The Amazon Kindle is a wireless eBook reader that allows you to download and read books, newspapers and notable blogs on-the-go. It does not require you to first have the book downloaded on your computer, but instead allows you to buy books directly from the Kindle online store and the book gets downloaded directly to the device in approximately 1 minute. The device does not use WiFi for its internet connection, instead using the cell phone high-speed data network, EVDO. A major bonus is that you don't pay for the wireless access, this is covered by a deal with Amazon and Sprint and accounts for the somewhat inflated Kindle price, although without an additional monthly bill this gets more acceptable.
You can also put e-books and other documents of your own on the Kindle. Files can be transferred from a computer directly using an included USB cable or by copying them onto an SD memory card. Kindle can read plain text files but documents in the Microsoft Word, HTML or PDF formats need to be converted. You can convert them yourself for free with the Mobipocket Creator program or you can email a file to Amazon and have them convert it. They will email the file back in a Kindle-compatible format. Amazon originally said it would charge 10 cents for sending a converted file directly to a Kindle via the wireless connection, but it is not doing so. There is no charge for sending a converted file back to your computer. There is one important limitation. The Kindle cannot read, and Amazon will not convert, e-books locked up with any digital rights management format other than the Kindle's. So you cannot read an e-book bought locked with Sony's or Microsoft's DRM.
Aside from the added features of the Kindle, the major improvement to the eReader industry in general is the Kindle's screen. Amazon used a patented technology called electronic paper, which provides a clear black and white display for easy reading using actual ink. The ink particles are displayed electronically, but don't require a backlight, thus you read the Kindle as you would any other book - with a good source of light by your side. This has obvious benefits such as no glare and the ability to read outside, a major complaint with past eReaders.
- Dimensions: 7.5" x 5.3" x 0.7"
- Screen: 6" diagonal, 600 x 800 resolution
- Weight: 10.3 ounces
- Battery life: with wireless - 2 days, without wireless - 7 days
- Battery charges in 2 hours
- Holds over 200 books
- Full QWERTY keyboard
- SD memory card slot
- Access to newspapers, magazines, blogs and Wikipedia
- Built-in dictionary
- Can display converted Word, PDF and HTML documents and images (gifs, jpegs, pngs)
- Search through your library through author, title and content
- Bookmark and annotate what you read
- 6 adjustable font sizes
- Built-in web browser (rudimentary)
- Blogs: $0.99/month for subscriptions
- Newspapers: $0.75 for a single issue, $13.99/month for subscription
- Magazines: $0.49 for a single issue, $1.49/month for subscription
- Email with file conversion: Although Amazon originally said it would charge 10 cents, it is not doing so