Early reports are emerging on the new Android-based Amazon Kindle, and the indications are that the bookstore has done well in forking Google's baby into its own likeness. A colour Kindle has been widely anticipated, and close integration into Amazon's cloudy offerings comes as no surprise, but with a $250 price tag and …
"don't seem to care if the device itself is locked down"
In my case at least it's "really, actually, don't care". I bought my Kindle for the specific purpose of reading books, which it does a very good job of letting me do. Non-DRM books for other sources can be copied in and read too, so it's not as though it's utterly tied to Amazon and its store.
Given the hardware limitations of eInk and the Kindle's pokey keyboard, there aren't that many things you _could_ do with it if it wasn't locked down.
(That said, I have done a teeny bit of cracking to let custom screensavers be installed.)
re: 'I bought my Kindle for the specific purpose of reading books'
so did most Kindle owners, i think.
so i'm unsure many of them will want to fork out for a $250 device that they can't even use to read their books on outside (as amazon's adverts have told us how bad non-eink screens are for reading books)
Considering how many forked out $399 for the original Kindle I doubt the $249 price point will seriously hobble the Kindle Tablet.
locked down kindles
true the current kindle is locked down in the sense its tied to amazon's store but you can still put other formats on it through a usb cable with calibre in a simple drag and drop operation. true you can't hack it to run linux or something but its a lot less locked down then a fondleslab (although it can't do flash either)
RE: locked down kindles
You can also put any non-DRMed book on an iPad or Android tablet, though you'll generally be using ePub, not Amazon's MOBI.
Hack it to run Linux?
It already does run Linux, and it is possible to replace the firmware: google for Duokan.
I haven't tried Duokan. I only want to use my Kindle for reading free books and the current firmware does that well enough.
(Currently my main gripe is that although the Kindle can browse the web and read PDF files, you can't download a PDF from the web and then read it using the Kindle; typically you have to download the file on some other machine and either e-mail it or transfer it over USB to the Kindle. But I can live with that. In practice I don't really want to use the Kindle for web browsing.)
Who cares? I don't want an iPad clone, I want a cheap Kindle book reader with great battery life and nothing more. If I wanted an iPad clone I would buy an iPad.
Would you still buy and iPad if there was a good enough alternative that was considerably cheaper?
I'd guess Amazon is mainly interested in getting people tied in to their services and so can shove the hardware onto the market below the cost of their competitors.
I will buy a tablet at some point and I am not fussed who from.
Kindle locked down ?
depends what you mean. I can happily use the whispernet to send .MOBI files to it, from any other readers I have.
Yes it is
It's tied to Amazon's store. If it offered you a choice to browse different stores and purchase content it would qualify as not locked down. And just because converters exist to munge content into MOBI doesn't mean MOBI isn't a proprietary format because it is.
Ever heard of Calibre...?
Yes, it's closed but it can both browse to other stores (there's no hard-coded list of allowed sites) AND you can load anything you get from those other stores.
and drxym's rapier-like response...
...is to give the thumbs down? Can reg please add a raspberry noise to this button?
Gizmodo have a mockup
...it's black and has rounded corners! THAT'S CLEARLY APPLE'S IP! SUE!!! SUUUUUE!
The point of a Kindle
When you buy a Kindle, it's made pretty obvious that it's designed as a device for buying and reading books from Amazon, but that you can send your own documents to it if you like.
Maybe its success is because of that, rather than despite it.
It'd be like buying a Mag Lite and then complaining that it's locked down to using D cells to make the bulb emit light.
The point of batteries
Your basic analogy is flawed. When you buy a battery, you expect it to work in any device that uses batteries. What if every flashlight company used a different, incompatible kind of D-cell? And further, what if batteries had an established usage pattern going back over 450 years?
“e-ink is just better in bright light”
I wish you’d avoid this idiom. Do you mean “e-ink is simply better” or “e-ink is slightly better”? “Just” in this context is entirely ambiguous.
It would be ambiguous in a different sentence, but given the context it's entirely obvious what they meant. Unless you know nothing about the technology.
Where's the demand?
Am I the only one who thinks that Android-powered tablets are a dead-end? Short of giving them away no one wants them.
Well, I have an Android phone and there's be some benefit in having some of my familiar apps on a tablet. I'd only go for Android over iOS at the moment if there was a price justification or superior hardware but it wouldn't have to be much of either.
Ease of use trumps openness
I agree 99% - the 1% is reserved for the key holders of various walled gardens using that position somewhat abusively on occasion. Oh and having to deal with e.g. iTunes.
I love the Kindle for exactly what it's for - reading books. Mind you my interest is piqued by "Ian K"'s comment regarding custom screen savers. I'll check that out.
As far a new iPad/colour Kindle - an eReader needs electronic ink - i.e. an unlit screen that's a pleasure to read from - like a Kindle.
Re: Ease of use trumps openness
Changing the Kindle screen saver images:
"an eReader needs electronic ink"
Agree but a tablet needs a selling point and being cheap and also straightforwardly compatible with one's existing investment in Kindle books might just do.
If I had a Kindle already I might well think this was the best tablet option given there's not really much between them in terms of functionality.
Try that with the wife....
if anyone told her that the e-ink is giving way to any sort of backlight whatsoever she'd have apoplexy!
One thing that Kindle excels at, is being unobtrusive and virtually unnoticeable so that focus and attention can go the content, i.e. the flamin' book!
In that case why not just double up and put e-ink on one side and colour on the other? Sure the price goes up but if it's from the same stock as every other Kindle the price should be pretty low.
I'm assuming, of course, that this isn't patented by some troll at this point and hopefully this post will act as prior art of the bleeding obvious to the oblivious patent office who would otherwise gladly rubber stamp a Janus tablet as being soooo novel.
US only launch?
Wonder if like the Kindle this launches as a US only device ... note that it would appear very dependent on the Amazon App store and that is still US-only despite a large potential market for Android users elsewhere.
I have tried the amazon app, (due to the free apps they give away) but of course not working in the UK yet.
I expect so
I was quite taken with the colour Nookie thing, but it is, and always will be, US only
Bit like XM satellite radio, or NASCAR
I'd be happy to trade
But you have to take all of NASCAR and in return keep it and don't let it back here.
@ Eddy Ito.
But No deal. Thank you very much.
for "sniffly separate from the herd" read "lunch".
"Few Kindle users today realise how locked down their devices are: they can get at the books they want and so don't seem to care if the device itself is locked down. It might annoy purists, but Apple has demonstrated how ease of use trumps openness in the minds of the majority."
Don't particularly want to get all formal logic on you, but the proposition as presented is untestable. I think quite a lot of consumers got fed up when they lost 1984 from Kindle as you reported at the time. I think quite a lot of consumers got fed up with DRM on music - which is why music is now available DRM-free.
You are only locked-in if you reach the boundaries of your permissions. Perhaps most consumers don't want to do more than the Kindle allows them to do. In the same way: if you only take holidays in your home country not having a passport doesn't lock you in.
I prefer to use Free Software myself and encourage others to do the same for reasons that make sense to them.
Steve Balmer was right (semiotically correct) about Free Software. In my opinion that's why, for example, the BBC has recently tried to make "get_iplayer" with its built in "time to delete those files" difficult to use. This is despite the BBC still displaying a webpage explaining to the users of other platforms how to strip DRM from its files.
Lock-in is all about stopping Free Software moving the price of software to its long run marginal cost of production so benefiting the consumer, limiting rent-seeking by the producer and catalysing innovation (cf browsers before you had choice) .
Amazon had better beware
If they sell these things at cost or subsidized and haven't locked them down properly I predict an extremely healthy after market of tools & ROMs that flash the thing into a standard tablet. Same thing happened with the Nook Color and I expect the incentive to do it will be even greater here.
I thought the new Kindle would be e-ink with colour. If this is _just_ a tablet, I don't want one as a Kindle replacement... I bought a Kindle precisely because it's great for reading on.
You can read it in daylight, it's always 'on,' and you can take it on holiday without the charger.
All the original Kindle needed was a touch screen, and faster update. This is looks like a misguided fondle slab shoe-in.
If this product flies, I'll eat my hat
If the specs are accurate as per the report then this is a major POS that will tank in no time.
It's not an e-ink reader - Rather, it's your usual glossy, hard to read under any light direct light, back-lit lcd. So all the avid fans of e-ink under bright sunshine are gone. Add to that, that kindle 2 has a week's worth of juice (sans 3G) whereas this is less than 10 hrs. Groovy (...not!)
It's not (much of) a tablet either: 2 finger multi touch? Single core? Only 6GB? What about connectivity? USB, HDMI etc.? No camera? No 3G?
Whoever called this a tablet needs their brain checked. And I'm well happy amazon's customisation will not resemble android at all. I wouldn't want such an underpowered device to sell well and become synonymous with Android.
I don't really know why this is called a Kindle...
...and I think it's diluting the Kindle brand to call it one. A kindle to me is an e-book reader. This Amazon tablet lacks the two things that make the Kindle such a great e-book reader: e-ink and long lasting battery.
I'm also going to hazard a guess that given this tablet's far greater potential for data use, it's not going to have the included forever-free 3G connection that the Kindle has either.
I had the same thought
And as someone else pointed out, all the Kindle advertising has been pretty much focused on the idea that the Kindle is NOT a tablet (i.e., tablets without e-ink are bad for reading). But this is one of the things that can happen when you have completely separate groups work on the tablet and work on the Kindle. It has been said that innovation requires transparency, rather than groups working on related products keeping everything secret from the other. Also I suspect their marketing people know very little about branding and naming a family of devices.
I've used Apple products for many years
...I wish them success, but it would be good for everyone if they had better competition in the tablet market.
Go Amazon go!
If the new Kindles succeed, the iPad LC will have to be better than Apple planned...
Choose sides now...
...in the forthcoming Corporate Domination Wars.
Do not want!
I have almost 400 books on my Kindle , of which five came from Amazon. "Thank you Calibre" I did a Jailbreak on my Kindle right away as well.
The Kindle 3 is perfect for me, its purse sized, unlike the tablets, and its viewable when I'm out and about. My Kindle goes with me everywhere. And I only have to plug it in 2-3 times a month.
I also love the FREE 3G, "Yes my phone does that too I know" I often read The Register on my Kindle. This new Pseudo Kindle will not have that.
The new "Kindle" is a big pile of DO NOT WANT! I do not want to read for pleasure on an LCD! I like the E-ink screen. I'm told repeatedly that its not better, but I'm told it by younger people who are NOT wearing bifocals. The large clear fonts and neutral background are untouchable on a tablet.
I like how the Kindle takes me away from the urge to read blogs, do my e-mail, play games, or otherwise just vegetate online.. I can focus seriously on my reading again. Something that for a lot of us slowly faded away over the last 15 or so years. I own three Macs and I'm constantly told I should buy an iPad. I didn't buy one for the same reason I'll not be buying this new "Kindle" tablet.
I want an e-reader, not a tablet, and I'm not the only one. If Amazon will not listen, someone else will. Thought I doubt I'll get the free 3G anywhere else
$250? ... right, so that'll be ...
£220 in the UK then, I suspect - £70 shipping and taxes slapped on top of the exchange rate.
As for the device being locked down, sure, until someone jailbreaks it.
The idea of being 'locked in' to what Amazon have to punt, really isn't very appealing at all, but it depends how far that lock in goes.
If you can't load video & music on the device from your own collection, for instance, fail. I doubt Amazon would go that far?
Whichever way you look at it, for the geek set, the decision to purchase will be made on the power of the hardware vs the cost vs the ability to jailbreak it to run stock android without restrictions.
If "Amazon Prime" is linked to an account rather than a device then this would be a major selling point. I'm in the UK and i had a US Prime account trial and guess what! with a simple change I could access the free streaming movies!
If that works in some form on the Amazon-pad then you'll find a lot of non-US people lining up to get one!
I'll definatly be saving my pennies to pick up an "Amazonian Fondleslab" ^__^
beer: well i've had a few ..*hic*
Re: Ease of use trumps openness
Ease of use and openness are not mutually exclusive. Apple's choice to keep platform closed has everything to do with corporate greed. IOS is riddled with design flaws, and workflow issues, not because they want the platform easier to use, only because they want to sell you more of their shit.
@Dana W and others
May I just point out that the Kindle aint the only show in town ? Everyone grumbling about the loss of e-ink should remember that there's quite a few other readers using e-ink out there. My lady would be gutted if she lost her Sony PRS-505 but there are plenty of options for replacement. Yes an e-ink screen is superior (don't believe me? try one) and they are still going to be available for people who want to read.
>>"Few Kindle users today realise how locked down their devices are: they can get at the books they want and so don't seem to care if the device itself is locked down."
So they not only don't /care/ that it can't do things they didn't buy it to do, but few of them even /know/ how many things that don't want it to do that it can't do, and are therefore wandering around assuming their Kindle could display colour video or be used as a phone or supercomputer if they could only be bothered to find out how?
Targetting a new market?
Reading the comments here, I think that most people who already own a Kindle do not fit the target market for this new device. I am one of the many satisfied Kindle owners who likes the e-ink and and the simple focus on doing one thing well. I want my Kindle to read books, fullstop. I can't get used to reading on backlit devices, even the 4,3 inch screen on my Sensation hurts my eyes after using the Kindle app for a little while. I'm sure that Amazon will sell lots of its new toy, but at twice the price of the excellent and functionally almost perfect Kindle, it's of no interest to me.
Start stockpiling e-ink / long battery life Kindles now!
This so smacks of jumping on the ipad bandwagon it's hardly believable.
Yes, the Kindle is locked down. But for anyone who cares about DRM issues sufficiently, they can do a bit of Googling, and removing the DRM from eack book takes between 30-60 seconds.