Despite the media hype on the Amazon Kindle, I am not convinced. I do have to admit, on the surface it does seem at least a little cool. It’s a viable alternative to actually touching dead trees in order to read a book, it does wireless in a somewhat innovative way, and it streams the latest news via nationwide newspapers and selected blogs. That sounds pretty promising, but that description is likely one that Amazon itself would use, or one that I would use in finding the few positives that I could about the device. Considering nearly every other factor, I would assume it’s a flop waiting to happen.
For one thing, this thing honestly looks to me as if it should have been released around 1998 or 1999. The case design and form factor is just that dated. In an era when we judge the iPod in our pocket over its sleekness and sexiness, boxed corners, egg whites, and cumbersome keyboards just don’t fit the bill. Plus, it’s self proclamation of being a PC-less device is one that reaks of the Palm. And then there’s the simple fact that it doesn’t come equipped with a touch screen. That’s simply a slap in the face to its own thesis. And let’s not even get into the asinine way that this thing nickels and dimes you to death to purchase content.
To be fair, this is mostly a first generation device. The idea of a “reader” isn’t entirely new, but having one that continually streams content is. And honestly, it’s quite compelling. I’m more than certain that this isn’t going to be the device to do it, though it will be interesting to see what the copycats and the inevitable Kindle 2.0 can do with the concept.
I don’t really think that the Kindle will be the bubble popper in of itself, but one that could spawn it if developers and designers were to utterly copy the idea. I don’t see that happening. Supposedly, this thing went through three years of R&D. It’s pretty apparent that it could have used at least one more. At least that three years wasn’t entirely wasted. Though this is a stupid, stupid product, I think that it’s laying the groundwork for the next company to pick up the idea and run with it. (Get to work, Apple!) The idea of a mobile PC-less “reader” is obviously compelling and one that could really take off if handled correctly, and not in the way as it was in the “Wild West” days of tech. Even though they had a really cool idea, I seriously doubt that Amazon will be the one to pull it off.