Saturday, November 17, 2007

Portable Reader

There is a new portable readers market. Sony recently updated their reader which can be purchased for $299. So now a competitor has entered the market. Amazon is releasing the Kindle on Monday. There has been some buzz about this new device but most has been speculation. Amazon has kept this device close to the vest. Information would be "shared" here and there but for the most part Amazon has been tight lipped.

The Kindle will retail for $399. There are a few differences between the two devices. The first is that the Kindle will have WiFi capabilities, a headphone port and it's own email address. The Kindle owners are expected to be able to select from a long list of publications for automatic download (50 and 100 newspaper publishers). Amazon has the larges e-book collection and the bundle that your device comes with is impressive.

E-readers have not been the hot ticket Sony thought it would be. In the area of technology the device really was a dust bunny catcher. I am not sure the Kindle is going to feel any increase in the success. If this device was meant for the road warrior there are some major flaws:

1) Wifi Really? But again like the IPhone, I have to go with a specific carrier. Sorry, I already have my cell phone carrier; why on this graying earth would I want yet another carrier.
2) Thank you for email address but why do I need another email address.
3) It has no capability to highlight, make notes on the book I am reading or book marking. At least if I am using my computer, I have the capabilities.
4) It is OMG ugly and bulky. I am hoping the picture leaked from the FCC is just a pro-type and the thing is going to nice and shiny for it’s coming out party.
5) I am not sure if you can zoom into to make the text appear larger.
6) The cost of the device. The device is expensive no matter how you slice it.
7) External light - why didn't they do back lighting. It just seems like something that will get broken when sliding in and out of my bag if I was planning on getting one.

Price is a huge factor for me. I can purchase a high end Palm to read e-books and have all the additional features that I would like to have in one device such as my calendar, email, web access, music and address book. If I am going to spend $399 for this device it needs to offer me something more then an alternative reading format.

The other red flag for me is that the storage of material. If I purchase from an online vendor, I want a storage vault with them. The old saying is Not if but when technology fails. If I am traveling with my device and for some reason I want to re-read a book or share the book with a friend, I don't want to have a back up on my home system or laptop. If I am using an e-reader, I want to be able log on and swap books. These devices are for convinces, so make it convenient for me the user.

I hope that I am wrong about this device. But I have a sinking feeling that this is another dusty bunny babysister.

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