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Old 08-25-2008, 03:58 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Report: Not one, but several Kindle successors in the works!

Eagle-eyed Madam Broshkina stumbled over this colorful tidbit about the rumored next Kindle device. Seattlepi reports:

Quote:
Amazon is working on a new version of the Kindle, and sees a big opportunity to market its e-book reader to college students, McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Tim Bueneman said Friday in an e-mailed note based on meetings with management.

"There are already several new, improved versions of the Kindle in the works," he wrote. "But AMZN has no plans, however, for an MP3 music audio version. We guess the new version will have improved interface operating controls. This has been an issue with some buyers."

Amazon managers "told us that the Kindle is definitely selling very well, but they also said the analysts and reporters giving out these extremely high estimates 'did not run them by company,'" Bueneman wrote.
See also TechCrunch and CNet Crave.

While I don't care so much about Kindle sales figures, lo and behold, I do care about Amazon pushing for new improved models. Having some kind of confirmation now to our earlier speculations should be enough to make any true e-book nerd break out in a sweat.
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:51 AM   #2
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I know some of you may disagree, but I don't think we need a Kindle for college students. As a student myself, I cannot think of carrying a fragile e-book reader with me to school every day. I have my rock-solid Macbook, thank you very much, which works very well with PDFs and other e-book formats. And then there is the still hefty price tag of e-book devices... unless Amazon manages to get it down considerably, I don't think students will find much professional love for it.
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:57 AM   #3
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I know some of you may disagree, but I don't think we need a Kindle for college students. As a student myself, I cannot think of carrying a fragile e-book reader with me to school every day. I have my rock-solid Macbook, thank you very much, which works very well with PDFs and other e-book formats. And then there is the still hefty price tag of e-book devices... unless Amazon manages to get it down considerably, I don't think students will find much professional love for it.
I don't think its price, how much did you pay for you macbook? See there is not such a small payment readiness as one would think. The problem is much more, the device is not really that usefull in college everyday... Without a pen like the iLiad has, I don't see it to be useful at all that much
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:07 AM   #4
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It would certainly make a student's load lighter in terms of the sheer weight of text books --- however, colour has been used as a differentiator among compeating books, so the monochrome nature of the screen is a telling point against it (you certainly won't see many art history texts on it), but I almost _never_ write in my books, so don't feel the inability to annotate as much as those who habitually do so do.

That said, annotation is certainly a powerful feature and one of the things which pushes me to read things on my Tablet PC instead of my Sony.

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Old 08-25-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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I agree: Substituting a few thousand dollars' and a few-score pounds' worth of paper textbooks with one $400 Kindle is a smart move. Providing the texts electronically is the natural first and best step... but for those who can't afford a serious laptop (much less a Macbook), a $400 device would be music to their ears.

(Even without the MP3 support.)
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:27 AM   #6
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I would've loved to have had all my engineering textbooks on a Kindle or any other large size eInk reader! My shoulders ache in memory of toting those doorstops.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW View Post
I know some of you may disagree, but I don't think we need a Kindle for college students. As a student myself, I cannot think of carrying a fragile e-book reader with me to school every day. I have my rock-solid Macbook, thank you very much, which works very well with PDFs and other e-book formats. And then there is the still hefty price tag of e-book devices... unless Amazon manages to get it down considerably, I don't think students will find much professional love for it.
Every time I was in a design meeting, as soon as people came into the room 1st thing is to find a plug to plugin their notebooks. After only few years their batteries degraded so much that they couldn't use their machine without being pugged in. In large univeristy classroms it is far more difficult to plugin. So the battery anxiety associated with notebooks would become a significant problem for students who often have no place to plugin.

I am not sure why eReaders have to be fragile??? Surely Amazon would design a more robust unit for students. No big deal.

I think that eReaders have 2 significant advantages:

- battery life means sudents don't have to worry about finding a plug
- passive screen much easier on eyes

When you spend a lot of time reading like students you come to appreciate #2 a great deal.

Of course, pricing is going to be the main deal maker or breaker. Students are price sensitive, so if they are getting a poor deal than they'll go with other alternatives including BitTorrent. Also they might hack Kindle and their DRM. I expect this new Kindle to fail due to pricing issues more than any technical spec.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_ninja View Post
Every time I was in a design meeting, as soon as people came into the room 1st thing is to find a plug to plugin their notebooks. After only few years their batteries degraded so much that they couldn't use their machine without being pugged in. In large univeristy classroms it is far more difficult to plugin. So the battery anxiety associated with notebooks would become a significant problem for students who often have no place to plugin.
[SNIP]
The degrading battery problem is easily solved by purchasing a new battery after 2 or 3 years. And the plugin issue, at least at the University I'm at, is even less of a problem. All the large classrooms here have power and ethernet for every seat... In addition to wireless for the entire campus, of course. On the other hand, we're arguably the most wired university there is, so this may not be a good comparison...

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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A poweroutlett for every seat is indeed not that much of a problem, if universities make good use of their investions... I wouldn't design a classroom today without.

What I wonder however why the hell every seat has to be suited with a 230V outlet, while everyone has to carry transformators... This would so call for a standarized 12V bus... but somehow industries today make everything to dance around a standard as soon they can...
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:14 AM   #10
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>I am not sure why eReaders have to be fragile??? Surely Amazon would design a more robust unit for students. No big deal.

I'm hoping flexible e-ink screens will shortly result in more durable devices.

Personally I think an collegiate Kindle would be useful, and clever marketing by Amazon. Once college is over the student still has their Kindle, and is probably well used to buying eBooks.
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:44 PM   #11
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I think we've had this thread before. Or, maybe I've previously thought we had this thread. Either way... I thing the main issue is one of content. Without the text books being available electronically the best device in the world won't help.

Even above you said you had a Macbook... which is great, but do you have all your books on it?

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:01 PM   #12
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I use my iLiad in my doctoral program constantly. At the level of courses I'm taking now, most of the readings are journal articles, which I download in PDF form from JStore, etc. I make notes on the PDF files (I've never been one to write in books, but I did have a habit of writing on printed PDFs), and I take notes in class as well. But the iLiad is quite expensive, and still doesn't have on-board HWR or notes search, and the UI isn't that great. If Amazon can provide a system for lower cost that covers these features, I think graduate students, at least, would be enthusiastic, and that could lead more publishers to try textbooks in ebook format, leading to undergraduates using a unit like this as well. Of course, there are also open-source textbooks from Wikimedia and others, but I think most universities are too tied to faculty-authored (or at least faculty-selected) textbooks for these to quite take over the market. Yet.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:18 PM   #13
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Sounds interesting, and I would certainly buy an updated Kindle in a heartbeat, for several reasons.

Firstly, I love my Kindle but I am a bit bothered by the 'all of my eggs in one basket' concept. If my Kindle is lost or broken, I haven't just lost a gadget, I've also lost all of the reading material I've been carrying around. Oh I know it is not a permanent loss, but if it happens while I am on a business trip and can't get a new one right away, that could be fairly disastrous.

Secondly, I would like a larger screen. That might be a silly thing to ask for, considering that I read fiction pretty much exclusively, but if it were the same size as a paperback page, I would think folks would find it easier to switch to ebooks.

This does bring up a question though...and ain't THAT a kick in the DRM?

If I buy a new updated Kindle, how do I get my books moved from the old one to the new one? Do I have to redownload them all over again, and who pays for this (I expect it won't be a trivial cost if every Kindle owner needs to do it at once)? My current Kindle has 47 pages of books between its main memory and its SD card. Is Amazon going to provide a method for rekeying these books to the new Kindle so I can simply move them using USB?

Of course they aren't ALL DRM copies, I have a bunch of stuff I've gotten off Baen or other sites that aren't infected with DRM, but most of them are keyed to THIS Kindle...

You know, I have bought several new iPods and one nice thing about Apple is, they make it easy to move your library to your new toy....

Last edited by mdibella; 08-25-2008 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:38 PM   #14
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If I buy a new updated Kindle, how do I get my books moved from the old one to the new one? Do I have to redownload them all over again, and who pays for this (I expect it won't be a trivial cost if every Kindle owner needs to do it at once)?
Ok... if you bought all the books from Amazon, then you can just download them again. Amazon pays for this via Wispernet. (Yes it is pretty trivial when you consider the size of an ebook.) You would need to register you new Kindle to your account. You can download the books from the Kindle itself using the Content Manager. Or, you can go online to the "manage my Kindle" page and have the books sent to the Kindle.

If they are books you didn't buy from Amazon, I assume you have them backed up yourself, on your PC. In that case, just connect to your PC with USB and copy the files over.

Hope this answered your questions.

BOb
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:51 PM   #15
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I would love to see the big screen Kindle and would be an early adopter. The only books I buy now that aren't Kindle books are technical books, and if I could buy all my books in an ebook format I would.

Ultimately, I'd like to have two e-readers. One would be a large device that can display textbook sized material, in color, and would preferably accept pen input/annotations. The second e-reader would be small, light, flexible, and durable, so that I could easily carry it arround with me, and it would excel at displaying novel type books.
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