Tag Archives: Amazon

the kindle report

Before we left for San Francisco at Thanksgiving, I mentioned that I was going to be testing out my new Kindle on the trip – and that I was a little nervous that I might lose the Kindle to my kids. Well, guess what happened: I lost the Kindle to the kids. Since we had planned to use public transit for all our transportation needs, they had plenty of reading time waiting for planes, trains and buses during the trip and they quickly powered through all the books they had brought with them.

My Digital Native kids picked up the Kindle, figured out how to use it and swapped their paperbacks for an e-book with such ease that it almost seemed as if they truly didn’t notice the difference between real paper and the liquid paper on the Kindle. So far, their only complaints about the device are that they (a) have to ask me for permission to use it; and (b) can’t just buy new books at will. WanderDad, on the other hand, isn’t interested in using the device since he doesn’t like the way the screen goes blank when you “turn” a page – which is something that doesn’t bother me at all.

I am glad I broke my own rule and bought Kindle 1.0. I know the next version will be better, but it was great to have when the boys ran out of reading material in San Francisco and for me to use on our marathon seven-hour drive back from Whistler in a snowstorm and I know it’ll get plenty of use on the trips we have already planned for 2009 (the U.K. and Mexico).

The rumors on tech-blogs suggest that Kindle 2.0 will be released early in 2009 – there’s even photos of the updated device. I’m sure my friends at Amazon have been working hard to make this a kick-ass product and improve some of the limitations of the existing device, but just in case they miss anything, see below for my list of the features and functions I hope they’ve improved with the next version.

Kindle Wish List

  • The outer cover is pretty useless as anything other than a holder for the device when it’s stored. A cover into which the Kindle can be secured would be much more useful for children and travelers.
  • The long side-bar prev-page, next-page buttons make it difficult to hold the Kindle comfortably and not accidentally turn the page. I’m excited to see the button sizes are reduced in the photos circulating of the next version, but I prefer the Sony e-book style of circular buttons placed where the thumbs lie when holding the device.
  • In this age-of-the-iPhone, the Kindle’s clunky keyboard annoys me. It makes no sense to me to use valuable page real estate for a physical keyboard. Why not have a larger screen and a virtual, on-screen keyboard? Ditto for the roller-wheel “mouse”.
  • The “Experimental” features on the existing Kindle – which allow limited web-surfing – are utterly frustrating. Especially when it comes to entering any text in a search box. What do you mean I need to click twice (once to enter the text and a second time to initiate the search)?
  • I’ve been a loyal Amazon customer for over 12 years (seriously, I bought my first book on Amazon in April 1997). With the Shopping Cart and WishList functionality on Amazon.com, I choose books in which I’m interested and store them for later purchases using one of these mechanisms. Lack of access to Shopping Cart and WishList from the Kindle is extremely annoying.
  • Why is the Amazon iPhone app more colorful, more fun and easier to use than the Kindle? Just this fact requires Amazon to consider licensing the Kindle software – while preserving access to the online store and purchasing functions – and letting industrial design/hardware/device specialists experiment and innovate with the physical device.
  • I realize this is counter-intuitive to the Amazon business goal of making money by selling Kindles and Kindle books, but it would be fantastic if I could check books out from the Seattle Public Library e-content collection for reading on my Kindle. I’d be willing to pay an annual fee (similar to Amazon Prime) for this service.
  • I have used and plan to use my Kindle primarily for reading while traveling. I sincerely hope Amazon is working on building out access to the WhisperNet Kindle delivery system outside the U.S. It’s shameful that there’s no access in Canada for example.

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