Have you heard about Spritz? The Boston-based startup found celebrity this week in a series of news stories about its new speed-reading app. In an effort to make communication "faster, easier, and more effective," Spritz created a tool that shows readers words one by one. It relies on a concept called "rapid serial visual presentation" and in essence trains your eyes to read faster - up to 500 words per minute or more, which is double the average reading speed. At that rate you could read a novel in about two hours.
Spritz just launched and will only be available for Samsung devices to start, but the company hopes to expand its reach and application, from email to social media and ebooks. Take a look:
The emergence of a tool like this doesn't herald a digital reading revolution. In fact, another announcement came this week that turns the idea of digital speed-reading on its head. Digital Book World ran a post on another reading app, this one focused on helping consumers read more fiction by making ebooks available to them slowly, in manageable chunks over time. For $4.99 a month, Rooster will curate a contemporary book and a work of classic literature and deliver them in daily installments, straight to your phone. The app is currently available for iPhones but by invitation only, so if you're interested be sure to get your name on the list.
What can we take away from the simultaneous arrival of two very different services built on a foundation of digital books? The answer isn't in the premise, but in the medium. Our world has reached its "mobile moment." Mobile subscriptions have surpassed the population of the planet, with over one billion in China alone. There are three times as many mobile devices on earth as there are computers. By the end of next year we'll have downloaded half a trillion apps. It doesn't matter if they hope to help us with reading or shopping or paying our bills: mobile is the medium to which service companies must cater from here on in.
So if you're open to a different kind of on-the-go reading experience, the only question now is: would you like your stories fast, or slow?