Smartphone reading applications may be able to steal more of the market share from eBook readers if they can offer the same (or even more) functionality as eBook readers. Some desired functionalities, especially for those reading material for academic purposes, include the ability to highlight material and make notes, see a concise summary or all annotations, bookmark material, sharing options, text search, PDF support, and access to 3rd party resources like dictionaries.
This table discusses functionality of eBook readers and apps, particularly those that are important for academic users. Amazon Kindle DX, for example, has a larger screen than the Kindle 2 and is geared toward academic users. Other sources provide information on the technical and hardware specifications for various devices, such as http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix.
|Functionality||eBook Reader: Amazon Kindle (1)||eBook Reader: Sony Digital Reader Daily Edition (2)||Barnes & Noble Nook (3)||App: Kindle app (iPhone, iPad, Blackberry) (4)||Kobo (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm Pre) (5)||App: iBooks (iPhone OS 4, iPad) (6)|
|Annotations||Highlights, notes and clippings. Cap at 7-10% of book. Not available for PDFs.||Highlights and notes. Not available for PDFs.||Highlights and notes. Not available for PDFs.||Highlights and notes. Not available for Blackberry app.||No||Highlights and notes.|
|Summary of annotations||Saves locations of highlights to text file to view on a computer.||Export notes to your computer.||Can view all annotations on a page, but not for an entire book.||Saves locations of highlights to text file to view on a computer.||No||Yes|
|Bookmarking||Yes, but not available for PDFs. Synchronizes across devices.||Yes||Yes. Bookmarks synchronize with Nook app.||Yes. Synchronizes across devices.||Yes||Yes|
|Share books with others||No||Can authorize up to 6 devices per book, but not allowed to share with other accounts||Can lend books to 1 friend for up to 14 days||No||No||Yes|
|Search||Yes. Search within a book or entire library.||Search title names.||Search within a book.||Search within a book (iPhone only)||No||Yes|
|PDF reader||Yes, though does not support PDF annotation, zoom, or clicking on links||Yes||Yes. Does not support annotations.||No||No||Yes|
|Folder navigation||Yes (called “collections”)||3rd party tools for folder organization||No||No||No||No|
|3rd party linking or search||Ability to search Google, Wikipedia, or Dictionary||Dictionary||Dictionary||Dictionary, Google, and Wikipedia search coming soon.||No||Dictionary|
|Other||View most popular highlights. Text to speech option.||Supports ePub. Partners with OverDrive to connect to library eBooks. Supports Word and .rtf documents.||Supports ePub.|