Tag Archives: kindle

New iPad

As the owner of both an original iPad and iPad 2, I was pretty excited about the “new iPad”. I wasn’t willing to stand in line Friday morning, so I waited until Saturday to take a look.

I headed down to the flagship Apple store on Knox Henderson and was prepared to be amazed. Much to my dismay, I wasn’t. Yes, the screen is beautiful, and yes, LTE is awesome. But as a happy iPad 2 owner, the device was completely underwhelming.

I still do most my real reading on a Kindle DX, so the iPad 2 is still a device for wasting time. Twitter, Facebook, Flipbook and the rest all look perfectly fine on my iPad 2.

The biggest steal at Apple was the price cut of $100 off an iPad 2. If you don’t have a tablet today, the device to get is the iPad 2. At the current price, it is a real steal and it is this device which really puts the screws to the Android tablet space.

The device I really want is the one I’m still waiting for Amazon to build. So dear Mr. Bezos, listen up! I want an updated Kindle DX. Same size, but with a better eInk display, higher contrast, faster page turning, and lose the keyboard and go with a touch sensitive screen. That would be the device to die for. Unfortunately, I think Amazon is too fixated on the Kindle Fire to really build it.

The Spark

Amazon announced their new Kindles today, along with their much anticipated Android tablet, the Fire. I’m a big fan of the Kindle, and was looking forward to this, but in the end, the best I can say is meh. The new, smaller Kindle with the touch interface looks the most impressive, except for one “small” problem: the size.

My normal daily companion is a Graphite Kindle DX. It is the Ultimate Reading Machine. I love it for the large screen. My eyes aren’t what they used to be, so I appreciate still being able to get a lot of text on the screen even if I jack up the font size. The Kindle Touch is just too small.

The Kindle Fire is really just a media player; a distraction. It’s like the iPad, just smaller! They will probably sell a billion of them at that price, which is going to force Apple to innovate, so there is a plus side.

@Amazon, if you really want to get my pulse up, here’s what I want to see: a new device with the Kindle DX screen size, but with the improved e-ink display and faster processor. Ditch the keyboard too, and go for touch controls, but keep the page flip buttons so I don’t have to keep poking the screen to turn a page. The whole package should be smaller, thinner and lighter than my DX but with the same screen size. The rumors are you’re going to build one for next summer. How about Christmas? Pretty please?

Kindle the Fire

Succumbing to my geek inclinations, I ordered an Amazon Kindle 2 over the weekend. Since they were only accepting preorders, and were giving the impression supplies might not be adequate, I didn’t expect to see it immediately. I was wrong. Santa Claus in Brown dropped it off at my doorstep Tuesday afternoon.

I enjoy reading, and purchased the Kindle to be able to have several books under thumb in an easily toteable package. Amazon seems to have taken a clue from Apple. The Kindle 2 arrived in pretty nice packaging with a minimalist instruction book. The device was already tied to my Amazon account, so it only took about two minutes before I was able to order a book and have it delivered wirelessly to the Kindle 2.

The screen is very good. It is a reflective LCD “e-paper” screen with very sharp text on a near white background. It does not have backlighting, which is a plus for battery life and also the ability to read in bright light. Navigating between pages is extremely easy and I enjoy the built-in dictionary. Simply moving the little cursor to the front of a word causes the definition of the word to pop up at the bottom of the screen.

The arrival of the Kindle 2 might finally signal the start of the tipping point towards e-books. The only thing holding it back is the price. It needs to cost about $150 less before it can really hit mass market. Even now though, Amazon is showing over 240,000 titles available in Kindle format. This has to be a huge no-brainer for publishers with its near-zero distribution cost.

What’s really impressed me most with my Kindle 2 has nothing to do with books. I’m a major news junkie and usually spend at least an hour in the evening catching up with all the news online. With the Kindle, I can subscribe to various news services and blogs, and have them wirelessly delivered to the Kindle every day. I tested it out on a trip to Starbucks today. I was great to sit there with my drink and read the latest headlines from the New York Times and my favorite political blogs. I think this will turn in to a killer feature once people start to discover it.

I’ve only had my Kindle 2 for 24 hours now, but I’ve already bumped into a few rough edges. First, the UI is steamlined around serial thinking, aka page turning. That works great for normal books, but if you like hopping around, it is a cumbersome interface. I’m also mixed on the little five-way joystick used for cursor navigation. Getting to the right word on the page is slow and annoying. Amazon really needs to come up with a touch screen.

On the software side, there are a couple things I would like to see. First would be integration with some sort of calendar. It would be nice to pop up a read-only view of my daily calendar. Some sort of Instant Message integration would be nice too, maybe a bridge to SMS with Whispernet, or to Twitter for the ADD. They could even do a Twitter or Facebook reader application. I wouldn’t care much about email or general web browsing on the Kindle 2. I’ve got better devices for that.

All an all, I’ve extremely impressed with my new little toy. This is a major step forward towards the perfect e-book device and while I’ll be impatiently awaiting the next revision, I’m going to really enjoy my Kindle 2.