Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kindle v. tablet for public speaking: What's on your Black Friday gift wish list?

Tablet computers are expected to be a hot item when holiday shoppers start taking advantage of the "Black Friday" deals that will start later this week. But should speakers ask for tablets or a standard Kindle e-reader? Close readers of the blog know that I recommend Kindles for public speakers, who can use them to:
  • replace note cards or text;
  • adjust type size when reading a speech;
  • store quotes, notes, and references related to a speech;
  • email speeches and other notes or documents to the device and read them;
  • hear your speeches read aloud;
  • avoid lugging lots of paper when you travel on a speaking tour;
  • create a makeshift teleprompter for video recordings; and
  • refer to and read notes in direct sunlight for outdoor events or well-lit rooms.
Today, there are several new Kindle models as well as a new Kindle Fire tablet, as well as the Nook and iPad tablet computers. For speakers and presenters, your choice of tablet or e-reader will come down to these considerations:
  • Price: The least expensive new Kindle is just $79; the iPad comes in at $500 or higher, depending on the features and model.
  • Color v. black and white: Only the Kindle Fire has full color, but the standard Kindles do just fine with text.
  • Back lighting: A huge advantage for the speaker is the standard Kindle's lack of a backlit screen. It's better for your eyes, and allows you ease in reading outdoors as well as indoors--the closest thing to text on paper. But if you find yourself needing to read aloud from a text in a dark room, those backlit screens on tablets are for you.
  • Photos and video: If you also want a camera in the device, the iPad's your choice. Want to show slides, photos in color and video--perhaps when demonstrating something at an exhibit or other informal presentation? Then a color tablet, such as the iPad or Kindle Fire are your targets. The standard Kindle does well reproducing graphics and black-and-white photos.
Amazon helpfully includes this comparison of Kindle versus iPad features to help you along. Can't wait for Black Friday? Shop Amazon's "Holiday Countdown to Black Friday Store." Will you be asking for (or buying) a tablet or Kindle to help with your public speaking? Leave your questions and wish list in the comments.

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