Sunday, November 18, 2007

Books rule

Tomorrow, Jeff Bezos and company will formally announce the Kindle. Its a rather ugly looking, but technologically adept electronic book reader. (sans backlighting) Its rumored (thanks to the FCC website) to have EVDO (Sprint), WiFi (Update - no WiFi), about 30 hours of reading operation and have access to close to 90,000 books at launch which should download in 2-3 minutes with the (rumored) connectivity. MSRP is $399 (again, rumored) and this is (rumored) supposed to include the EVDO service. Its also (rumored) to have email built in.

I'm thrilled to see built in EVDO, but its completely mismatched for the application (books). I think Amazon could easily get away with plain old wireless data - after all, we're talking text files here.

Funny, the device that SHOULD have EVDO (iPhone) doesn't, but this device that shouldn't, does. How ironic.

At $399, this device is near priced to low end PC laptops with WAY more capabilities. Do we assume that a bulk of the price is headed towards the wireless carrier (rumored to be Sprint)?

Nothing really makes business sense on this product.

The price is WAY too high. Who is it marketed towards? Can't be business travelers as I can't imagine anyone who wants to add another electronic gadget to the already overweight load of gear, plus its accessories. Home users? Doubt it. Elderly? Nope, eyesight problems with screens, let alone the technology hurdle. Kids? Yeah, right. Hmmm, who's left?

When it comes to reading, there's nothing better than a book. Turning pages, the feel of the paper, bookmarking with your boarding pass (a habit of mine) and the best part - no batteries or charging needed. Last time I checked, I never had that problem with a book.

Ok, I'm busted. I'm not, and never have been, a fan of eBooks. Its not that I don't think people like to read on their computer (ok, I do actually think people prefer books and print for recreational reading) but do we really need a new breed of specialized machines built just for this purpose? No way. Jeff should know better. IMHO - his personal stock is headed downward with this one. (I'm likening it to the stillborn Palm Foleo and how it changed
my personal view of Jeff Hawkins role as a visionary and technologist)

Now if Amazon gave them away for free .... there might be a business model in there someplace....

UPDATE - FSJ busted the Kindle on its design. (go figure)


Eric said...

Flight Attendant: "Sir, please turn off and stow all electronic devices for take-off."

"But....this is an e-book!"

Flight Attendant: "Don't make me call the FCC"

"Don't tase me bro!"

David said...

Good point. When they make that announcement, I put away my nano but keep reading my book. What, are you going to put away your eBook and crack out a paperback book to fill the void?