Amazon has announced an enlarged Kindle e-book reader, aimed squarely at students and those whose reading extends beyond the latest bonkbuster to documents and textbooks. Kindle_DX_001 Amazon's Kindle DX has a 9.7in display Larger than the Kindle 2, the DX comes with a screen just shy of 25cm, (compared to the 15.2cm of the …
...that looks like some product design students polystyrene model of their latest killer project.....and the keyboard looks gash....and why is it so bloody thin? what is this apple inspired idea to make everything wafer thin?? we'd prefer thicker with a better battery!
stick to online retailing amazon...you are very good at that
by Digital Restraints Management?
Well, yet another promising device that has been placed out of reach of the average consumer!! I am an avid reader, in addition to using a lot of paper at work. This device would certainly be a big saver (of space and paper) in the education environment that I work in!! But, not at $489.00 a pop!!!
Get a grip, will ya!!
IPod for the Literate
But the same flawed concept - single-function device with the users tied to content sold & controlled by Amazon.
I look forward to an "open source" eBook that allows content from any source.
Perhaps simply a laptop with a PDF reader? It's in colour as well.
I really like the Kindle's addition of a keyboard. If this device is to succeed in the educational market then its crucial that users can annotate their books without having to also carry a notepad or computer. The current eInk screens don't allow for onscreen keyboards unless another overlay is put over the top like on the Iliad - but IMHO that makes for a poorer quality display and a thicker, heavier device.
A physical keyboard is the only way to go and the Kindle 2's looks like a nice compromise between usability and thinness of the whole device.
Now when's it coming over here?
For £323 I could buy one of these new "and improved" Kindles....
At £6.99 I could buy myself 46 space eating, doesn't need power, makes my book shelves useful.. books...
'nuff said really... *orders the complete discworld series*
Comparison to the Sony PRS-505?
The PRS-505, while pocket-sized is highly usable for journal PDFs - due to the screen clarity. Underpowered perhaps, but when an eBook is being used for well.. reading, the quality of the reading is practically all that matters.
I might take a gander at the Kindle; but not to buy, not yet - not at that price.
So about those other features...
Say, a backlight so you can read it outside of a well-lit room, or something approximating a folder system so if you have more than a few dozen books you can sort them quickly instead of having to scroll through pages of books at an annoyingly slow rate? I'm all for anything that saves money and space on heavy textbooks but there are a couple of things everyone can benefit from that really could be worked on first.
....I like it. I mean, yes, the keyboard looks pointless and isn't needed on a reader, and I'm sure the looks could do have been done better. But, as the article says, there is a need for two sizes of reader, one for novels and similar (the Sony is exactly right for this, except for being shackled with the normal piss-poor Sony software), and a larger unit for periodicals and reference books.
As to price, yes, five hundred bucks is big money. But some reference and text books come in at three figures each, so *if* electronic distribution brings this price down a bit, as it should in the end, then it will soon pay for itself. And the price of the unit will no doubt drop as e-ink screens become more mainstream, or another suitable technology replaces them.
DRM still sucks dead rats, though.
Not terrific but not bad either and I don't think the keyboard looks like it would be half bad. I have always loved the idea of e-books and have about half a dozen books as pdf's, I'm just not prepared to shell out 500 bucks for something to read them on. Which leads me to a question. Given that every iteration of the Kindle has been stupidly expensive, is there an alternative that has a similar form factor (perhaps thicker with better battery life) out there which isn't so expensive?
Paris because with Amazon's pricing scheme pretty soon she will be the only one able to afford these things.
Well thats me out then I for one wont be forking out $489 even if you could buy it on this side of the Atlantic get you self a cheap laptop or notebook/netbook ok it might be a little heavier but when you get tired of reading load a DVD or that home compiled CD and let the world go by.
And when are we getting this in the UK?
Oh, never. Great.
And if we did get it, it would probably cost £800.
Paper, Rock, Scissors
Kindle stores more than paper
Internet stores more than kindle
Paper is more convenient than the internet.
Paperback size, dump all buttons except whats needed for navigation, dump the huge plastic surround, make the battery last 3+ months, no drm, survives being dropped/rough handling.
Oh, and £50 or $100 ish, then I'll buy one.
They need to learn from Kodak and Gillette
and now HP and Lexmark et al. Give the flipping device away (almost), and make your money off the books and other content. I'm not paying almost $500 for that and another $10+ a book when I can get a netbook for less and read anything on the web for free.
Nice trolling attempt: the battery lasts for a week... :)
Also, Amazon's shopping experience is pretty painful.
(now where are the good Jeff/bad Jeff icons).
>placed out of reach of the average consumer!!
But firmly in the reach of the more-money-than-sense consumer!
Noticed Apple/BMW/Rolex going bust recently?
No kidding. I'd pay at most $300 for it, if it was open and worked with my Linux box. Since it's severely DRM-encrusted, then I'd pay maybe $50 because they'd better subsidize the living hell out of it for me to put up with the DRM and Windows.
at that price
it should at least have had a color screen... come with wifi , bluetooth, provide voice narration , have removable memory and be able to display other documents like word documents, openoffice documents, pdf files , txt files and other stuff you could load onto it.
A netbook is cheaper and offers much more possibilites.
Besides, for 489 i can buy a lot of treeware ...
An inexpensive alternative
If you're really looking for a small, usable E-Book reader, I suggest... The Nintendo DS. Stick a MicroSD adapter in the cartridge slot (of questionable legality, but oh well) and one of the several homebrew E-Book apps out there, and you have a small, touchscreen-capable, easily-readable solution. And it plays games on the side, for only about $140-$150 US including the adapter and media.
Of course, you lose out on some of the extra Kindle functionality like the notation and integrated bookstore, but if you're really industrious you can use DSLinux and grab a text file version of anything you can find on the interwebs thanks to the DS's wifi capabilities (though it is, sadly, missing WPA). I read Mote in God's Eye that way, and it was actually a fairly pleasant experience.
Very nice. Don't think the price will do it any favours, though.
I am a bit of a luddite, you don't need batteries to read a paper book. But being partially-sighted, the idea of being able to enlarge the print is great - reading those old Ulverscroft large print books we had at school, it was like being shouted at.
I think I'll wait till the price crashes, and we get a good open-source book format.
PS: we have a thumbs-up and a thumbs-down icon, how about a thumbs-sideways for situation like this?
What about PDFs?
Are they still going to charge to convert a goddamn PDF? I have almost 150 GB of PDFs, all of it necessary for work (Circuit designs, data sheets, performance charts). So when are they going to make these things accept a PDF and support SDHC cards?
It will be about $500 for the thing + another $1500 to convert all my documents to the 'kindle format' (most of the docs I work on are very sensitive, prototypes and the like)
Not sure I get it
So this is an ultraportable ebook reader, strictly monocrhrome, with limited multitasking functions, DRM, and wireless. For $500.
But then you could get a netbook, admittedly slightly heftier and with less battery life, but with an actual OS to do things other than reading books, can read books that aren't DRMified, has similar wireless abilities, and what am I forgetting, oh right, COLOR, for $200.
I'm not sure I understand the value here.
"Also, Amazon's shopping experience is pretty painful."
I live in California and the the shopping experience has been the best I've ever seen so far... I got maybe 50 things on amazon over 4 years and I was always happy. Their costumer rating system works great and I use it all the time.
I'm giving up on reading comments about new products. Most of it is poorly informed, borderline stupid, whining and bitching about missing features, price, availability or supposedly better alternatives that are in fact totally unrelated...
A backlight on e-Paper doesn't make any sense, and you can read it by candlelight and in bright sunlight, because it is like paper (try that with a LCD screen).
A netbook doesn't have a 10 day battery life...
Without a keyboard, how are you supposed to search or annotate (or browse the store and the web)?
A Nintendo DS has a screen 5 times smaller, and it's a bloody console...
PDF documents are tied to a specific output size and don't convert easily, and is a nightmarish proprietary format.. Ever found a good PDF to Word conversion software?
The Kindle has voice narration...
Come on people, grow up a little. You're not 8 anymore, stop acting like brats. You guys can do better than that...
Hmm I rather liked the look of the other one...
you featured a plastic bookie thing here which is due in the not to distant future, to lazy to refrence it correctly, but it looked swanker and more appealing.
And that keyboard really does look crap.
Still bigger is better I suppose.
(the Yarr ^ because Pirates need to read too)
No need for a Good Jeff icon
I'm all bad, all the time.
AC @ 23:37 - so how do you enjoy working for Amazon? You should at least tell us if you are a paid stooge undertaking some astroturfing.
wot! no comics
leaving aside the DRM, the US centric nature of this beastie, the price, the number of authors who won't publish to it (Iain M Banks, William Gibson, Terry Pratchett to name the authors of the last 3 books I read) the darn thing doesn't support comics - CBR/CBZ format :(
Oh, and do you really want to pay to subscribe to blogs or have documents "converted" and delivered to you?
Now, give this a touch screen, a better battery and a worldwide footprint (let me pop in any SIM I want) ... it's a step towards my dream device http://tr.im/OBMNotepad
Mine's the one with a real book in the pocket
The Embiggened Reader
For all those arguing, I ask: "Why not? It's a perfectly cromulent reader."
...Mine's the one with the silver tongue hidden in the pocket.
Outside the USA, tough luck
Can they either start selling these things in the rest of the world or stop advertising them in the rest of the world. Hey, Amazon, the USA is not the world, the internet goes to all these other strange places called "other countries". Oh, I guess they can't do that because they can't let you use one without being tied by the goolies to their DRM system.
For those that are interested until they see the price...have a look at Foxit's eSlick:
Hear, hear. I'm surprised no-one's dissed Microsoft, though of course Linux got a look-in
100k Kindles, 20m phones/palmtops
Those were the figures in a Newsnight (UK BBC) report which included an interview with Jeff Bezos. It does kind of put the whole thing in perspective.
But Kindle is still more my idea of what a laptop *should* be like. That finger print / grimy markmagnet colour is still a cheap move to encourage users to replace them regularly (an old IBM.trick). White ABS plastic can't be that much cheaper than any other colour. The screen, yes. Its not a laptop (screen) but is fast enough for books and its the clarity I would want.
there are things Kindle does *very* well. Its got the form factor, screen and battery life (days, not hours). its got capacity. And this market *finally* has a reason to use that keyboard (although I think a WiFi / Bluetooth connection to a keyboard would be a better idea.)
But that colour. And the DRM, and the price / performance ratio. Its still a *hell* of a lot for a very locked box. Overall. Still disappointed.
Waterstones are offering a print-on-demand service at some branches. time will tell if this only-print-what-you've-already-sold concept works better.
@ Anonymous Coward
"I'm giving up on reading comments about new products"
why don't you stop commenting on them as well then?
we're giving our opinion about a new product you prat, sorry if you don't like it.
i actually find the amazon experience pretty good, great prices and delivery, probably why they're so massive.
"Without a keyboard, how are you supposed to search or annotate (or browse the store and the web)?"
-ever heard of the ipod touch? the keyboard appears on the screen 'as if by magic' - go and have a look or are you too busy hiding from one of he many companies you have 'worked for' or have insider knowledge about? yep, that's why you're an anonymous coward isn't it? because of all your top secret insider info?
or you could some old bloke that's sat at home reading every story on the register and writing bollox opinions......
More interesting than it used to be.
I was unconvinced about kindle, until I saw this: http://blag.xkcd.com/2009/04/13/the-pursuit-of-laziness/
I remain not entirely convinced, but the argument is persuasive.
Informed opinion on the Kindles
I realise actually posting informed comments on the Kindle puts me in the minority but here goes:
1. The Kindle uses an e-ink display.
This is very different from lcd and led displays (as used on laptops). Its major features are that it draws no power when displaying an image (it only draws power when changing the display contents) and that it is reflective, in other words it's like paper and relies of reflecting ambient light which means it works as well as paper in bright sunlight. The down side to e-ink is that it is slow: you wouldn't want to play Quake using an e-ink display nor would you want to rely on any interactive elements like a drop down keyboard (which would also require the dispaly to be touch sensitive).
2. There are around 250,000 books you can buy from Amazon to read. This is by far the greatest number available on any ebook reader and was the #1 selling point for me.
3. The battery lasts for about 10 days *use*. That's not 10 days in stand-by, 10 days sitting in your sock draw. That's 10 days constant use. I took my Kindle with me to Japan and at the end of 16 days, which included reading it for 10 hours on the flight (each way), several hours each evening, and for the many train journeys I made, the battery was still more than half full.
In contrast, my iPhone (with phone turned off), reading books using the Kindle app lasts about 12 hours. Fast, colour, high-res displays gobble battery power.
4. The Kindle fits inside my jacket pocket. Comfortably *because it is thin*. It's easier to stow than the average paper-back.
5. I currently have around 70 books on there, from fiction through to technical reference manuals. Really convenient. And saves a ton on checked luggage when flying (I used to take about half my luggage allowance as books...)
The only downsides I've found are:
1. PDF conversion is awful. But this is really PDF's fault because it's a fixed layout. On the plus side, Amazon will convert your PDFs for free.
2. DRM. Doesn't really bother me with Amazon's books (and in any case stripping it is only a couple of Perl scripts away), but DRM on other e-books (eg Mobi) means I can't read them on the Kindle.
3. Even with a library of 250,000 books in Kindle format that still means there are millions that aren't. Some new releases (populist trash novels, Obama biographys, that kind of crap) seem to appear immediately in Kindle format: the good stuff takes a little longer.
4. Most books are cheaper in Kindle format than print. Some however, for example Andrew Tanenbaum's "Computer Networks" costs about $20 in print and about $70 in Kindle format! I blame Tanenbaum for that though, not Amazon.
I'm feeling very lonely now, an island of informed opinion in a sea of unintelligent whinging so I'll get my coat.
I despair ...
at times when supposedly technical minded people make comments without first engaging their brains.
e-ink technology can not use a back light - metal backing. It is designed to be used in daylight - just like a book.
Yes the cost is high for the kindle but the iRex technologies 1000s costs 700 euro!!
OK so it does have a touch screen to allow handwritten notes and comments. Then there is the Hanlin eReader V9 in the pipe line which will hopefully be a little less expensive being made and sold in China.
All we need is a company with vision to sell the e-book readers at a reasonable price to get things started.
not DS but...
rather than a DS the iPod Touch with Stanza installed is a great (and cheap) ebook reader
to Edward Kenworthy
really nice summary, I cannot agree more (I don't own kindle but had a chance to play with it a lot).
One big issue people don't talk about is the fact that you can re-sell books - for example book for $20 you can resell for $10 when you are done reading. you can even buy a book on one airport and return it on the other. This just means that comments about much cheaper Kindle version is not 100% accurate ...
I was thinking about this and got crazy idea, I really think Amazon could do the same. Why they cannot let you sell it back to Amazon for let's say $5 and delete it from Kindle?
"Unlocked" eBook readers?
As far as I'm aware you can put books onto the Kindle with a USB cable, meaning you don't need to use Whispernet. This also means you don't need to rely on DRM or Amazon for books.
I'm certain that you can do it with the Iliad, Cybook Gen 3 and Sony 505/500/700. They all have their DRM tied in books, but you can completely ignore that. My Cybook Gen 3 is simply a hard drive when I connect it to the PC, I throw on whatever I want and it's there.
Bookeen, who make the Cybook are coming out with a Cybook Opus, which is a smaller version of the Cybook Gen 3. It's intended to be a pocket device.
As for people criticising electronic ink technology based eBook readers, you really do need to see one in person before you can appreciate how good the technology is. It really is like paper, it doesn't need a backlight like LED, it's very easy on the eyes. The reader sends a signal to the screen which "draws" the next page, once it's drawn that's it. Unlike a CRT or LED there is no need to constantly refresh the display, there is no hertz rating, it's simply permanantly on the screen until the tiny little electronic ink capsules are spun around again when the next page is drawn. Unless you see one in person then you're simply looking at electronic paper on an LED... you can't contrast between something you see on an LED against LED!