Last week, Amazon released a Kindle reader application for the iPod Touch and the iPhone. The application is meant to be used as an adjunct to the Kindle device. Not having an iSomething, I cannot comment on how well it works, but judging from what I have read and heard, the application is OK, nothing great. Those who have a device AND an iSomething seem to like it. At least one review I saw, by someone who does not have the device, was generally negative. It was as if the reviewer just did not get the whole eReader thing.
Of course, the software release reKindled the whole debate over the device and whether it will succeed. Well, of course it-or another device-will succeed. This is a burgeoning market and will, one day, be just as prevalent as mp3 players and GPS devices. Kindle 2 appears to be the first big step. I have to ask, though, why.
What I mean by that is this: Kindle 2 is just an evolutionary step from Kindle 1. I suspect that it is the form factor that has wowed people and not it’s functionality. Kindle 2 does not do much more than Kindle 1 does-aside from the text to speech ability. No, I think it is the sexiness more than anything else. The Kindle 2 is more Apple-ish in design and I think that is why it has struck a cord, at least in the tech press. Most of the people who are gushing over the device are Apple advocates.
Regardless of who is talking about the device, EVERYONE has to mention the price. Yes, $359 is a lot of money for the device. However, those same people seem to miss several key points. The big one is that you get built in wireless access. This is huge. Yeah, it is there mainly to allow for the purchase of Amazon product, but you have a built in browser. You have access to great deal of information for almost no money. For me, this nearly makes the high price worthwhile. Another point that seems to get lost is that this thing IS a computer. It has memory, a CPU, an operating system and runs Java. Granted, it is currently a closed system but so is are the iSomethings. You cannot do anything with them without ‘jailbreaking’ them or getting your content approved and spoon fed by Apple. I don’t really see much difference between Amazon charging a more premium price than Apple overpricing the iSomethings.
I love the Kindle. I really never thought I would like the device as much as I do. My only problem is that, lately anyway, I just don’t have a lot of time to sit down and just read. But, vacation is around the corner and, I suspect, I’ll be using it quite a bit.
For an interesting read on the Kindle, check out this article over on Gigaom.