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Old 05-07-2009, 01:50 AM   #31
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Regarding keyboard vs. touch screen, you have to think of the usage model and target market. The Kindle has wireless internet and book downloading. People are either going to be searching for books, taking short notes, or browsing the web (i.e. searching Wikipedia). For all of these, a keyboard is necessary. With the slow refresh rate of e-ink, a physical keyboard is the only way to go.

And once you have the keyboard, what do you really need a touchscreen for? Scribbling? Taking notes? Maybe, but the slow refresh rate of e-ink makes these things feel clunky at best -- I know, I own an iLiad. I like it, but I almost never use the stylus except to do things that a button could do just as easily. Meanwhile, the trade-off for touchscreen capability is shorter battery life and substantially higher price. In my opinion, it's just not worth it.

Remember that the Kindle 1 had that little LCD selection bar? I thought that was a brilliant design choice. E-ink at the time was so slow that moving an e-ink menu bar felt clunky. The LCD bar was slick and fast, and they could use the e-ink display for the static menu options.

Anyway, the point is that the normal UI design paradigm just doesn't work with e-ink-based e-readers because the refresh rate is too slow. The biggest challenge when designing a reader today is figuring out how to design the UI so that the user won't get frustrated. It's very challenging. All modern design concepts assume a fast refresh rate, so there's no real prior art to work from.

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Old 05-07-2009, 02:27 AM   #32
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It looks great! Congrats to Amazon for expanding their product line to satisfy a certain demographic (students, techies, nonfiction warriors, science types, etc.).

I read strictly for pleasure, so I'll stick to the 6" format, as it fits easily into my purse and my life in general. However, I've bought many Ipods as gifts, from Shuffles, Nanos, to Ipod Touch (for me), with the thought of how it will fit into the giftee's life. So I think it's great to have a lot of diversity out there.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:28 AM   #33
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Great concept but absolutely ugly device! Why can't Amazon learn from Sony's design?

So far, Sony PRS-700 and PRS-505 is the only where I've seen that includes a cover that acts and fits like a book cover. The cover is hooked on to the reader via two holes on the edges of the reader as opposed to the typical four elastic strap across four corners.
Well, you haven't been looking too closely, then. Both the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX have covers that hook into the edge exactly as you describe, no ugly elastic design. (Although you can get covers with that too if you prefer.)
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:32 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by jharker View Post
Regarding keyboard vs. touch screen, you have to think of the usage model and target market. The Kindle has wireless internet and book downloading. People are either going to be searching for books, taking short notes, or browsing the web (i.e. searching Wikipedia). For all of these, a keyboard is necessary. With the slow refresh rate of e-ink, a physical keyboard is the only way to go.

And once you have the keyboard, what do you really need a touchscreen for? Scribbling? Taking notes? Maybe, but the slow refresh rate of e-ink makes these things feel clunky at best -- I know, I own an iLiad. I like it, but I almost never use the stylus except to do things that a button could do just as easily. Meanwhile, the trade-off for touchscreen capability is shorter battery life and substantially higher price. In my opinion, it's just not worth it.

Remember that the Kindle 1 had that little LCD selection bar? I thought that was a brilliant design choice. E-ink at the time was so slow that moving an e-ink menu bar felt clunky. The LCD bar was slick and fast, and they could use the e-ink display for the static menu options.

Anyway, the point is that the normal UI design paradigm just doesn't work with e-ink-based e-readers because the refresh rate is too slow. The biggest challenge when designing a reader today is figuring out how to design the UI so that the user won't get frustrated. It's very challenging. All modern design concepts assume a fast refresh rate, so there's no real prior art to work from.
Irex has well proven you don't need a physical keyboard. A on screen keyboard or handwriting recognition software is plenty sufficient. We're not writing a novel here...

A touch screen obviously adds ease of navigation, ease of annotation, more versatility as a digital pad perhaps...

Lets agree it would not be friendly to price or battery life. But to ignore its benefits is ludicrous IMHO. And to argue from a usability standpoint? As if a touchscreen is not obviously more intuitive and less frustrating? Would it be more convenient to scroll to the bottom with the janky d-pad or simply touch my option. Hard choice this one...

Edit: And anyway I wasn't suggesting they take away the keyboard. They can leave that silly thing. I just think a device this big is screaming for a touch screen interface.

Last edited by drew00149; 05-07-2009 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:48 AM   #35
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The biggest issue is lack of an SD card support...
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:49 AM   #36
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The biggest issue is lack of an SD card support...
Yeah but I don't think we'll see one of those on a Kindle again. Shame.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:52 AM   #37
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Lack of SD support is a bigger deal with the DX than it is with the Kindle 2, I think. Amazon is trying to market to students (and possibly businesses) and text books are rather large. If students want to load up their Kindles with text books and reference material and still have room for leisure material, it might be an issue. Then again, 3.3 GB should be enough but in an age where it's becoming more common to measure hard drives in terabytes, I definitely think Amazon is making the wrong move on this.

Also, would like to see what a PDF document designed for 8.5 x 11 paper looks like on this screen.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:13 AM   #38
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jharker:

I'd like to thank you for your informed and informative writing. It's a joy to read unbiased reporting, which leads me to believe you use words for a living.

Thank you for such great insight into the new Kindle.


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Old 05-07-2009, 08:40 AM   #39
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First, apparently this subsidizing deal with newspapers is only for people who live where you can't get regular paper delivery. That limitation seems a little silly to me.
Too bad, and yeah silly to me as well. I posted elsewhere about the subsidization plan. I thought it would get the papers a lot of subscribers and sell a lot of DX's too.

I'll continue to read the NYT's for free, unless or until they go back to online subscriptions.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:56 AM   #40
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Oh, a few little tidbits from the presentation:

First, apparently this subsidizing deal with newspapers is only for people who live where you can't get regular paper delivery. That limitation seems a little silly to me.
I don't know what subsidizing deal with newspapers you're talking about here, but the first newspaper here to start with an epaper format, made sure people would be able to get the reader a lot cheaper:

If you already have a subscirption, you can get the Iliad for 500 euro, epaper subscription is free. If you don't have a subscription yet, you can get a year subscription + reader for 700 euro. The iliad iss 650 euro if you buy it in the stores without subscription... (subscription itself is 180 euro).
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:05 AM   #41
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I don't know what subsidizing deal with newspapers you're talking about here, but the first newspaper here to start with an epaper format, made sure people would be able to get the reader a lot cheaper:
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/05/...sidize-the-pr/

The following excerpted from link below. Hopefully they will wise up by release date.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2346661,00.asp


Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of the New York Times Co., appeared on stage to laud the agreement, but he offered scant details besides some confusing information about possible limits to the regions in which Kindle DX edition subscriptions would be available versus those for the print edition. After the press conference, I couldn't find any newspaper representatives to talk to: Sulzberger and Bezos were nowhere to be found. Amazon reps could offer zero additional details about the newspaper offering.

Last edited by galavanter; 05-07-2009 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:09 AM   #42
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At least four companies, including Hearst and News Corp (NYSE: NWS). have big-screen e-readers in the works in the U.S. But only two, Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN) and Plastic Logic, have provided specs on their devices. Here’s how Plastic Logic’s eReader and Amazon’s Kindle DX measure up:

http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419...logic-ereader/



Bottom line: The eReader is lighter, thinner and has a touch screen, but the DX undoubtedly has the big-mo because of Kindle’s dominance with e-readers and its earlier release date.
Given the very close weights of the two devices, is the production version of the KindleDX actually using the plastic-substrate display? While the KDX has a smaller display could be the keyboard, metal back and a possibly different battery more than account for the weight differential.

It makes no sense at all to market a device at students with a glass based display. No way they will be able pamper an ereader with a glass-substrate display in the way it would need to survive.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:39 AM   #43
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With the slow refresh rate of e-ink, a physical keyboard is the only way to go.
With the Epson controller, refresh isn't slow any more for partial screen updates. On-screen keyboards work very well on large screens. A touch screen probably is more expensive than a physical keyboard, but a device that is primarily for displaying text does not need a full-time keyboard. The limitations of a built in keyboard are also apparent for the KDX, which is otherwise designed to be used in any one of 4 orientations. Only standard portrait orientation allows the keyboard to be used.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:02 AM   #44
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Regarding keyboard vs. touch screen, you have to think of the usage model and target market. The Kindle has wireless internet and book downloading. People are either going to be searching for books, taking short notes, or browsing the web (i.e. searching Wikipedia). For all of these, a keyboard is necessary. With the slow refresh rate of e-ink, a physical keyboard is the only way to go.

And once you have the keyboard, what do you really need a touchscreen for? Scribbling? Taking notes? Maybe, but the slow refresh rate of e-ink makes these things feel clunky at best -- I know, I own an iLiad. I like it, but I almost never use the stylus except to do things that a button could do just as easily. Meanwhile, the trade-off for touchscreen capability is shorter battery life and substantially higher price. In my opinion, it's just not worth it.

Remember that the Kindle 1 had that little LCD selection bar? I thought that was a brilliant design choice. E-ink at the time was so slow that moving an e-ink menu bar felt clunky. The LCD bar was slick and fast, and they could use the e-ink display for the static menu options.

Anyway, the point is that the normal UI design paradigm just doesn't work with e-ink-based e-readers because the refresh rate is too slow. The biggest challenge when designing a reader today is figuring out how to design the UI so that the user won't get frustrated. It's very challenging. All modern design concepts assume a fast refresh rate, so there's no real prior art to work from.
In general your conclusion seems well thought out given the limitations of e-ink. However, regarding the use of a keyboard I'll offer a different view.

The functions, other than reading, that I would use most would be search (i.e. very light typing), links, and select/highlight. For these a touchscreen would be superior to any [tap, tap, tap...] keyboard even with e-ink. I would not want to browse the internet on one of these devices at all, but if I did it would be very irritating navigating the web without a touchscreen or mouse. Likewise, for browsing or buying books I would rather go to my computer. Taking long notes or scribbling? Use a different device or paper.

In general I do not want a physical keyboard taking up space on my portable reader. The amount of typing I would be doing would be very small. Until the refresh rate of e-ink improves substantially or until another superior technology (or even good old LCD) replaces it these units will have limited functionality.

Last edited by akira28; 05-07-2009 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #45
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I think people tend to separate into two groups: people who think that e-ink has intolerably poor contrast, and people who think the contrast is perfectly fine. I'm in the latter category. If you're in the former, then the Kindle DX won't change your mind: it's exactly the same.
I agree. Unfortunately, my eyes put me in the former camp. I just replaced my Kindle with a TFT screen reader that reads much better (for me), especially in lower light levels.

Instant page turns is an unexpected pleasure that I would not now give up. I had told myself the slow flashing refresh of E-ink was tolerable, but it is not missed, and this for pleasure reading.

Those young college kids testing the DX are going to be horrified at the slow page turns, especially when reading (studying) pdf's, the newly touted feature. And in black and white, weaksauce.

Last edited by galavanter; 05-07-2009 at 12:31 PM.
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