My Back Still Hurts: Kindle Fails to Spark

25 Jun

Kindle DXAmazon’s Kindle DX was recently released after months of hype. One of its most anticipated features is its support for PDF documents (this means free books), and the ability for others to e-mail pictures and documents straight to your Kindle. Amazon has stated that it’s targeting on-the-go businesspeople and students who are looking to reduce their tomes of paper to a plastic tablet 1/3 of an inch thick.

As a business student, I’m thinking that this gadget would be perfect for me. E-books for the Kindle are typically half the price of their paper equivalents, and if that’s any indication of the savings I could see on my textbooks, I’m in. However, the Kindle’s lack of annotation support and a keyboard that has been described as typing on gummy Tic Tacs has me disappointed. At nearly $500 US, $100 more than a typical netbook, I expect better implementation.

Come on, Amazon. The Kindle has the potential to be revolutionary. Give me a $50 e-textbook and the functionality of a highlighter and a pen, and these things will be as ubiquitous on campus as bad decisions on a Saturday night.


2 Responses to “My Back Still Hurts: Kindle Fails to Spark”

  1. Anie June 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    You mention E-books for the Kindle being typically half the price of their paper equivalents. Those types of books aren’t in pdf format though and do have annotation support quite beyond what you get in the other current e-readers under $600.

    I have the Kindle 2 and just got the DX and that keyboard is inifinitely better for me than the Kindle 2 is. But if you think you can afford to try it, Amazon offers full refunds within 30 days if you decide it’s ot something you want to keep. The high price is due to always-available Internet access via a fast cellular data network – Sprint’s EV-DO. This normally costs between $30 to $60 per month with any other device but that is included with the Kindle unit, with no monthly wireless charge.

    They provide bookmarks for google, wikipedia, bbc news, some entertainment sites, to use with the rudimentary web browser, which supports javascript and SSL. You can of course just type in your own URLs. Flash and Java are not supported though. Cellular access is generally quite a bit slower for data than the home cable etc., but it does the trick when I’m away from my computers.

    – Andrys

  2. Charles Yu June 26, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Thanks for the thoughtful response Andrys.

    The Kindle brings a lot to the table and, in my opinion, is one of the best e-book readers on the market. It’s implementation and design is far superior to that of the Sony reader. However, if the Kindle wants to entice me, a keen student, it needs a better keyboard and better note-taking support for pdf’s in order for me to take notes on professor posted class notes.

    I’m excited to see what Amazon comes up with in the future. (How cool would a touchscreen be?) But, as a student, it doesn’t make sense to carry a $500 Kindle and a laptop to class when I want to take notes and simultaneously refer to my textbook. I can’t really afford this option either.

    I’m sure Amazon will crack this and I envy future students who don’t have to contend with 20lbs worth of Corporate Finance, Macroeconomics, Marketing Strategy and computer strapped to their backs.

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