Amazon released a new product called Kindle, a portable wireless ebook reader. There have been many ebook readers in the past, but none have become popular. Amazon says it spent about 3yrs in designing the Kindle product. I briefly looked at it and my first reaction is that the gadget is not sexy. I mean, when you look at an iPod or iPhone, you feel the desire to own it, partly because of it’s looks (don’t deny!). The things I didn’t like are the plastic look and the odd shape with sharp corners.
I think the odd look is perhaps due to ergonomics. If you own a iPod Video or an iPone, you know how cool the round corners with a steel casing (not to mention the etching of an apple with a bite out of it).
Keeping the looks aside, the gadget has some good features. First and foremost, it’s weight of 10.3 ounces (292 grams or less than 1/3 of a kg) should make it easy to carry it like a book. They have something called “electronic-paper display” which supposedly makes the viewing experience close to the real paper. It’s wireless capabilities allows connecting it directly to the Kindle store, so there is no need for the middle-man, I mean the computer, to do all kinds of syncing and juggling. What’s best is, the wireless is based on a technology similar to the cell-phones (Whispernet™). What that means is, no need to search for a hotspot while traveling and better yet, no wireless access fee to purchase from the Kindle store. They even allow you to surf the wikipedia.org for free!
Overall, for book lovers or gadget lovers, this can be one of the best gift idea for the coming holidays!
Also, I think, with Kindle, Amazon is trying to do with books, what Apple did with iPod/iTunes combination for music.