11. 21. 2007
Kindle: Amazon’s very own digital book reader
If you go to Amazon.com these days you'll find a message on their homepage introducing Kindle, Amazon’s very own wireless electronic portable reader with instant access to more than 90.000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers.
The once only-online-books-retailer worked on the device for more than 3 years trying to go "beyond the physical book”.
“Our top design objective was for Kindle to disappear in your hands -- to get out of the way -- so you can enjoy your reading.”
Kindle uses the same wireless technology as advanced cell phones, which allows you to download/buy books directly onto/from the device in less that 60 seconds, with no Internet access or tedious search for Wi-Fi hotspots. Unlike regular cell phone technology, no monthly access fee is required for Kindle. What you pay is the content you decide to download. For example, a subscription to the NYTimes costs $13.99 per month and one to BoingBoing $1.99, whereas a whole book costs on average $9.99 (books can be previewed free of charge as on Amazon.com). Finally, sending files you already own to your Kindle will cost you 10 cents.
Kindle uses the electronic paper technology known to resemble regular paper readability and to provide a crisp black-and-white screen that is much easier on your eyes than any computer screen. The device comes with a built-in qwerty keyboard that allows you to take notes on what you're reading, search the stored content, search the Amazon library (and complete purchases of course!) and send messages. Yes send messages, because every Kindle owner will also receive an associated Kindle email address. And if you struggle with what you're reading, two buttons on the device will quick-link to both the Oxford English Dictionary and Wikipedia.
Kindle weighs less than a paperbook but can hold about 200 books, and its memory can be increased using an SD card. The good news is that Amazon will keep backup copies of any of the books purchased via Kindle so they can be re-loaded on the device as many time as you want.
Amazon’s electronic reader is already available in the states for $399; no information yet as to when it's going to be sold in Europe. Though, according to this BBC article Kindle’s wireless technology might limit its success in the old continent:
“Content is delivered to the device via the EVDO wireless network - this could limit the gadget's overseas appeal as the technology is not widely used outside North America.”