Kindle – yeah I’ve tried it

21 Nov

There was a good post over at 37 signals about kindle haters. The core of the argument is that people haven’t tried it and are bitching already.

Thankfully my bitching comes with a disclaimer – I have tried it. During Gnomedex (August 10) I got to play with it for roughly 30 minutes.

Now some relevance. A lot of my friends consider me a luddite. I hate social networks. I hate cellphones (in fact my cellphone is dead right now and hasn’t been charged since I got back from the GeoDomain Expo). Call me old school – but once work is done, I don’t want to do anything computer-related. I like meeting face to face. Enjoying my time. A big reason I’m a fan of the Wii ;)

Also – while in third year engineering, I did a group project on e-ink. We had to analyze its strengths, its core uses, etc. I fell in love with it immediately. It was great. Instead of having to look at an ‘active’ screen (that strains your eyes), you had something passive that was easy on your eyes. Going from LCD to e-ink is like going from CRT to LCD – huge difference in eye strain.

So when I saw the kindle I was quite excited. It seemed like it was a good fit for me. Some of my thoughts:

  • The design is really ugly. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t want to be caught dead outside with this. My first digital camera was a crappy looking BenQ. I was so embarrassed by it I never used it. The Kindle is really ugly.
  • It is easy to use. Navigating isn’t hard. The scroll wheel is intuitive – once you get used to the fact that it is for menu selection, not browsing content. The little nav bar on the right grows/shrinks according to your options – no ambiguity here.
  • The design is a bit stupid. The keys are really annoying to press. But far worse (and I believe the biggest flaw) – the back and forward buttons are in the dumbest possible place. I couldn’t hold onto it firmly – doing so would press either button. So you have to hold it from underneath it. Really – dumbest move.
  • It is fast. I was downloading the NYTimes and a few books and pretty beep beep speeds. EVDO worked well here.
  • I hate the price. $399 for this? The iPod comparison is unfair – the ‘content’ there was priced at $0.99 – and you could import books for free. I would love if I could import books from the Gutenberg project. But I’m pretty sure you can’t :(
  • At the same time, individual costs aren’t too bad. A book for $9.99? Not bad. Newspaper subscription isn’t too high either. Easily portable, search able (YES!) – seems like a fair deal. Plus perma-online is nice.

Talking to the rep, I was told that on anything (even blog RSS) under $0.99 would be a net loss. I wonder if they did some deal that is more connection-based instead of bandwidth-consumption (or some hybrid).

All in all – I do think that the Kindle product itself needs a lot of changes to it. I like the underlying system – I think with the 2.0 product release I will become a customer.

3 Responses to Kindle – yeah I’ve tried it


Jason Schramm

November 21st, 2007 at 7:23 pm

You should be able to import books from the Gutenberg Project. The Kindle accepts text files and html. So there’s no reason it wouldn’t work. You just might want to format it a bit to make it look better if there are any problems.



November 21st, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Score one – I never got to ask about the underlying tech (DRM-wise), and reading about how it was restricted, I imagined you couldn’t.

Alas still far too ugly :)



November 26th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Haha, now this is the one device in my daydreams about the future (when I was a kid) that is actually happening, lol. Although I thought the content will be coming from a CD :D

But with that size, you can actually fit a CD there.