Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device: Kindle Store Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device: Kindle Store

Kindle A nice product idea marred by absolute stupidity…

I want to love the Kindle.  Just as I wanted to love the Sony eReader.  But when I see what’s actually come out of Amazon’s labs, I want to scream.  Does anyone that designs these things actually have a real life and job?  Or do they all make a million dollars a year, and read NOTHING?   Every one of these “ereaders” that have hit the market the past couple of years have been long on gimmicks, and short on practicality.  It seems that no one wants to design an ereader for wide adoption.  Everything seems to only be designed for a niche market.

First, the positives (yes, there are a few):

  1.  It uses e-ink.  Like the Sony product, the Kindle uses e-ink (or as Amazon calls it, electronic paper).  This means long battery life, and much better contrast, for a better reading experience.  The best thing about e-paper is that it doesn’t use ANY power except to change the image.  So you can leave the device on for hours, and it won’t use any power until you turn the page.
  2. It has built-in EVDO.  This means you can download books and stuff directly to the device through the cell phone network.  Well, a proprietary part of it, anyway.
  3. It has a built-in keyboard.  Some may see this as a negative, but I think it’s a positive.

And, now the negatives (of which there are many):

  1. IT’S $400!  I think that’s the biggest downside.  This thing is way more expensive than it should be.  For widespread adoption, the price needs to fall in the $50-$100 range.  $400?   Only the real gadget geeks will buy it.  It MAY make money, but not a lot.  How can any device manufacturer hope to gain widespread use if you overprice your major markets?
  2.  The only wireless is EVDO.  This may be a positive, but it’s also a major negative.  Amazon, not everyone lives in an urban area.  Not all of us have EVDO access.  Some of us don’t even have good cell phone access.  Put a 802.11 g radio in there, for goodness sake!  Heck, they make T-SHIRTS with 802.11 receivers in them!
  3. No expandable storage options.  What?  No SD card slot?  What are you, Sony?  Put in a SD card slot for items we already have.  Of course, that would mean we’d have to have BOUGHT books, which leads into…
  4. DRM’d up the wazoo e-books.  Unreal.  Only one major publisher seems to get how e-books should work.   E-books should be CHEAPER than their print counterparts, due to reduced production costs.  Only Baen Books gets it.  And Amazon…good Lord, I don’t know what went through their heads, but it wasn’t intelligent thought.  Books cost as much if not more than their print counterparts.  You can’t lend them to other people.  You can’t even read them on other devices.
  5. It’s ugly, with bad ergonomics.  Not necessarily a deal-breaker, it’s nonetheless something to think about.  This device is clunky-looking, bland, and basically looks like it was designed by someone determined that they would NEVER use it.

I’m sorry, Amazon, but no matter how much I may WANT to like the Kindle, I don’t.  I might have given it a chance, but the price is out of reach for me, and I abhor your DRM scheme.  Thumbs down, way down.  If I’m going to spend $400, it’s not going to be on a uni-tasker like the Kindle, but something more like the Nokia n800, or the soon-to-be-released n810.  Now THERE’S something to spend your hard-earned salary on!

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