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Old 01-15-2008, 03:42 PM   #1
KlondikeGeoff
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PC World reviews Kindle

A brief review of the Kindle in the current (Feb.) issue of PC World gives it pretty good marks. The writers states, "The device leaves some room for improvement, but it has succeeded in renewing my interest in reading ebooks."

Complete review here:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,139829/article.html

In another article in the same edition entitled "Today's Most Innovative Products, out of 25 the Kindle is number 5.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:15 AM   #2
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The writers states, "The device leaves some room for improvement, but it has succeeded in renewing my interest in reading ebooks."
I completely agree with this.
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:04 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by KlondikeGeoff View Post
A brief review of the Kindle in the current (Feb.) issue of PC World gives it pretty good marks. The writers states, "The device leaves some room for improvement, but it has succeeded in renewing my interest in reading ebooks."

Complete review here:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,139829/article.html

In another article in the same edition entitled "Today's Most Innovative Products, out of 25 the Kindle is number 5.
Kindle isn't innovative. iRex and Sony have been doing it already. Sorry, but if I had to say innovative among eink devices, I'd pick the iLiad.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:54 AM   #4
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Oh c'mon... The Kindle is innovative in two big ways:
1) People actually KNOW about it - Amazon has the chops to provide a decent amount of content
2) The insta-purchase option of all those books.

That alone puts it above a lot of the competition for a lot of users. Having been burnt by the ebook gadget a time or two before, I'm very aware of just how crappy a selection was available to me (and Sony certainly didn't improve it much with their new reader.)

Of course, that isn't everything (and personally, I couldn't care less - most of what I rea isn't going to be in anyone's book store)... and I'd agree the iLiad is a more impressive device all around - but there is a lot to be said for kickstarting the market and awareness, and all these devices will sell better once the Kindle becomes more popular because people will go "Oh, I want one of those! Oh... can't find it/too expensive/etc.... this sony one looks nice..."
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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I believe that the Kindle is innovative too. Not because it's an e-ink device, but because of the EVDO that's available on it without any subscription.
They created a new standard for the device/service duo.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:35 PM   #6
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Exactly.... It's a lot like the iPhone.

My old HTC-8125 could do just about everything the iPhone could do (and more, in some instances.) However, it was a pain in the butt to use. It required work to make anything work well on it, and in general wasn't quite ready for prime time.

But then the iPhone came out and suddenly "smart phones" were something everyone could use, and eventually, what everyone will expect. They took what was available and made it both easy and fun to use and brought it to the publics attention in a big way. That counts for a lot.

A similar situation occurred with the iPod. Are there better devices out there than your average iPod? Sure. But do they have a huge store with almost all the music they want just a click away and pain free syncing.

Some of us may be pretty willing to spend hours cobbeling together files to get them onto our devices but most people just want a one-click solution. Making it a one click solution is innovative.

I got, and took back, this week a Sony505. I loved it. I still love it. But it had two big problems - I'm on a Mac, and so I had to run the software through parallels if I wanted to use any purchased content. And not only did they have crappy selection, the software was slow, buggy, and a pain to use. Also, and importantly, the device had neither a search feature nor the ability to get things like newspapers and magazines on it easily (if at all in some cases.) I mean, sure... Libprs made getting the New York Times a breeze, but I still had to download it in one program, go to another program and add it, and then sync it with the device. However, if I wanted the Atlantic or something without an full RSS feed - I was SOL.

Easy is innovative. It may be the most innovative, because it is what allows people to actually use it.
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Old 01-25-2008, 01:56 PM   #7
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The thing that gets me is that Sony could make software to easily get your content and it seems they could also add search in firmware. It would be a little slower since it would have to use an on-screen keyboard or maybe the side buttons requiring multiple clicks per letter, but it could be done. Features like that take some developer time but it really doesn't seem like an expensive venture and a good RSS aggregator would, IMO, keep the Sony a very attractive option. "Takes a small amount of time but it's free" can compete with Amazon's "super convenient but costs a little money" option for blogs and news. That the 505 (aside from using the new screen) had so little improvement over the 500 makes me wonder if they're intending on staying invested in this market especially since we all knew Amazon was coming into play. They need to get off their butts if they want to stay competitive. Amazon just moved the bar a lot higher and they need to jump if they want to stay relevant.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:07 PM   #8
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I agree completely.... the problem really comes in at "why don't they?"

I mean, the in-device stuff is difficult and would take a lot of time.

But what excuse is there for the Sony Connect software? That is a remarkably shoddy piece of software to come out of a company as big as Sony. And why not set up a simple web interface to buy products if they don't want to make store versions for other OSes?

I really hated giving up my 505, but it came down to News and Search - both of which could be done, but weren't. And it's not exactly like Sony is new to this ebook thing.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:15 PM   #9
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I got, and took back, this week a Sony505. I loved it. I still love it. But it had two big problems - I'm on a Mac, and so I had to run the software through parallels if I wanted to use any purchased content. And not only did they have crappy selection, the software was slow, buggy, and a pain to use. Also, and importantly, the device had neither a search feature nor the ability to get things like newspapers and magazines on it easily (if at all in some cases.) I mean, sure... Libprs made getting the New York Times a breeze, but I still had to download it in one program, go to another program and add it, and then sync it with the device. However, if I wanted the Atlantic or something without an full RSS feed - I was SOL.
And if you want something Amazon doesn't have a subscription for, you are SOL^2
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:17 PM   #10
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And if you want something Amazon doesn't have a subscription for, you are SOL^2
Not really, you can use their web browser or Feedbooks or MobiPocket PC version 6.0 to generate content.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:21 PM   #11
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Yeah, Feedbooks will be able to send you RSS feeds the same way than we do for public domain books soon...
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:28 PM   #12
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What he ^^ said. I have those options, plus the paying options. And I don't mind paying for what I'm reading - especially since I'm not seeing the ads and such I would if I was visiting the site.

The biggest problem with media on these devices, aside from the ones you can purchase ala carte, is that most of these services are based on the rss feeds - and many of the primary media outlets only use partial feeds. And as exciting as it is to read a sentence per page per article.....

Luckily, some worked great. The NYT or BBC on the Sony Reader were astounding, but then you go to to any given feed like Slate or Salon and you're out of luck there, too.

The feeds in the sony software, of course, are an absolute joke. Some of which don't work at all, some haven't been updated in months, and others are partial feeds.

But ultimately, I'm not saying the Kindle is the superior device. It has a couple of features that are big for me, but that doesn't make it superior.

What is superior is that this device actually got people really talking and looking at ebooks as an option because they made it easy and managed the PR well. And that helps everyone.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:43 PM   #13
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Not really, you can use their web browser or Feedbooks or MobiPocket PC version 6.0 to generate content.
I'm pretty sure that feedbooks and mobipocket creator work only for content embedded feeds, i.e. feeds that have the article content in them. On the sony reader you can get arbitrary web content. To me that additional power blows wireless content delivery out of the water. But then, I'm a power user

And I don't think amazon is going to subsidize you surfing your favorite sites on the web forever. Now if they had included wifi support, that would have been something to talk about.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:10 PM   #14
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I'm pretty sure that feedbooks and mobipocket creator work only for content embedded feeds, i.e. feeds that have the article content in them. On the sony reader you can get arbitrary web content. To me that additional power blows wireless content delivery out of the water. But then, I'm a power user

And I don't think amazon is going to subsidize you surfing your favorite sites on the web forever. Now if they had included wifi support, that would have been something to talk about.
Not sure about this for Mobipocket Creator, the one time I tried this software for RSS feeds, it even displayed comments on the Techcrunch feeds. It was full-content, but with too much content in this case (unlike the PRS-500/505, the TOC is not as convenient on the Cybook, with a nested TOC on the Sony it's very easy to browse through items in a newspaper).
As for full-content feeds: some people already republish partial content feeds into full content feeds (those are available for the BBC). I really think that what you're doing with the content extraction Kovid could be useful to a lot of people, some of them would like to have full-content feeds on their Netvibes, iPhone etc... I really wonder why you don't switch to this approach instead of just the Sony Reader. There's also some easy content extractors available like Dapper, and I hope that in the near future, any user without programming skills will be able to create their own extraction system (or that most websites will understand that they should provide full content feeds with ads).

Concerning the Amazon feature: it's a push system, instead of a pull one. People with limited technical skills might find it worth paying for those blogs, if they get them automatically every morning. That's not my case, but we're not really "average users" around here.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:27 PM   #15
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In order to determine which device is "superior", one has to have a standard by which to measure each of the devices. I kind of doubt at this point that there is any singular standard by which all users are gauging each device aside from which device best suits their purposes. Note that this is a valid gauge on an individual level. In other words, the Kindle is a superior device for me because it offers the features that best suit my needs. That does not translate to the Kindle being the universally superior device.

For anyone who claims that one device is superior to the other on a universal scale, please tell me what standard you are using to determine that? For instance, one such standard (though potentially flaky) could be which is selling more units, thus implying more consumers are finding one device more useful to them than other devices.

Some of the things being complained about are not universally accepted as "bad" things. DRM, not everybody minds DRM. Strongly tied to Amazon, not everybody is concerned with that. The Kindle is ugly, not everybody agrees on that, etc. etc.

I don't know for sure, but I think I'm in the minority of people thinking that Amazon has been a very successful company so far and they didn't get that way because they were lucky. They are smart and they make good business decisions, generally speaking. While the Kindle may be a risk, it is probably a reasonably well calculated risk. It is in the nature of good businesses and good businessmen to take such risks from time to time in order for their business to grow. Assuming a degree of success, what they learn from their initial implementation of the Kindle can serve to improve their next iteration (should they decide to continue the line).

I can remember a few years back when Apple was having a difficult time competing with Microsoft. They were the "underdog" that many people were cheering on and MS was the big bad evil empire (LOL). Apple took risks with new innovations and has developed into quite a vibrant company. New I have seen people who have called Apple a big evil empire that wants to take over the world. Geez, cheer for them when they are down and kick 'em in the guts when they get back up.

So the moral of my little tirade? The Kindle is the superior device. For me.
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