October 1, 2011

Quick notes on the new Kindles

Amazon finally unveiled its tablet, and it is not an iPad competitor. That doesn’t mean it will fail, on the contrary – I think the $199 Kindle Fire will sell like crazy because there is a market for a cheaper device. At least in the US where Amazon’s various content services are things people actually can swear by, how the company intends to conquer the rest of the world I have no idea, it isn’t happening yet that’s for sure.

Since I’m in the publishing business, writing books and whatnot, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the new Kindles.

First of all, I don’t own a Kindle. I have played with the original one and Kindle DX, but haven’t bothered to buy one. My (extensive, bordering to exclusive) Kindle reading is done on an iPad. I might remedy that now though, because Amazon sure is making it hard not to just buy one. That is, if I can have someone in America ship it to me, the Kindles are still not shipped to Sweden.

So, my thoughts then.

Kindle Fire

Let’s start with Kindle Fire, the tablet that won’t really go head to head with the much more expensive iPad, but might make a dent in iPod touch sales.

  • This is a consumption device for now, and you’ll primarily consume content from Amazon. That’s why they are selling it for $199, probably at a loss. You’ll buy stuff for it, and pay for Amazon’s loss per unit that way.
  • Kindle Fire runs Android but you won’t see that. It uses Amazon’s App Store and interface. Good call, Amazon.
  • The Amazon Silk web browser is intriguing and should improve your web experience by doing the heavy lifting in Amazon’s cloud. I am a bit turned off by it however, since this means Amazon knows a bit much about what I’m doing online.

Will I buy it? I’d like to play with one for sure, but I don’t see where this will fit in my usage since Amazon’s services are US-centric. And I’ve already got a bunch of iPads, so probably not.

Want to buy it? Then you could use this link to the Kindle Fire product page to give me commission on your purchase.

Kindle Touch

A touch screen Kindle without any physical keyboard and buttons for page flipping, and it is cheap too. This one will sell, that’s for sure.

  • This thing is cheap, $99 with ads or $139 without for the wifi version. Does not ship with a power adapter, just a USB cable so if you want to charge this thing away from a computer you’ll need to buy an adapter too.
  • Available in both a 3G and a wifi version. If you travel a lot then the 3G version is probably the way to go.
  • I’ve played with several e-ink readers and no touchscreen have felt responsive enough to me, so hopefully Kindle Touch will perform better. This is fine when browsing for books and for the occasional search, but since Kindle Touch lacks page-flipping buttons you’ll have to rely on the touchscreen for that too. I’m not sure that’s such a good idea, but I’ll give it the benefit of a doubt.
  • Love the specs, weight and size and whatnot.

Will I buy it? Yep, I’ll find someone to ship this from the US for me. The new Kindle (below) would probably do, but I hate the D-pad buttons for navigating the interface and gladly spend the extra money to get away from that. I’ll most likely buy the wifi version though, because I’m not sure how well the free 3G thing will work out in Europe.

You can buy (and read up on) Kindle Touch from Amazon using this link, and give me a few dollars in the process.

Kindle

The new Kindle, billed just “Kindle”, is a cheap and awesome little e-ink reader lacking a physical keyboard. This will further add to the ebook boom in general, and the growth and maturity of the Kindle store in particular.

  • If you thought Kindle Touch was cheap, then the new Kindle is dirt cheap. $79 with ads and $109 without. No power adapter here either, so you’ll have to buy that if you want to charge the Kindle away from a USB socket.
  • Awesome size and specs.
  • No physical keyboard is fine, but the Kindle D-pad really isn’t the way to do, well anything really. For $20 more you can get a touchscreen instead, so this device is for people on a budget.

Will I buy it? Nope, I’ll add the extra dollars to get the Kindle Touch, and chances are you should too. I like the fact that this device is available as an alternative though, but it could still be cheaper, at least compared to the rest of the lineup.

If you want to buy the Kindle and give me some change in the process you can use this link to view the product page on Amazon.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.