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53PRO SCORE
GIVE IT AN OVERALL RATING
2.63261296660118 62 5 0
2.63261296660118
509 VOTES

The Amazon Kindle is a wireless eBook reader that allows you to download and read books, newspapers and notable blogs on-the-go.

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Pros

No monthly bill for wireless access

31 agree

Electronic paper technology is awesome, real ink and you can read outside!

28 agree

Lightweight, only 10 ounces

24 agree

Wikipedia access

23 agree

Can also read blogs, newspapers and magazines

19 agree

Can download any free eBook and read it

14 agree

Screen uses real ink

13 agree

Notes, quotes and highlights saved in a simple text file

13 agree

ebooks purchased from one account on Amazon can be shared on 6 Kindles

13 agree

Compatible with any computer (Mac, Linux, Windows)

13 agree

Includes Internet browser

12 agree

Free software to convert PDFs

12 agree

Open ebook format - anyone can create Kindle books with free software

12 agree

Open publishing platform - anyone can sell books to Kindle users

12 agree

Dynamic scrollbar separate from display

12 agree

Amazon ebooks are cheaper than hardcovers

12 agree

Small; the size of, and even thinner than, the average book.

4 agree

firmware update (Nov 24 2009) adds native support for PDF format

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.
Cons

Blogs, newspapers, etc are limited to Amazon's choice

31 agree

Limited to buying from the Kindle store

27 agree

Doesn't support PDF (Sony Reader does)

26 agree

Can't share books with friends

21 agree

Only works in North America

21 agree

Not open to third-party development

20 agree

plain ugly

17 agree

Too expensive.

15 agree

$0.10 fee per file to transer documents from PC via Whispernet

13 agree

EVDO only - no WiFi

12 agree

No internet browser

11 agree

Tedious content management (No Folders)

9 agree

QWERTY keyboard is overkill

9 agree

Many Kindle books are nearly the same price as the hardback version

4 agree

No backlight.

3 agree

Mediocre image rendering

2 agree
  • Only 3 words are allowed.
Edit

 

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.

The Kindle offers two ways to read popular online newspapers (like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post), monthly magazines (like Forbes and Time) and notable blogs (like the Huffington Post, BoingBoing and Slashdot). You can pay a monthly subscription fee and Kindle automatically downloads the full text of the journal or blog without any user intervention for later offline reading. Or you can use the Kindle's built-in web browser to access any web site or blog for free over Sprint's EVDO network. The browser, though limited to black and white, displays images and supports javascript.

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.

The Screen

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.

Physical information
  • 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
Extra Features
  • 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)
Pricing
  • 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
Post Review
Mike-13
01/01/2008 12:37

What I have found that converting normal or easy text, word doc or pdf file to kindle is quite easy but if the pdf file consists of lot of images and tables the conversion process does not work properly and the whole layout of the ebook gets change.

Kindle is still in experimental stage in converting the complicated pdf file to kindle format, but very recently I came across one website which provide ebook conversion service along with kindle ebook conversion at very affordable rates, mostly for the PDF ebook which consists of tables and images which are quite tough to convert them to ebook format such as mobipocket, kindle or MS reader, but I have found that the above ebook conversion company converts these type of ebooks in more profession and efficient way at very reasonable rate.

Ampressman
11/25/2007 11:19

There is a lot misinformation out about the Kindle. You can read all the free classics on the web and download them to your Kindle. You can browse to any web site for free. You can convert PDF and Microsoft Word documents for free, either by emailing them to Amazon and back to your computer or by using the free software Mobipocket Creator. The 10 cent charge only applies if you email a document for conversion to Amazon for delivery directly yo your Kindle. Paperbacks are great but I also read a lot of thick, heavy hardcovers and Kindle is a cheaper, lighter alternative!

Prospero811
11/23/2007 11:07

Something doesn't sit right with me, the more I look into this product. I have wanted to by an eBook reader for years now. They all seem to have the same basic flaw: They are designed to limit what you can choose to read on them. I don't really want to order a lot of stuff from the Amazon Kindle website. My reading habits do not include most of the 80,000 mostly best sellers that they want to sell me. I want to read classics, many of which are not copyright protected anymore. I want to, in short, be able to Wi-Fi to the web - browse whatever site I want, download from any free or pay site that I want, and read what I want. For $400, I think that's not too much to ask for. I would also like WRITE on the thing. Why can't I sit on the plane or the train, and use the Querty keyboard to create a document? Why can't I use a stylus to make notes on a book or document I have saved? Why can't I highlight and underline?

I just did a quick search and laptop computers that can do all that this can do and far more can be purchased for $349 to $700. Why would I get this, other than portability? I just don't think portability is really worth that much. If it was $199, I'd think about it.

Omar
11/21/2007 10:10

The EVDO situation is interesting, while this is definitely targeted towards the American market for now, people do travel, so not supporting European wireless standards will obviously affect usability abroad.

Now, about the Internet connection. All the hands-on impressions I've read state the Kindle has a standard web browser which lets you surf the web in general. This of course has the benefit of letting you view blogs without having to pay the subscription price. But this also means you have Internet whenever, wherever without having to pay monthly subscriptions or anything. THAT is the revolutionary part to me that people aren't really talking about. Obviously the limitations of the device means you won't be watching YouTube anytime soon, but for having Wikipedia/ProdcutWiki handy at any time, that's pretty darn sweet.

As a corollary to that it's funny they allow unfettered Internet access while charging for e-mails. You don't get sent the actual e-mail, but instead are sent the attachments in the e-mail. And these attachments (PDF, .DOC) have to undergo a conversion process on Amazon's servers to the proprietary service. So I imagine the 10 cent charge goes to pay for the conversion AND the bandwidth charge.

Tyrion
11/20/2007 05:34

This seems to be a very interesting concept that has one minor and one major failing.

 

Minor failing: EVDO only. I'm not sure if offering EVDO only is the best option, it effectively means that you must use cell signals to use this device (from what I can see).

Why can't I use my home Wi-Fi connection? In a rural area it may be easier to hook a $50 Wi-Fi router up to a cable/ADSL (or, god forbid, dial-up) modem than go hunting for a EVDO signal. After all, we read books most at home so it makes sense to have Wi-Fi on this thing.

Second problem with EVDO is that you alienate all of us over here in Europe (or at least the parts I frequent). But from what I can see this is tied to contracts anyway, so that's out the door in any case.

 

Major Failing: Closed platform

What about the E-Books I already own? Any digital playback device should allow you to play back a file, regardless of it's source.

And what's the point in having a device that can only browser Wikipedia (maybe edit / comment) and Amazon's site? The entire point of a device that has the potential of accessing the internet is to give it just that... access to the internet. All of it. It has the potential to browse, comment and contribute to something like ProductWiki here, why not let people use if for that?

I think these guys are potentially scared of getting sued for allowing dubious content on this device (so they cut Wi-Fi and any other sync), and perhaps the cell companies wont allow them to use the device to browse the web untethered on their networks. If both of these are true they may have shot themselves in the foot by being too nice.

 

On a positive note, there are a few things I like.

The QWERTY keyboard is very appealing. I might not get a device with a QWERTY keyboard over a touch screen device, but I know many people who would.

Having an e-book reader with newspaper and magazine subscription support is superb, these are media which should be taking full advantage of readers like this, and now they can.

However, if we're paying for magazines and newspapers we should not be charged for blogs and E-mail. RIM do not charge per E-Mail (your carrier may charge for data transfer, but it seems like there is some deal here for a lifetime data plan or something). And 10 cents to receive e-mail? What on earth? That makes no sense, forward the E-mail as a text to your mobile.


So, to summarise:

  • Needs Wi-Fi (and UTMS if they want to branch outside North America)
  • Needs to open up to third party applications (full web browser)
  • Great to see Magazine and Newspaper subscriptions
  • Nice to have a device with a QWERTY keyboard
Omar
11/20/2007 10:13

While you can argue the fundamental merits of physical versus distribution, there are some people that do and will prefer the Kindle experience to a real book. And for them, I'm glad that a decent option now exists. Whether this heralds a new future of reading and consuming books, that is something I'm more skeptical of.

There is a lot to be said though about having something digital. As soon as you go digital the information and content can be remixed and shared in tons of new ways. Think about writing down some notes in a text book, and then sharing them with a friend across the country.

So this is an obvious first gen product. I do think that later generations could have a lot to offer. Think about if they go Kindle Touch, and make the surface a touch screen. You 'swipe' your finger across the screen to flip pages, you can write directly on the "page" with a stylus (which gets OCR'd for searchability). I can see the uses of it. And I do think it will become its own thing. For now it's a very limited product though.

Caian
11/20/2007 02:14

It seems that Kindle is the best iteration of the ebook to date. The only question is, why would anyone want an electronic book. The reason iPod has been a sensation is that it made the music listening experience fundamentally better, not just fundamentally different.

The best portable device for a book is the paperback. Honestly, it is. It's completely portable. You can take it to the beach. You can take it to the pool. You can pack in in your backpack. You can even sit in the bath with it. It never needs to recharge. And when your finished, you just toss it.

To me, Kindle is all about "vanity"... Bezos' vanity. He wants to have a "cool" product like Jobs. And since he sells a lot of books, he wants to have the "iPod of books". The only problem is, written content is not any better experience-wise by having it distributed through an electronic device. In fact, in many many ways, it's much worse.

And $400... give me a break!

Harmony
11/19/2007 10:00

The Sony reader is way better, this product would be great if it wasn't bogged down by all that DRM.

Alan
11/19/2007 05:09

Shouldn't the scroll wheel be on both sides for easy one-handed use?

Amanie
11/19/2007 03:26

While I don't think its hideous or anything, the device isn't exactly up to par with the sexiness of something like the iPhone.

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