I don’t know how many of these bad boys have arrived in the UK yet, but the person who’s kindle I played with yesterday claimed theirs was one of the first! Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure – but one thing is clear – Kindle, with support for Euro 3G, is definitely here!
To rewind a little: the Kindle is Amazon’s play in the e-book reader space – and Amazon have one huge advantage over other e-book reader manufacturers … can you guess what it is?! Yep, the (arguably) critical area of content! To say that Amazon know a bit about selling books is possibly the understatement of the year!
So Amazon have got some hardware in to the marketplace, which has been established for some time – when I say marketplace of course, what I actually mean is the US domestic marketplace (officially) – but in the last few days, the informally-titled ‘Kindle 2’has appeared, rocking 3G and EDGE support for European mobile networks.
What makes this more interesting from my perspective is that the device can supposedly roam on any major network in most countries, and you don’t pay the data fees for doing your book downloads. Schweet!
Because the Kindle display uses E Ink®, you should theoretically get huge battery life, since the power needed to maintain screen display of a given page is close to zero. Balancing that surely would be the high power consumption needed to stay attached to a 3G network, but it is possible to turn the wireless connection off (you only need it if you are pushing content to your device).
So what is the thing like to play with? Well I just had five minutes to fiddle with one yesterday, and overall, I came away impressed. The form factor of the device is very Apple-esque, and this is no chubby wonder – its very thin indeed, with a brushed metal back, and off-white facia, wrapping a 6-inch screen.
The screen looks ‘passive’ – that is, there’s no light emitted from it, and it’s probably the closest thing you can get to looking at paper, whilst at the same time being represented electronically. Checking out some pages from a book that was pre-loaded, the text reads nice and clearly, and monochrome images even display nicely too. There are big next/previous page buttons, a navigation control (joystick), and a full keyboard.
Presumably the keyboard is useful when you are pushing and pulling stuff from your Amazon drop-box – a bit like an email account and FTP account rolled in to one, as I understand it. All the books you by are dropped there for the Kindle to pick up, plus you cans send documents you want to read later to there also.
I’m not sure what the long-term reading experience is like on the device – but certainly it’s capacity is far in excess of one book – so if you read a lot, it’s going to be up there among the range of options you might consider to use – that wireless connection does make in convenient too! One thing I’m not sure/keen about is the price – $269 (for the internal version, 6” screen) is quite a bit in my mind – perhaps I am just being a bit scrooge-like in my old age though!
Overall then, a neat innovation – I like the addition of wireless, and if it can do a couple of other things well too (I didn’t have time to check in 5 minutes!), then I’d think about buying one.. of course if Amazon UK want to send me a unit to review, I can give you all a more detailed overview!
Check out more on the Kindle here.
[Images via: Amazon.com]