Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazon's new Kindle Ebook Reader

Big news yesterday from Amazon. They finally launched their ebook reader, the Kindle (and according to Fake Steve, they're about to launch their portable computer, the Tinder :-)

There are lots of opinions and articles out there regarding the Kindle (it even made the cover of Newsweek). I will reserve final judgment until I see it in person, but I can say now that I definitely will not be buying one. It has some kicking features, don't get me wrong. But four hundred bucks? Come on, now.

Sony has been in the ebook space for a while now and their reader, while not quite as full featured as Amazon's, is hands down more visually appealing. My wife said it best when she described the Kindle as looking like it was transported straight out of an 80's SciFi movie. I've actually gotten the chance to play with and use Sony's reader and it was excellent! I really want one after using it...it was super thin, the digital ink screen was just like looking at a piece of paper, and it felt normal in my hands.

Obviously, I can't make any observations about the Kindle since I haven't used it yet. But I don't think I'll be using it, either. Amazon has built the thing entirely independently, no computer required...ever. It uses Sprint's EVDO network to stay online 24/7 and download entier books in under a minute...providing you pay $10 for each book. But the wireless service (Amazon calls it Whispernet) is totally free and works out of the box. That's slick.

And if you want to read documents or anything on the device, you have to send them to a special email address Amazon sets up for you. When you attach a Word document to that email, it is converted and pushed directly to your Kindle. Each one of those emails cost 10 cents.

You can also subscribe to newspapers and blogs...for $10-$15 per month. So it's very easy to see how quickly the money adds up here. I realize that new technologies are always expensive, but this just seems excessive to me.

Anyone else think this is too much, or have you already ordered your Kindle?

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