Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A kindling we go...

So, I've been using the Amazon Kindle for the past couple of days and I can safely say that the device is not a disruptive technology. The book publishing industry won't change over night because of the Kindle. It's a nice device, with some serious flaws, but lets start out with what I liked:
  1. Wireless - very cool. I can have blogs, newspapers, magazines, books, all automatically update. That's a cool feature and something the Sony Reader can't do
  2. Search - you can search within the content, book mark and annotate. Something the Sony Reader can't do
  3. Onboard Dictionary (Oxford America Dictionary). The Kindle comes with the OAD and will search every word on a particualr line and give you the full OAD entry on the words in that line. I've already used this several times
  4. Direct link to Wikipedia, although you have to search for a word first. I would have liked it if I could scroll to a particular line and choose the word or phrase I wanted to look up.

What I didn't like, at least things Amazon could have addressed/are not technology issues...

  1. Pay to read blogs. This just seems dumb to me
  2. Design - Amazon clearly shows that they are a retailer and not a gadget maker. The page turn button on the side of the device makes it almost impossible to hold the device without accidentally turning a page
  3. It's got lots of buttons, which actually make the device intrusive to the reading experience. Bezos made a big point that the device should disappear when you are reading. The Kindle does a terrible job of that, Sony does a much better job
  4. You have to email documents to the device or hook up a jump drive to read documents, no drag and drop to the device, plus Amazon charges you 10 cents for every document you email to the device

Amazon says that the wireless connection is part of the device cost and one reason why the device is so expensive, but the wireless isn't really free. Amazon is clearly trying to make back some of the cost of creating the network by charging for blogs, document transfers, etc. I have no idea how the math works out, but it feels like customers are getting nickel and dimed, which is terrible customer service.

I felt like the Sony Reader has a crisper screen, faster page turns, and is much more appealing device. for reading If Sony could figure out the wireless part or at least add a keyboard, a dictionary, and have search on the device, the Sony Reader would be the clear winner in my book. Some fun videos can be fount at http://technorati.com/videos/tag/ebook

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