurls which acts as an aggregator for many news and image sites.

Of course you could tailor it for your own design much like live.com or Google’s Personalised Home Page or one of the many start pages.

It would be both more flexible and more limited. Flexible in that it would be lightweight and could be taken just about anywhere, limited because users would be unable to interact with the news coming downstream at them. No posting comments in response to articles no digg-ing/seed-ing unless the e-paper also provided some sort of touch screen capacity.

It was these limitations that brought me down to earth this morning. I fear that early adopters would be reluctant to forgo the social side of internet just for mobility. Even if they were to do so it would be for limited timeframe, say a short commute, a business trip or something like that, but once they reached an environment conducive to PDA’s or laptops or even desktops surely they would be eager to switch to more enabled machines.

Equally the tech minded who have yet to adopt RSS (though that cannot be too far away I hope) would not even know where to begin with personalisation of such a product. An e-newspaper would be as useful to them as the current product filled with what some editor thinks they want to read not what they choose to read.

The potential is there I hope to see e-newspapers soon and to overcome such issues. Certainly you would be better off paying attention to someone like Jeff Jarvis and his ideas and opinion than mine.