Do Businesses Need eReaders or Little Computers?

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Fox Business ran an article earlier this week exploring the uses of eReaders in the business environment, where companies like Plastic Logic, which is slated to unveil its QUE soon, are hoping workers will use eReaders instead of unnecessarily printing documents. The article’s author, Donna Fuscaldo, basically concludes that for business users “it may pay to wait for the burgeoning [eReader] market to do a little growing up.”

Then she makes this interesting observation: “For many small businesses, e-Readers are alluring because they are light weight and can hold thousands of documents. Once they are able to do things like manage calendars, remotely place orders, maintain inventory and even be used as a display terminal for presentations, it will be a no brainer for those small business owners on the go. But in order for that to happen, Weiner said the industry has to undergo a shakeout.”

Manage calendars? Place orders? Display terminal? What are we talking about here? There seems to be some confusion: is she in fact talking about a tablet rather than an eReader?

These distinctions seem to be getting more an more confused, with Amazon trying to introduce tablet-like features (an app store, maybe color down the road) to the Kindle and Apple building a whole lot of buzz about iBooks. What product do these companies intend to make: a reading device and document viewer or an multi-purpose app machine?