Today Amazon introduced Kindle, it's new wireless reading device. It does seem kind of clunky when you see it in photos, as many have commented. Hopefully, it is a bit less so in person.
Kindle includes free wireless access based on the Sprint EVDO cellular network. It costs $399 which partially subsidizes the cost of the wireless. It sells new books for $9.99 and apparently many books will be priced lower. You can download a book in about a minute wirelessly. No need for a computer to be in between your Kindle and the store. That's moving in the right direction.
This is mainly a text-oriented device. You don't get pictures. It seems to have a web browser of limited functionality as a part of it. I'm curious about that to see how bad and limited it is.
I've been wanting an affordable eBook for a long time. I always felt they were charging way too much for eBooks. If you can afford to pay the initial $400 price of admission, the books you buy will indeed be more affordable.
All the big book publishers have signed up for this. Ninety thousand books are already available. You can read the first chapter free before deciding whether to buy a book. Amazon wants to make Kindle the iPod of the Book selling world.
The best favorable article about this is the lead story in Newsweek by one of my favorite tech writers, Steven Levy. It is entitled The Future of Reading. Check it out if you are interested.
The reason I'm writing is that I suspect that Apple may not want to cede the digital book reader market to Amazon. It's funny that Amazon just started aggressively competing with iTunes recently.
Maybe the rumors of an iPhone-like device with a 1.5x larger screen will come true sooner rather than later now that Kindle is out the door. It would sure look better than Kindle.
It's interesting that the iPhone specifically doesn't target books. It's hard to carry around text content on your iPhone while music and photos are emphasized. I think Amazon is smart to narrowly focus on their strength. I doubt Apple will introduce a focused device. They just might include some of this capability.
Amazon has the book trade connections and they are good at web apps. Let's see how they do against the master of digital devices. I'm waiting a while to see how things develop. I would jump on this bigger iTablet in a flash but I'm still curious and wanna see what the Kindle can do.
Cheaper books on a nice light (10 oz) screen from Amazon sounds like a great way for me to limit my physical book purchases. I don't have room in my new place for more books, frankly. And, I'm getting to be less enthused about collecting physical books at this point in the dawn of the digital age.
I have my qualms about a device that is designed from the get go as a monopolistic service. You buy your stuff from Amazon. If you want to read blogs, you must pay for a subscription. This goes antithetical to the trend of the free, ad-based web we are used to. And the web has color and images and even video everywhere.
All I need is one more device to carry around. I'm glad Amazon is in the ring helping to bring books into the digital domain.