Auto Ads by Adsense

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kindle 2 Launch

As a Kindle advocate, I want the Kindle to succeed, but Kindle 2 shows the pernicious effect of Apple on the design of products in the industry. Kindle 2 is all about slimness. Thin is in, but that meant that they sacrificed an SD card slot and a replaceable battery, both practical features that I've used on my Kindle. As a result, I'm going to pass on this upgrade and wait for Kindle 3 or all my Kindle 1 batteries to die. What a disappointment for those of us who want our devices to work, as opposed to those who want to be fashionable. Reading isn't fashionable, no matter how you cut it, and Amazon will never sell those for whom fashion is the most important attribute in a device anyway.


Amy said...

I'm afraid I must disagree. Pleasing devices are always enjoyable - the iPhone entirely convinced me of this, as uninterested in aesthetics as I generally am. And there's certainly a crowd for whom reading is cool - don't you feel part of it? Don't you have coworkers you bond with by geeking out over books together? It's not like there isn't a substantial difference in the crowd that's into phones (chatty ditzes, businessmen, etc) vs the crowd that's into reading (from geeks to casual fad fiction readers to secret romance novel addicts), but saying there's no place for a pleasing device will be proven wrong, just as Apple proved it wrong for computers and phones. It is a shame about the batteries and card slot - that I'd just call a poor design decision, probably taken not because it was really needed, but because it's the kind of omission that Apple gets away with.

Slim and sleek isn't a bad thing. If you like the device, you'll want to take it with you more (at the very least, for those who are fashion conscious, they won't be embarrassed), and if it's slimmer, it will be able to come along in more carrying cases (camera bag? bike bag?).

I want a device that's pretty *and* works well, and I consider those perfectly reasonable and achievable goals. And yes, I'm willing to pay a bit more to get both.

N said...

I'm planning to carry my kindle everywhere in my purse, so maybe the slimness will be a good thing for me. I can't wait for kindle 2!!!

Piaw Na said...

As usual, I'm an outlier on this and other issues. The slimness issue directly impacts user-removable batteries. An Apple Engineer told one of my friends that the cost is about 3mm of thickness to put in a removable battery. No big deal for most practical purposes, but when you're going for maximum slimness (like Apple, Amazon and Palm, it's definitely a product driven design decision). If you get a chance, check out the difference between the G1 and the iPhone. 50% of the thickness difference is the slide out keyboard, and the other 50% is the removable battery.

As far as the Kindle is concern, it's never going to fit in anybody's pocket, so I don't understand the obsession with slimness. The Kindle 2 isn't even lighter (by going to a metal body --- again, required to make it stiff enough despite the slimness, they eliminated any potential weight advantage).

Now, maybe you'll never miss the SD card slot (though I like it whenever I'm traveling across countries with as few gadgets as possible), but I definitely like it and use it. And removable batteries are a must --- batteries in consumer devices frequently die because of the way they are used (the best state to store a Li-Ion battery in is 40% charge --- but most consumers keep their devices fully charged all the time) and lose capacity. Not having a replaceable battery is a big loss for a device such as a Kindle, whose entire purpose is to be able to operate disconnected for long periods at a time.

Piaw Na said...

The current price of a Kindle v1 is $300. And that's without a warranty! I think the market is saying loudly that the v1 is a superior unit to the v2. I wonder if Amazon will ignore the market and continue the Apple model of product development, or bow to the market and give us SDcard slot fans and replaceable battery fans what we want.