Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Amazon Kindle models (updated several times as the story unfolds)

(See? Toldja.)
Amazon has released two new aggressively priced Kindle models, one with wifi only, and one with wifi plus 3G (mobile phone connection).

They are proud of the improved screen contrast, and the low contrast has been perhaps my biggest issue with the Kindle (neck to neck with the slow interface), so when it comes to the UK, perhaps I'll git one.
... Well, I'll be durned, it's already in the UK, how unusual! (Well, OK, you can order it now, but it ships only in late August.)

OK, I'll bite. For me, the 'pad is the heavyweight in ebook readers, but unfortunately that goes for the literal meaning of the word too, so maybe the new Kindle can, well not deliver a knock-out, I don't expect that, but at least go a few rounds. And the price is nice.
And it actually fits in my inside jacket pocket. The old one does that, so I guess the new one will fit in a large trouser back or side pocket.

... I ordered the one with only wireless. But then I realized that like always, the 3G connection does not have a charge, so I might as well throw in a couple tenners more and get that capability too, just for the odd occasion I need it. But it's a great idea to have the cheaper option for those don't need the 3G.

I think it's a bit irritating though that they have "done an Apple", and like with the iMac and so on, don't give names or even numbers to the various generations of Kindle. It's just the "Kindle". How about at least the "Kindle 3" or something? (Or is it 4 now? See, I'm already confused.) Numbering would even spur people on to upgrading, to avoid the social embarrassment of not having the latest generation! (I'm not saying that's sane, but it's business.)

I like the new smaller and slimmer design (same screen size). And that it's dark grey ("graphite" is the popular term), which will help the grey background seem lighter. I always thought the white design was a mistake.
Also, the new four-way switch seems much more finger-friendly than the dumb little stick on the Kindle2.

Ah yes, the video lower on the Amazon page reminded me of one more advantage it (still) has over the iPad: it's way easier to make it read out loud to you. This really needs fixing on the 'pad, where it's a fiddly thing, even if you have acquired the software to do it.  

Here's another interesting tidbit from the video: "access over 9000 blogs on your Kindle"... I wonder if they still charge for that?
... Seems so. Though I've not yet been able to actually find the blogs on the Kindle, a bit odd. But I have signed up to get my blog on it, worked on it for half an hour, only to find out that so far it's only available to people with a US billing address and bank account! Heck, what a pity.  I would have hoped they would at least tell people up front, so as not to waste anybody's time. ... Update: there's more good news: I can't even *read* the blogs on my Kindle since I'm not in the USA. How very, very unfortunate and odd. Blogs are international, the most international thing in the world, why this barrier? Of course Amazon is not alone in having this issue, but it just seems... outdated to put it very mildly, to have national barriers on online content. And I can faintly understand it when it is, say, music where there are already contracts nationally, but blogs? Really?
... OK, this mollifies it somewhat. From the UK kindle page:
"A new store designed for the UK is coming on August 27. With the biggest selection of any e-bookstore in the UK, you can shop more than 400,000 books, including bestsellers and new releases. UK and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs, plus more than 1 million free books, will also be available."

So that might be why the video claims that UK customers can read blogs on the new Kindle, which also only comes in late August.
Here's a survey: who's the most beautiful, the café girl in the US video, or the café girl in the UK video? 


ttl said...

(See? Toldja.)


I told you here that in the fall, Amazon would be releasing a new Kindle with a higher contrast E-Ink 2 display.

The device will start shipping in August, so my prediction came to pass 100%.

But that's not all. In that comment, I also wrote that those ”who were distracted by the iPad will once again flock to the Kindle.”

Reading about your latest toy purchase above, it seems I was absolutely correct on all counts! :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

It seems you were. Spot on.
I just wonder: they only talk about the text being darker. For me the issue is that the *background* is not light enough. I hope that has changed too, but it's not clear if it has.

(My "toldja", deliberately obscure, was to the voices who hinted that I only write about Apple gadgets. I had just told people yesterday that as soon as somebody else made a gadget as important as the iPad, I'd write about that too. :-)

ttl said...

Amazon says 50% better contrast. Seems like such an improvement would necessitate widening the gamut from both ends.

Unless the blacks were really dull gray before. But it doesn't look that way from the photos I've seen.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Exactly. The blacks look, well, at least much closer to black that the "white" is to white. (It's middle-grey, not even light grey.)

So I think you're right. I just keep waiting for them, or somebody, to *mention* the lightness of the background, I feel like I'm at a dinner party where the cook has dropped a pound of salt in the soup, and nobody is saying anything.

Anonymous said...

You can avoid those problems altogether by buying a real book.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

You'd think, but by now I actually *prefer* to read on my iPad, where I can set the brightness exactly as I want it, and the font size and type just as I want it.

The weight issue I have solved with a book holder.