I've been carrying the Amazon Kindle around with me for a couple of days. I really want to love it – I really do.
It's a great start that I hope is quickly improved on. I admire what's been achieved. The attempt to make a device that's as pleasurable as the book and also allows reading of newspapers and magazines is a great idea and effort. I commend Jeff Bezos and his team for getting phenomenal press, and – according to Bezos – selling out in the first five hours it was available on Amazon.com. I hope the launch of the Kindle – after hints and alleged delays -- will spur others to get going on even better devices, and finally create that holy grail, the placemat size and strength machine that is touch screen, foldable, has all the wireless connectivity, a screen that's completely flexible to include a keyboard, or a writing template or a flat reading surface … even can be a TV-screen size video viewer.
Right now, the Kindle is light years away from any of that. Bezos, the Amazon founder and CEO and other exalted titles, told Charlie Rose and those of us attending his news conference that the purpose of the Kindle is to be a great way to read books. It's a bit better than most PCs, but it's still not quite there. For one, the screen size is a little to small and fits a bit less text at a legible text size than the normal book. It's not backlit, to save power, but this also means you need a fair amount of light to view it – so reading in bed with a sleeping partner next to you requires a book light. The "next" and "previous page" tabs on the sides drive me nuts, as it's impossible to hold the device and not accidentally hit those buttons, accidentally going a page forward or back on occasion. The back screen that comes off to insert an SD card is difficult to remove and replace. The non-standard keyboard is hard to use and understand, and there's a delay upon entering letters.
I know it's held back by e-ink technology that's not very advanced, yet. I understand that, as do many who know a little of the technology. But most people, simple users, probably don't care why something doesn't work just right. They just want it to work better.
Carrying the Kindle does beat carrying around a big, heavy, text book or any large hardcover, and can hold a couple hundred of those. So, I'm going to keep trying, throwing it in my bag, seeing how well it can sync (so far, not so well), etc. I'll let you know.
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