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Last post Author Topic: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader  (Read 14493 times)

Ralf Maximus

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Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« on: November 19, 2007, 12:37:57 PM »
Just announced, Amazon's Kindle eBook reader.
1119kindlefr347x348.jpg

Weighs just 10 oz., has build-in wi-fi, costs $399, and handles a variety of eBook formats.  Naturally, you can browse Amazon directly and click the "Buy" button to download books seamlessly.  It'll store about 200 books in memory at a time and features a display optimized to look "just like paper".

I've evaluated eBook readers in the past and found them wanting.  The technology has been clunky, and manufacturers seem to go out of business constantly, leaving users of proprietary eBook formats out in the cold (I'm looking at you, RockIt).  This one has the backing of Jeff Bezos' insane fortune, combined with the throw-weight of Amazon's 600 pound gorilla.  How can it fail?

I'm not sure if it'll revolutionize the eBook experience as all the hype suggests, but it will certainly reKindle interest in this mostly forgotten library branch of the paperless experience.

Lashiec

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 12:50:07 PM »
Sony also released one recently, Ars Technica have a review of it. The price is the same, what a coincidence :P

Personally, I think (and I really wish) that this will be the future of books. The vision of carrying tons of books in a small piece of hardware is really appealling to me. Of course, if manufacturers continue to add the damn DRM, non-standard formats, and high prices, both for hardware and for books, I think I'll let someone to continue making paper out of trees, thank you.

Edvard

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2007, 01:25:00 PM »
What's the display like?
Is it traditional lcd or the new e-paper stuff?

ljbirns

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 02:35:51 PM »
 " but it will certainly reKindle interest "   I love that line.

I for one am interested in a reader.  I looked at the Sony last year, but just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger . But I would really like to try before I shell out $ 400.00.

Lew


Lew

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 02:42:41 PM »
What's the display like?
Is it traditional lcd or the new e-paper stuff?

It's not the fancy bendy ePaper such as you cite.  It's a traditional rigid LCD panel.  But...

"Utilizing a new high-resolution display technology called electronic paper, Kindle provides a crisp black-and-white screen that resembles the appearance and readability of printed paper. The screen works using ink, just like books and newspapers, but displays the ink particles electronically. It reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, eliminating the glare associated with other electronic displays. As a result, Kindle can be read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room.The screen never gets hot so you can comfortably read as long as you like."

That's from the Amazon web site.  From the photos I'd guess it's an extremey dense LCD display with LED backlighting, possible for the price since it's only black and white.  I imagine there's some heavy-duty antialiasing software in there too.

Oh, and here's a quick head-to-head with the Sony reader, via Popular Mechanics:
http://www.popularme...32344.html?nav=RSS20

justice

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2007, 05:34:23 PM »
Yeah its great, and they've got most of the network and buying experience sorted which is the real dealmaker here.. However looking at the hardware and iTunes store I can't help but fear that Apple iReader will come along and hit it in the head with an multi-touch based reader blowing it out of the water. However, this is one of those 'the future is here' devices I can't wait to see widespread adoption and a multitude of devices like these working to common standards...

Lashiec

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 09:10:53 AM »
God, an iReader... NO! >_<

Unless they don't go the iPhone route, unlikely anyway.

Edvard

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2007, 10:37:01 AM »
Ralf:
Reading your quote, I deduce it is the electronic paper stuff.
Quote
It reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting
LCD's require a backlight. Even LCD watch displays depend on a reflective background to make the numbers visible.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2007, 12:11:04 PM »
I was just reading an article that says it doesn't use a normal WiFi system but rather:

"Downloads are done via Amazon Whispernet, using the EVDO network"

See http://blogs.zdnet.c...7096&tag=nl.e539 for the article.

I don't know what EVDO is.

Having said that I can understand the idea of having computer manuals and other reference books in this format provided your investment is guaranteed protected - but (and it is a big BUT) the books will be locked to one device - what happens when it dies?

Also I have been stung with eBooks before - what happens when you buy an eBook and need to download it again? As far as I can tell this is supposed to be possible from Amazon but in the past I have been unable to redownload eBooks from Amazon because publishers have withdrawn them from the eBook market.

Given that the library size is limited is there a way to store books on other media (such as a computer hard disk)? It seems to suggest that it doesn't need to interface with computers at all - even to purchase and download books. Does this mean you are relying on Amazon to manage your library within your Amazon account and allow books to be grabbed from your library on the fly?

Finally would anyone choose to read a novel on this sort of device - there is no way I want to lie in bed with a glowing lump of plastic glaring at me instead of a comforting paperback that can happily drop on the floor without problems when I drop off to sleep!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 12:13:55 PM by Carol Haynes »

mouser

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2007, 06:39:28 PM »
reviews are coming in (let's collect them on this thread):

Amazon Kindle eBook Review (Verdict: Confusing, Expensive...but Promising)
http://gadgets.boing...-kindle-ebook-1.html

Quote
It's just too damn expensive.

Worse, the $400 premium just to get the Kindle reader isn't the last fee you'll pay. I'm not talking about paying for eBooks from Amazon, which are priced typically at $10 or less, but for the additional fees tacked onto the data—the words—that are pushed down to the Kindle automatically. Subscribing to a blog via the Kindle service costs $2 a month. Newspapers run around $15 a month. All for information currently available for free via the web and RSS syndication, not from copyright violators, but straight from the publishers themselves. (Boing Boing is also available via Kindle's blog service. We are also available on the web.)

The reason, I suspect, for the nickel and diming from Amazon is the always-on EVDO connection. While some of the cost that must be paid to the wireless carrier are surely cooked into the initial price of the Kindle, the costs tacked on to content subscriptions are an attempt to recoup charges Amazon will incur from Sprint over the life of an active device.

justice

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2007, 12:50:14 AM »
I was just reading an article that says it doesn't use a normal WiFi system but rather:

"Downloads are done via Amazon Whispernet, using the EVDO network"

See http://blogs.zdnet.c...7096&tag=nl.e539 for the article.

I don't know what EVDO is.

Having said that I can understand the idea of having computer manuals and other reference books in this format provided your investment is guaranteed protected - but (and it is a big BUT) the books will be locked to one device - what happens when it dies?

Also I have been stung with eBooks before - what happens when you buy an eBook and need to download it again? As far as I can tell this is supposed to be possible from Amazon but in the past I have been unable to redownload eBooks from Amazon because publishers have withdrawn them from the eBook market.

Given that the library size is limited is there a way to store books on other media (such as a computer hard disk)? It seems to suggest that it doesn't need to interface with computers at all - even to purchase and download books. Does this mean you are relying on Amazon to manage your library within your Amazon account and allow books to be grabbed from your library on the fly?

Finally would anyone choose to read a novel on this sort of device - there is no way I want to lie in bed with a glowing lump of plastic glaring at me instead of a comforting paperback that can happily drop on the floor without problems when I drop off to sleep!
EVDO is as far as I understand it (part of) Sprint's mobile network. Sprint is an american network carrier. It could be using something like 3g here in Europe. Also as you can redownload all purchases at any time for free I suspect they are linked to the amazon account not to the device?

nosh

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2007, 01:59:31 AM »
Quote
The very surprising thing is that you’ll have pay a monthly rent to Amazon for every blog that you want to read on Kindle. For instance, Scobleizer will cost $.99 per month if you read it on Kindle.

You will have to pay Amazon for reading even your Word Documents or viewing your personal pictures on Kindle. You will first have to email that text or doc file to a special email address which converts it into a Kindle compatible format and then it become available on Kindle. Total cost - $.10.

http://www.labnol.or...der-video-demo/1810/

justice

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2007, 03:30:24 AM »
It comes with USB cable doesn't it so you can convert your documents without payment.

J-Mac

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2007, 03:41:24 AM »
USB cable so you can back your ebooks up on your computer if you wish. Also (and this is a plus for me) it can read some existing formats, including PRC and MOBI - I have lots of PRC and MOBI. However I cannot find out if I can activate paid for secure ebooks on it.

Also, has anyone seen the "drop test" video? They show a Kindle dropped on every side from about a yard (meter) high. Funny, and they don't say if it was operable after the drops. But it didn't look damaged.

Jim

rjbull

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2007, 06:08:19 AM »
Finally would anyone choose to read a novel on this sort of device - there is no way I want to lie in bed with a glowing lump of plastic glaring at me instead of a comforting paperback that can happily drop on the floor without problems when I drop off to sleep!

I heard from someone who claimed to read blockbuster nineteenth century novels on her Palm while waiting in line in queues!  Which makes me wonder why anyone would buy an eBook-only device, when they could have the functionality of a PDA.

Don't think I'd have the patience for queues that long, though...



Ralf Maximus

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2007, 07:42:07 AM »
Finally would anyone choose to read a novel on this sort of device - there is no way I want to lie in bed with a glowing lump of plastic glaring at me instead of a comforting paperback that can happily drop on the floor without problems when I drop off to sleep!

True enough, books are the superior interface technology.  But where eBook readers shine is when travelling -- soooo much easier to toss a small gadget in your backpack than six or eight paperback books.  Different tools for different jobs, baby!

I heard from someone who claimed to read blockbuster nineteenth century novels on her Palm while waiting in line in queues!  Which makes me wonder why anyone would buy an eBook-only device, when they could have the functionality of a PDA.

Because reading a book from a PDA sucks.  It can be done, I have done it, but man... those things are not optimized for the task.  It's like watching a 2-hour movie on your phone.  Sure, people do it, but it's not exactly a pleasant experience.

rjbull

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2007, 07:49:57 AM »
I heard from someone who claimed to read blockbuster nineteenth century novels on her Palm while waiting in line in queues!  Which makes me wonder why anyone would buy an eBook-only device, when they could have the functionality of a PDA.

Because reading a book from a PDA sucks.  It can be done, I have done it, but man... those things are not optimized for the task.  It's like watching a 2-hour movie on your phone.  Sure, people do it, but it's not exactly a pleasant experience.

Fair enough - she said you can easily increase the text size, but you'd be constantly paging down and it wouldn't be comfortable.  But there's no reason you couldn't have a Kindle-sized PDA with e-Paper screen, and that might be a better bet.


Ralf Maximus

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2007, 05:19:45 PM »
Quote
Fair enough - she said you can easily increase the text size, but you'd be constantly paging down and it wouldn't be comfortable.

My experience in a nutshell.  It works, but you have to "page down" constantly.  And since most PDAs are not intrinisically designed for reading volumes of text, simple niceties like returning to the last page read are crippled or non-existant.  Note this is a failure of the eBook reading client, but dedicated readers don't suffer from this.

Quote
But there's no reason you couldn't have a Kindle-sized PDA with e-Paper screen, and that might be a better bet.

Agreed.  There's hope yet that a dedicated eBook reader with common sense features will emerge, and that the price will be attractive.  Is Kindle the answer?  Probably not.  But if it takes off then cheaper knock-offs are sure to follow.

iphigenie

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2007, 05:25:09 PM »
I doubt it works in the bath... >>> back to books

nosh

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2007, 01:21:59 AM »
Anyone who's tried reading a 4 kg programming manual in bed knows the advantage of having an electronic copy on a portable device.

Grorgy

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2007, 01:34:54 AM »
Quote
I doubt it works in the bath
Maybe not but soggy books are a bit difficult to lol

Lashiec

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2007, 04:56:11 PM »
Anyone who's tried reading a 4 kg programming manual in bed knows the advantage of having an electronic copy on a portable device.

Indeed. And big books break easier than smaller ones. Ask my copy of "Sophie's World", its spine is totally bent.

A touchscreen would easily clear away most of the problems of modern readers compared to books.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2007, 06:41:29 AM by Lashiec »

Nod5

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2007, 04:06:21 AM »
I can also see many advantages with this. First, given some thin, additional protective housing (think camera housing for underwater usage) it might even work in water! What a dream - being able to freely combine two of the most worthwile human activities: reading and bathing! ;D

I general, I think the greatest market for this at the moment would be for academics and others to replace their reading of PDF journal articles on their regular computer screen or printing PDF articles on paper to read. For that, there's no need for DRM handling, an ebookstore or wireless connection. It just needs to display PDF files as good, easily and cheaply as possible.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2007, 05:49:38 AM »
Another review with some pros and cons (and a few more details of the product) at http://www.webware.c...0-2.html?tag=nl.e776

mouser

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Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2007, 10:00:10 AM »
I think i'll wait for the next generation, but i love that amazon is reviving and advanced the ebook device status quo.