March 3, 2009

Kindle 2 roundup

A Brief Round-up of the reactions (of others and my own) to the Kindle 2 introduction...

The Text-To-Speach feature was unexpected (by me), and I can only think that is what the speakers are for. So, maybe it can now read your book to you when you are driving or something similar?

Will text-to-speach books give audio books a run for their money? 
I doubt it, but I´m not much of an audio book fan and so maybe not very representative....any big audiobook readers out there?

The US authors guild's negative reaction to the feature has lead to Amazon back-tracking and now planning to make its use on a book an attribute of the digital work. 

If this feature was a bigger deal, then I might have a more negative reaction to the author's guild's stance and rant about how retrograde they are.....but honestly, I don't think it's that important either way.... It does provide some insights into the mentality of the "book establishment" regarding emerging technologies for reading that mirrors some of those we've seen for Music and Film over the recent years.

The sale of digital books has hit mainstream (mainly, but not only, thanks to Amazon and the Kindle) in the past 2-3 years relatively smoothly, if you compare it to music, napster, iTunes and the RIAA.

The 16 grey levels, versus 4 on the original kindle, should bring the Kindle's "print" quality closer to the iRex devices which have always lead on this front, and help.

The slightly faster page turn (quoted as 20% faster) is another incremental improvement that will make it more palatable (or less objectionable) to some people.

Note that the vertical LCD strip is gone. Presumably they feel the speedier screen updates (taking advantage of that Broadsheet display controller I mentioned in earlier posts) are fast enough to not need a separate LCD display for navigation and selection. This makes the overall product dsign sleeker.

Battery life (and lack of concern about being left without battery and always looking for a power outlet) is one of the major advantages of eBook readers. 

The 25% improvement in battery life in the Kindle 2 is a welcome improvement. But they still haven't been able to match the Sony PRS eReader which can specify battery life by number of page turns (being totally off when viewing a page). 

The Kindle's wireless connectivity makes achieving that more difficult, but I suggest that they could have looked at managing the wireless differently and going for periods of operation where the device is totally off while reading.

It has seven times more storage than the Kindle 1, taking advantage of the very low cost of Flash these days, leaving it at 2GBytes.

The main complaint people have with this is that Amazon have removed the SD slot, thus the internal storage is the only storage.

The cynical among us might think this is to push more use of the Amazon service to send content to the device for reading (and charging for it) while on the move. 

You still have USB for connecting and loading content, but off-course that involves a computer and is not so comfortable while on the go (as an alternative SD card would be).

Personally, I think it's a bit of a non-issue. 2G is more than enough to get you between infrequent computer connections for upload when combined with the Whispernet delivery service for "timely news delivery".

“Whispersync,” a new synchronization technology Amazon is introducing with the Kindle 2. Whispersync automatically syncs with the original Kindle and Kindle 2, along with future as-yet unannounced devices"
Could this be my sync feature across mobile phone devices and Kindle2s that I postulated on in my earlier post?
"Whispersync bookmarking -- if you start reading a book on one Kindle, you can pick up again on any other Kindle automatically"
I suspect that is just a place holder for other mobile devices that are in some way different from the Kindle e.g. mobile phones. So when you don't have your Kindle for some reason, then you can read away (on your other mobile device), and then when you can, you get the better reading experience, continuing on your Kindle where you left off on your phone.


Anonymous said...

I like your page. hope for more info soon. Btw speech is s-p-e-e-c-h

No harm intended. Thank you for your blog


Andrew Mackenzie said...

Thanks for the comment David.

I outsourced that part of my brain (spelling) to a spell-checker, but it can't catch these mistakes and I should have..... so thanks for the reminder.


Tim T said...

More on Whispersync and other devices - namely the iPhone: