Amazon Kindle

November 21, 2007 at 12:41 am | Posted in Books, Hardware, Technology | 5 Comments

A curious name. Reminiscent of a fire? Amazon in the US has released a new electronic book. Or is that electronic book holder?

Its the size of a paperback book but lighter (well under a lb.) and uses the high-res electronic paper technology. More like a printer than a screen. Evidently this is very battery efficient as you can read for a couple of days without a charge.

“The screen works using ink, just like books and newspapers, but displays the ink particles electronically. It reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, eliminating the glare associated with other electronic displays.”

It uses cellular technology to connect to the online Kindle store, where you can buy books, typically for $9.95 each.  Thats a fair bit less than a book price but you’d have to buy over 25 books before you’d pay for the device. Which is not unreasonable.  “For a small charge” (.10 ea)  you can convert your Word documents and images to their format and upload them to the Kindle. Your books are backed up on Amazons site should your Kindle be lost, etc. PDF’s are possible but not all PDF’s render correctly.

These are interesting features but it points to a weakness in my mind.  I would prefer to be able to convert a range of files and upload them to the eBook for reference, like DocsToGo does for my Palm computer. Its normal you’d need to convert files as the digital paper is quite different display technology. But it would be nice if they’d make the conversion software available. Its more open than I first thought though…
It has a scroll and click select wheel for pick lists which I’ve often found annoying – attempts to click can instead select something else and click. So it depends on how well this is implemented. But the save as you go, bookmark, and and page turning buttons seem intuitive.

A lot of device real estate is devoted to data entry which appears mostly just for purchasing. However, the video suggests you can highlight blocks of texts and make notations and such, like when doing research. Again that could be very useful if well implemented.

It has a built in Dictionary as well as Wikipedia access.  Being digital, it allows you to search your book or library (another use for the keyboard) – the device holds about 200 volumes. Plus has an SD card slot for even more. Imagine a library the size of a postage stamp.

Text size is quite scalable and they have subscriptions for many major newspapers, a couple of hundred blogs, and some other resources.  These automatically download to your device.  Over 88,000 books, including most best sellers are available. Betcha not some of my titles of interest. Yet.

Its notable it has a USB port and cable.  One wonders what thats for. Ah –  You send them the files for conversion to a sepcial free address and they’ll email them back. No .10 charge. Then you can upload the converted files to the Kindle.  And they also support audio books , also uploaded via PC. It has speakers and a headphone jack. Interesting.

Amusingly, the suggested accessory for it is a book light…

This has potential.  I’ll be watching for reviews and am curious to see how this catches on. I’ve seen some amazing ebook technology but little that has a decent price point and enough market penetration…  (they’re currently sold out)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA/

5 Comments »

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  1. Just read a very positive review of the Kindle that also includes a long list of surprising features i didn’t know about.
    http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=46107

    Like

  2. Another review:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1127/p25s01-stct.html

    Like

  3. […] Amazon released the “Kindle“, basically a book reader. Hardier, simplified, and with a better screen technology that […]

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  4. the Kindle’s main selling point for me is it’s text-to-specch feature — very clever

    Like

  5. They’re coming out with a new DX model that has a 9.7″ screen and more of the main features like memory, etc.

    Also saw this parody – if it played movies….
    http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1910868

    Like


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