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Someday I may get excited about the Amazon Kindle, but it still hasn’t happened yet.
Over at StarterTech I wrote up about how the Amazon Kindle 2 Got Official on Monday, but I tried to keep my general personal opinions out of that article. In general I just don’t get the excitement over the device, and over the weekend I recorded a video cast with Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins about “Kindle 2.0: Is It the iPod for Books Yet?“. I have embedded it below for easy viewing, but essentially I take the line that I think the Kindle is a bit silly compared to the iPod, and in no way as an essential piece of every day life.
As I say in the video, I just don’t see the point to the Kindle. It’s a nice concept, but at $359, it’s just too expensive. They boast about how the new Kindle 2 can carry up to 1500 books in its 2GB memory, but do you really need to carry around 1500 books with you? Yes, the same argument can be made about an iPod, but you can use your iPod as you work, the Kindle not so much. An iPod you can put on shuffle play, want to try reading random pages from books on the Kindle? There is also these concepts called the library and used book stores where you can either check books out for free, or buy them incredibly cheap.
I also have the problem with the idea where they show people sitting around outside, or on subways, reading their Kindles. iPods you can hide under your clothes you use them, you can even disguise the earbuds and no one will know you’re using it. With a Kindle, you care holding a high end gadget in plain sight, just asking for someone to rip it from your hands or mug you for it. Now, if you have a tattered paperback in your hands… you get the idea. Never mind the fact you can use an iPod as you walk/run/exercise… try that with a Kindle.
I really have nothing against the device or other ebook readers, but it just isn’t for me, and I don’t quite understand the market demographic. Amazon reportedly sold 500,000 units last year, but I would love to know the demographics of who these people were. Besides the $359 they are laying out for a special reader, they are laying out $10 on average per book. In this economic climate, who can afford this thing?
As Mark said in the video, the iPod solved an actual problem, the Kindle solves a problem no one realized even existed. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave me in the unconvinced column.