Interesting development: the Amazon Kindle.
Here's video and a report and discussion.
Notice: there are more interesting videos lower on the page. (I had not even noticed the one at the top of the page until now, because for some reason that page does not display well in Safari 3.)
Update: Newsweek article. Quote:
The awesome technology of original books—and our love for them—will keep them vital for many years to come. But nothing is forever. Microsoft's Bill Hill has a riff where he runs through the energy-wasting, resource-draining process of how we make books now. We chop down trees, transport them to plants, mash them into pulp, move the pulp to another factory to press into sheets, ship the sheets to a plant to put dirty marks on them, then cut the sheets and bind them and ship the thing around the world. "Do you really believe that we'll be doing that in 50 years?" he asks.
Looks very promising. But typically, there's no word when it may be available outside that big country in the middle of North America.
I can see that they did not suceed in getting Jonathan Ive to design this gadget. It looks like it was made by the Empire in the first Star Wars movie.
OK, maybe the Kindle's design is not that bad. Though I think white was a poor color choice for it, it makes the e-paper look dirty-white. At least in pictures.
A good e-book reader would solve a problem I often have: I like to read in bed, but many of the books I like to read are just too big and heavy to do this comfortably. I shock my friends by cutting books into two or three slices for easier reading.
(OK: breathe. It's just a book. :) And if it's an important one, I buy two copies.)
TTL commented, re Europe:
There may be issues with the wireless connection protocol it's using, EV-DO. I don't think this is very widely deployed here in Europa. In fact, this is the first time I even hear this acronym.
Not that it means anything. I hate wireless communications and pride myself in not knowing anything about it.
That's how I feel about sports. Beckham who? Oh, Posh's husband.
Anyway, it uses normal cell phone technology it seems, so it should be able to made work here.
Of course they have to make deals with the phone carriers first.
Viewing the videos, I'm getting quite interested in this device. And if I got out more and travelled more, I'd be really interested, because I never go anywhere without reading material, but many books and magazines are quite heavy, so you can only have a couple, this thing can have hundreds or thousands, and can get new stuff on the road, near-instantly.
It will be nice when you can get almost all new books for this kind of device. Another advantage I just though of is that some books just have too tiny type. There is one book I have which I really want to read, but the type is so damn tiny that it's almost painful to read. E-book readers will solve this. We are not all as young as we were. (My middle age hit last year at 43, when I suddenly got long-sighted. I bought some expensive varifocals, but they are not all that great, sharpness is not good when you look to the left or right. This is so for all varifocals.)
Man, with these videos, Amazon has really taken a page from Apple's (e)book, they are totally similar to the promotional videos Apple has been making for the last couple of years. And no surprise, really, those are well worth emulating, a wonderful promotional tool, with the celebrity testimonials and all.
I wonder how Amazon and Apple produce those testimonials. They sound just too perfect, they sound like actors have been paid to say just what the company would love to hear them say. But these are always big names, and I'm sure that they are not bribed and that most of them wouldn't take bribes anyway. It's not that I can't believe that they like the products so much, it's just that the way they say it is too perfect.
... Oh no: Neil Gaiman calls the device "an e-book". That's what these things are going to be called when they get popular, isn't it? And the files are called "e-books" too, so there will be no end to that confusion.
I just found out from Neil Gaiman that he lives in a part of the US where they can't get same-day delivery of any of the major national newspapers. Coming like I do from a small, well-connected country like Denmark, this is totally astonishing to me.
... Holy frick, Jeff Bezos is a year younger than me.