In-depth review: Kindle 2, the Apple TV of books

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jenkman91 View Post


    I think Amazon Put a gun in there mouth and pulled the trigger when they released an iPhone version of the Kindle. So if I can download this app for FREE, and then just pay for my books from Amazon, whats the point of spending $200+ on a Kindle?



    The iPhone is basically a kindle. BUT, with a better internet browser, e-mail, an iPod, and a cellphone all in one... and of course no E-ink.



    I understand this is Amazons way of getting people to buy a Kindle. But, I think its too soon to put this App out on Apple's app store.





    Do you think people other than kids will really try and read an entire book on a

    Cell Phone?



    We're going to have major vision problems in this country.



    I think Amazon is pretty smart putting out the FREE app, because eventually it will

    make I Phone users hungry for the comforts of a Kindle.



    Most people who want these Apps are true "book lovers" so once their eyes

    start hurting from straining so much they'll be dying for a nice big Kindle.
  • Reply 22 of 47
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    I also like the fact the you can get a full book in less than 60 seconds.
  • Reply 23 of 47
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames42 View Post


    I apologise if I seem overly critical of the review; there are certainly some pros mentioned in the review, it just sounds as if it was written by someone who doesn't think an E-Reader device will ever take off (which in point is debatable - as you said, most avid readers love to hold paper, and I'm one of them - but I think it will just take some time to accept the tradeoff of convenience of being able to carry a virtual library of books, much as most people have accepted the tradeoff of diminished sound quality of MP3/AAC with the ability to carry a huge collection of music).



    As for the AppleTV review - I may have to go back and read that again, as it seems to be a very unpopular device (especially amongst AI readers who don't own one). I, on the other hand, while recognising that it does have flaws, find it to be the single best addition to my home theatre. It gets twice as much use as my HD DVD, Cable, Wii, and all my other devices combined (of course hacking it to play DivX content has allowed me to virtually disconnect my old Philips DVP642, but I digress).



    I agree with most of what you said. Yes, it's our collective view that it will take more than what the Kindle 2 offers for the device to really take off, as was similarly the case with the iPod when you think about it. It took some refinement and some market traction.



    I also love the Apple TV. At first it was pointless and sat collecting dust, given that it was hooked up to an HDTV with no HD content. But as more and more HD content arrives, I'm using it more and more. It's extremely convenient for quickly accessing HD content of your liking when there's nothing of interest on TV, you've missed an episode of your favorite show, or you don't feel like going to a video store.
  • Reply 24 of 47
    You really can't have it both ways. If "not pocketable" is a con, you can't complain that the screen isn't big enough.



    Kindle has a primary function: reading books, and ePaper isn't a con, it's a HUGE plus. The fact that it's insufficient for websurfing doesn't make the choice of ePaper for the Kindle into a con. The iPhone is a LOUSY book reading device and in its current form will never be able to match the Kindle on usability because of ePaper.



    I don't own a Kindle and I'm not sure I will, but c'mon, credit where credit's due. Amazon didn't put Whispernet into the Kindle for websurfing, it put it there to service the Kindle's primary function: book-reading. It's there to buy books and to research things within books that users are reading. The fact that a browser's there is that it's better than nothing, which is the exact same argument that most of us made when the iPhone was EDGE-only: sure, it make be sssllloooowww and a pain in the ass, but slow web is better than no web.



    Again, credit where it's due.



    For the life of me I don't know why they made it thinner instead of just easier to hold. Contoured and asymmetrical (with the ability to rotate the screen to accommodate other-handedness) and with a textured surface so you didn't have to hold onto it quite so tightly.



    And why not more fonts? Why not be able to rip the fonts you have on your Mac or PC and install them on your Kindle to read your books using those?



    The iPod didn't create a new type of music listener, the Walkman did that. What the iPod did was perfectly reproduce the experience of the Walkman user and then surpass it. Even so, the iPod broke no new ground as far as use-cases went, it just improved on existing ones. The iTunes Store, maybe (tho that was a Mac/PC-based experience until the iPhone) and the App Store (again, iPhone) broke new ground, but the iPod? People were doing mobile video before the iPod, too.



    The difficulty with books is that content is married to form, and Kindle (and Rocket eBook and Peanut Press and Soft Book and Sony Reader) split content and container. No one knows what to call anything. Back in the last major eBook push, the devices themselves were called eBooks and what you purchased from powells.com and barnesandnoble.com were titles. Now the device is called a reader. A READER? Sure, the Kindle now does text to speech, but the Kindle 1 was called a reader. Sony's device is called Reader. They don't read the book to you. A book is an object, but an eBook (what is now the electronic file you purchase from amazon) isn't an object any more than a song is an object. It doesn't match. People buy songs on iTunes, but back in the day, people didn't buy songs, they bought records or cassettes or CDs.



    The confusion in the nomenclature illustrates the confusion in what to think of books. Everyone seems to assume that books are just another category of media to go digital and they're not, clearly. Reading is a more personal experience than the others. It's not a huge deal to any reader than they can carry around a thousand books with them, only that they have that ONE BOOK that they're SO INTO at the moment, or that they can pick up and begin reading that NEXT ONE they've been so ready to dig into if they happen to finish the current one before they get home or get to a bookstore.



    It's this last part that makes Whispernet so appealing to us tweedy, invested, investible readers: we're reading that book and we're not ever gonna be stuck without having that next book in hand.



    Web surfing? In a book? That's what my friggin' iPhone is for.
  • Reply 25 of 47
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jenkman91 View Post


    I think Amazon Put a gun in there mouth and pulled the trigger when they released an iPhone version of the Kindle. So if I can download this app for FREE, and then just pay for my books from Amazon, whats the point of spending $200+ on a Kindle?



    Completely disagree. If anything, the iPhone app makes me more inclined to get a Kindle. If you read the CNET comparison of the two, you'll see one of the biggest complaints (which I completely agree with) of using the iPhone as a reader. The screen is simply too small.



    However, my biggest complaint about the Kindle is that it's too big. Ahh, if there's ever a finger pointing at someone who's never satisfied



    The thing is, I'm not going to carry a Kindle with me everywhere I go. I do carry my iPhone however, and I will carry a Kindle when I commute. With the wireless syncing between them, I can read the Kindle when it's convenient to carry, and when it's not, I can read a little on the iPhone. The syncing keeps track of where you are in the book--when I pick up my iPhone, it'll pick up where I left off on the Kindle.



    The two things now keeping me from buying one:
    1. The price - $359 is a little too high. Bring it down to $200 and I'll be more inclined. I believe this will happen in the next year or so.

    2. The cost of the books. For many books, Amazon allows me to "add-on" the electronic version. I bought the Final Cut Express 3.5 Editing Workshop book for about $25. For $7 I can have access to an online electronic edition. If I could do something similar with Kindle books -- have both print and Kindle formats without having to pay full price for both, that'd just about do it for me.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MissRose2 View Post


    A huge reason is the Text-to-Speech feature.



    I have a fettish for "erotica" (mainly Jackie Christian in the Kindle Store) and

    let me tell you--until you've heard the Kindle 2 Female Robot reading you a

    good down and dirty Jackie Christian sex book, you haven't lived!



    Now that's got to be the most unique selling point I've heard yet! I'm sure there are some tech bloggers out there who'd love to hear this. Perhaps you should contact Leo Laporte - he'd love to hear from you...! (And I'm honestly not teasing you!)



    Quote:

    Has anyone else notice that when you have an E-reader you seem to read

    a lot more books? I certainly do.



    Actually I'm really glad to hear this. Despite my concerns above, I'm still considering a Kindle, especially since I'm about to (re)start commuting by bus and will have lots of reading time on my hands. When I bought my first iPod some years ago, I thought it would be a nifty toy that wouldn't get much use. I now rarely go a day where it's not in almost constant use. I'm hoping the Kindle will have that affect on my reading.



    Quote:

    If anyone knows any other great reads (I'm talking really sensational books

    that you read in like one day), please turn me on to them.



    Are you asking for book recommendations? I'm sure everyone here will have their favourites, but I can tell you (bar far) the best book I've read in years is Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I've not felt so attached to characters in a book in a long time. I'm sorry, it doesn't appear to be available for the Kindle however
  • Reply 26 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MissRose2 View Post


    Do you think people other than kids will really try and read an entire book on a

    Cell Phone?



    We're going to have major vision problems in this country.



    .



    haha. True, but, if you have an iPhone, then you already know this is just not any other cell phone Where you are stuck with one size font. If you read the description of the app, it allows one to resize the font to where it is easy on the eyes to read.
  • Reply 27 of 47
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,975member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post


    The Kindle is marketed towards those who love to read BOOKS (e.g. not surf the internet) and want to do so electronically without the bulkiness of a book, and still have it maintain the same size form factor and appearance of a typical printed page. Seems more to me that AppleInsider is trying to compare it to the features and capabilities of a netbook, when the fact is an e-reader like the Kindle and a netbook are two very different products



    Consider people like myself who would like to use the Kindle to peruse technical reference books (in addition to casual reading). I might be looking through a reference book, then need to go out to the web for more information/examples, and then back to the book again. The Kindle doesn't really meet the needs for that particular case.



    Book reading takes many forms these days. That's where the Kindle fails imo. It needs to have the capability to support all reading situations, not just the "paperback on transit" scenario.
  • Reply 28 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames42 View Post


    Completely disagree. If anything, the iPhone app makes me more inclined to get a Kindle. If you read the CNET comparison of the two, you'll see one of the biggest complaints (which I completely agree with) of using the iPhone as a reader. The screen is simply too small.



    However, my biggest complaint about the Kindle is that it's too big. Ahh, if there's ever a finger pointing at someone who's never satisfied



    The thing is, I'm not going to carry a Kindle with me everywhere I go. I do carry my iPhone however, and I will carry a Kindle when I commute. With the wireless syncing between them, I can read the Kindle when it's convenient to carry, and when it's not, I can read a little on the iPhone. The syncing keeps track of where you are in the book--when I pick up my iPhone, it'll pick up where I left off on the Kindle.



    The two things now keeping me from buying one:
    1. The price - $359 is a little too high. Bring it down to $200 and I'll be more inclined. I believe this will happen in the next year or so.

    2. The cost of the books. For many books, Amazon allows me to "add-on" the electronic version. I bought the Final Cut Express 3.5 Editing Workshop book for about $25. For $7 I can have access to an online electronic edition. If I could do something similar with Kindle books -- have both print and Kindle formats without having to pay full price for both, that'd just about do it for me.





    Do you really want to carry around two devices with you?? the Kindle, is still a bulk to carry around. (yes I know its smaller) but still, if i have an iPhone, why do I need a kindle?



    the iphone is cheaper than the kindle, and with the iPhone, I get 3x the features and on a beautiful color multi touch screen.



    Also, if the font on the iPhone is too small to read, simply just resize it. In the app description it says that one can easily resize the font so its easy to read.
  • Reply 29 of 47
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    I agree with most of what you said. Yes, it's our collective view that it will take more than what the Kindle 2 offers for the device to really take off, as was similarly the case with the iPod when you think about it. It took some refinement and some market traction.



    That's actually a very good point. I think I may have alluded to it in a previous response, which I to realise kinda makes me the proverbial pot...



    Quote:

    I also love the Apple TV. At first it was pointless and sat collecting dust, given that it was hooked up to an HDTV with no HD content. But as more and more HD content arrives, I'm using it more and more. It's extremely convenient for quickly accessing HD content of your liking when there's nothing of interest on TV, you've missed an episode of your favorite show, or you don't feel like going to a video store.



    Also a good point. I bought mine sometime after Take 2, so there was already a lot of content out there. That said, most of the TV shows I've bought have been in SD. My only season pass so far has been for Grey's Anatomy (in HD), and I don't find the difference between the SD and HD versions to be enough to warrant the extra cost (it was actually an experiment getting the HD). Now when I buy episodes of Battlestar Galactica, I definitely go for HD. Partially because of the better contrast in darker scenes, but at least as much because of Dolby Digital audio



    As I've mentioned several times in other threads, my love for the Apple TV is that I'm not much of a TV person, but I do have my shows. I see no reason to give Comcast $1200/year for HD service (the great majority of which I won't use) when I can pay about $200/year to purchase the shows I do watch. They come in with no commercials, and I can re-watch them whenever I want. I then pay $14/month to Comcast for local channels (so I can watch the news, and a handful of other shows).



    I also love all the free video content (much of it in HD) I get through video podcasts.



    Apologies to everyone for hijacking the Kindle thread and turning it into the AppleTV discussion thread
  • Reply 30 of 47
    trip1extrip1ex Posts: 109member
    The AppleTV of books is about right. Both are hobbies and yet we all know digital content is the future. It's a matter of when and not if. I think the problem the Kindle has is the same as the ATV too. Price. The devices are too expensive and the content is priced too high as well. Most customers are comfortable with reading paper books or playing DVDs until the ATV and Kindle stories become more attractive to them.



    My beef with the article is the Cons summary at the end.





    Very slow E Ink display makes browsing clumsy and slow? Who cares. Not marketed as an internet browser. It's a sideshow miles away from the main attraction.



    Size is not really pocketable. Should it be? I mean in the article the author complains the Kindle doens't have a screen the size of a text book and then his con is that it is not pocketable. I think the con should be the screen is too small. I would welcome a larger screen.



    Web, blogs, and reference material ill suited to e-reader technology. Again the complaint about web surfing seems to be missing the point of the Kindle. It's a book & document reader first.



    Lower price is still fairly high, particularly compared to a netbook. I agree the price is too high, but why compare it to a netbook? The devices are aimed at different needs/markets.



    So I think the author is offbase knocking the Kindle for what it really doesn't try to be.



    Also I think the author downplays the E-INK screen and what it does for reading as well as the convenience of having many books in such a small device.
  • Reply 31 of 47
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jenkman91 View Post


    Also, if the font on the iPhone is too small to read, simply just resize it. In the app description it says that one can easily resize the font so its easy to read.



    Yes, that's true, but I challenge you to do that and then tell me it really improves the reading experience. I do have eReader (and Stanza) on my iPhone, both of which allow dynamic resizing of text. But with the small screen, this greatly reduces the amount of text you get on a 'page'. You might not think that flipping pages so frequently would be a big deal, but it does make reading more tiring and tedious. I'd probably compare it to reading a large print book. You'd have to turn the pages three times as often, and I doubt you'd enjoy the experience as much.
  • Reply 32 of 47
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by trip1ex View Post


    The devices are too expensive and the content is priced too high as well. Most customers are comfortable with reading paper books or playing DVDs until the ATV and Kindle stories become more attractive to them.



    Price of content does bring up a side issue that I've thought about a lot recently. 99% of my music purchases these days is electronic, iTunes and Amazon MP3. But how many of us find pleasure in popping into a used CD shop and flipping through and finding gems for $4? As days go by and less people are buying physical media, the amount of used media will dry up.



    Same goes for books. We've got a great local chain here in Seattle called Twice-Sold Tales. I love bringing in a cup of coffee and thumbing through the shelves looking for some great books I probably wouldn't have come across using amazon.com. Amazon.com also doesn't provide the lovely smell of used books, and the fluffy cats to pet. I'm sure some may think that's a good thing, but I'll miss the experience!
  • Reply 33 of 47
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,975member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames42 View Post


    With which you'll likely make it through at best a chapter or two before the battery dies.



    It's very rare that I travel for more than 3 hours at a time without having access to power of some sort. Almost all flights have plug-ins these days, and the only touring bus I've ridden lately also had a plug-in. And for long car rides, there are power adapters.

    Quote:

    It's certainly a valid point that the price of entry for a single-use device is a little bit high, esp when compared to a virtually limitless device such as a netbook. However, I'd argue that the Kindle almost certainly handles that single use far better than a netbook would.



    See my other comment about how reading paperbacks on transit is only one of a few reading tasks I'd like to solve with something like Kindle.
  • Reply 34 of 47
    neilmneilm Posts: 591member
    I think that the bottom line is that K2 does the core read-a-book thing very well (compact and light weight, decent display quality/size, long battery life, very easy to buy content), but the add-ons (browser etc.) not so well. Remember that those are add-ons, and not the main purpose.



    Amazon might have helped themselves by imitating the cell phone market model more closely and subsidizing the initial purchase price to a greater degree through higher prices on the books themselves. I suspect that $350 is a tough sell for what's still a novel (no pun intended...) concept.
  • Reply 35 of 47
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    I think the seamless integration of purchasing the media itself is pretty revolutionary. And it has received 4 stars from 649 cunstomer reviews so people do like it.

    However I'm not surprised that it won't be liked here at AI.

    Afterall this is not the Amazon Insider.



    I've not seen many (if any) people on this list say the don't like the Kindle. The debate is whether it is the best/ultimate solution for eBook reading.

    I personally like the low power consumption of ePaper, but don't like the idea of YAD (yet another device.)

    If a touch had a mode switch to go to something like ePaper, that would be perfect for me.

    I just downloaded the Kindle App for my touch, and will load up a few books for my upcoming vacation and see how it works out.

    I tend to think I'll gravitate to eBooks for technical, 'have to read' stuff, and stay with hard copy for curling up. But who knows what will happen with the upcoming generation. Guess we have to stay tuned.
  • Reply 36 of 47
    I bought an iPod in 2004 because combined with Audible.com it allows me to drive or workout and read books at the same time. Since then I've spent $23/month on my audible subscription and bought 4 iPods to replace, upgrade, or give to my wife so she would stop borrowing mine.



    I would never have done that for the sake of casual music use, but once I had the iPod, and iTunes and a reason to connect to my computer I started spending money on music again.



    I'm not going to buy a Kindle 2, but when there are a million titles available, and audio performances are bundled with the text, and I can have it read to me the 5-10 journal articles (in .PDF) that I have to read for professional reasons every month, it might well replace my iPod.



    I just need the gadget geeks, the early adopters, and the few book enthusiasts who don't also distain electronic reading to keep increasing the market until the consumer model matures like the iPod.



    No product (not even the iPhone) will ever be the iPod of any new market. The positioning of the iPod at that particular moment in digital consumer development is unique. The world has changed, nothing digital will ever be that revolutionary again.
  • Reply 37 of 47
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    We're not saying it's flat out negative but it does read a tad more than slightly biased.



    I also don't recall the Apple TV ever being referred to as an experiment.



    Just a 'hobby'.



    But seriously.. what are the alternatives?

    1) don't talk about it? Unlikely, since Kindle/touch/iPhone overlap in functionality

    2) ignore its shortcomings and just rave about it just because its not from Apple? I'll go to CNET if I want that.



    I think its a pretty balanced article.
  • Reply 38 of 47
    mrjoec123mrjoec123 Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post


    I don't see how these two are even relevant as Cons. First, you don't expect to be able to pocket a regular sized book, do you? The Kindle is marketed towards those who love to read BOOKS (e.g. not surf the internet) and want to do so electronically without the bulkiness of a book, and still have it maintain the same size form factor and appearance of a typical printed page. Seems more to me that AppleInsider is trying to compare it to the features and capabilities of a netbook, when the fact is an e-reader like the Kindle and a netbook are two very different products.



    Seriously?



    They are cons to anyone who isn't a die-hard book reader, which is the overall point he's trying to make. This is a niche product, and will continue to be one. The Kindle isn't going to inspire more people to read on the run; it will only help those who already do that, which is a small and dying breed.
  • Reply 39 of 47
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    Just a 'hobby'.



    But seriously.. what are the alternatives?

    1) don't talk about it? Unlikely, since Kindle/touch/iPhone overlap in functionality

    2) ignore its shortcomings and just rave about it just because its not from Apple? I'll go to CNET if I want that.



    I think its a pretty balanced article.



    Well then let's review the lates Nikon digital cameras as well. Both it and the iPhone take pictures- only one's for serious photography and the other's not. Same thing here- only substitute reading for photography.
  • Reply 40 of 47
    umijinumijin Posts: 133member
    C'mon AI - we don't need your reviews of the Kindle. Stick to Apple news, where your focus has some merit.



    And frankly the Kindle seems to have sold well enough in the first (and likely second) iterations, regardless of your blessing.
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