What Needs To Hit eReaders? Web Browsers, E-mail And Big Batteries

It's sort of funny. It's as if Asus read In-Stat's latest report before it even hit the presses. Who knows--maybe they did, or maybe they've just got a great pulse on the industry after sitting back and watching the likes of Amazon, Sony and numerous other Asian firms attempt to nail the whole e-book reader thing.

The research firm's latest report explains that the e-book market is still growing in the US and around the globe, with the main areas for improvement being longer battery life, Internet connectivity and e-mail. Sounds pretty elementary, but by and large, today's batch of readers only feature a few (or one) of those, and not all three. Take the market-leading Kindle for example. It has integrated WWAN through Sprint, but that only enables users to download new books on the go. Users can't check their e-mail or surf the Web, which is evidently a real bummer to most. Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst, had this to say about the findings:

"According to In-Stat’s most recent consumer survey, current e-book owners desire email capability in the next e-book they purchase. Longer battery life and Internet connectivity are the top two desired features among respondents who don’t currently own an e-book but plan to buy one in the next year."

The survey also found that Amazon is the leading brand of e-book owned, with the largest percentage of e-book owners (45.5%) spending between $9 and $20 a month on e-book content. As with Asus' forthcoming dual-panel reader, you can see that Web browsing would be entirely more feasible with two panes. We know battery life may take a hit, but we get the feeling that users would only tap into their reader's Internet browser occasionally, and most wouldn't use that browser more than a laptop or smartphone browser.

So, what about you? Would you be more apt to purchase an eReader if Web browsing was loaded on and you could check up on your e-mail between chapters?