More on Kindle

I received a lot of feedback after “I first wrote about the Kindle”… so here’s an update. I admit I’m still trying to understand the device; it has not immediately fallen into a spot in my routine the way the iPod and iPhone did.

“Dan Benjamin” pointed out that it’s wrong to compare the Kindle and iPhone because they are two completely separate kinds of devices, and that’s true. But the fact remains that Amazon could have partnered with AT&T and required a monthly fee for connectivity. Instead they chose to eat that cost to provide a seamless user experience.

“Willie Abrams” bought a Kindle and then returned it, unhappy with both the contrast on the device and the slow page turns. As I pointed out in my original post, the page turns are annoying, but they won’t ruin the device for most people.

“Andy Ihnatko” wrote glowingly about the Kindle and spoke at length on MacBreak Weekly about the free wireless and adequate web browser. Personally I have found the web browser to be extremely poor and the slow refresh inappropriate for modern, interactive sites. I didn’t even realize it came with a browser when I ordered it, though, so I consider it a nice bonus.

When I left town to take a week and a half holiday road trip with my family, I decided to leave the Kindle at home. After all, I already had my MacBook, iPhone, Nintendo DS, and a hardback book that would easily fill the week. The Kindle is small but it would just be wasted clutter in my backpack.

This turned out to be a mistake. For one, I had spotty Edge coverage in middle-of-nowhere West Texas, and it would have been an interesting experiment to see how the Kindle’s EVDO faired in other cities. But more importantly, while checking blogs someone recommended a book that I was interested in. I clicked through to Amazon and noticed that it was available in Kindle format. It would have been the perfect opportunity to buy it and start reading right away.

That is what the Kindle brings to the table. The hardware design is not an improvement over the Sony Reader (the Kindle’s keyboard remains a definite mistake), but the integration with Amazon and the convenient downloads from anywhere are both well implemented. I think Amazon has a history of tinkering in public view (home page design, shipping experiments), and the Kindle is no exception. They’re no doubt already working on version 2.

Manton Reece @manton