Friday, January 8, 2010

Amazon Kindle

kindle2_front I was fortunate enough to get a Kindle 2 for Christmas this year. I guess my wife was listening when I kept talking about how cool and useful I thought the device would be. So far I haven't been disappointed it is everything I expected and I am really enjoying the device.

The best feature is how easy it is to read on the device. The electronic ink screen is almost like reading from ink and paper it doesn't strain your eyes at all. I also love the wireless delivery of books to the device. I have been using the Kindle application for my iPhone for a few months and all the books I had downloaded to my iPhone I had instant access to them on my new Kindle. It even keeps track of where I am at in books between the two devices.

Another great feature is the ability to download previews of books. This is like browsing a book in the bookstore, you usually get a couple of chapters. If you like the book there is a link to get the rest of the book downloaded directly to the device. There are also lots of free books available from Amazon. Many of them are classics but if you check you can usually find some good bargains. I was able to get Magic Kingdom for Sale, Sold! for free.

Latitude Jacket There are a few drawbacks to the device though. The form factor is nice but I think it is a bit too thin and perhaps a bit slick on the back. I felt like I might drop it the first few times I was reading. Although I got used to it I still bought a protective case which adds a bit more bulk making it easier for me to grip it.

I went with the latitude jacket from M Edge. It zips up securing the Kindle and provides some protection when traveling. It also folds completely back making it easy to hang onto the Kindle. It also has a pouch in the front that is big enough to hold the charging cable which keeps everything together.

Although the screen is easy to read you do need a good light source. It would be nice if the Kindle included some lights around the screen making it easier to read in low light. However, this would probably significantly reduce the battery life and there are many lights available.

Another slight downside is the screen refresh. Once the screen is rendered it displays in crisp clear grayscale. Some of the screen saver images are really detailed. However, there is a very noticeable flicker when turning pages and sometimes when navigating through menus.

Overall I love the device. It will be nice to be able to take several books along with me and have access to others just about everywhere. Amazon is also coming out with an SDK for the Kindle. It will be very interesting to see what kinds of applications become available.

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