Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 3 October 2011

Talk About Number Nine Buses

Amazon are making rather a lot of announcements this week.  following on from their Kindle Fire launch a few days ago they're also launching a Kindle lite (sans keyboard) at a cost of 86 (Dollars, Pounds, probably Euros - Amazon appear to have a relaxed view of exchange rates). 

Kindle e-reader: quick tour

The new Kindle dispenses with the keyboard and half the memory of the standard Kindle and instead sports a five way controller.  Is it worth a punt?

Well, from one perspective they've recognised something that all the other e-readers out there appear to have recognised from the get-go - there isn't a need for a keyboard as long as the user interface is intuitive enough and easy to navigate.  Also, from my perspective as an engineer, the keyboard has a  lot of individual mechanical elements to go wrong.  I have to state that I'm unaware of any issues with the keyboard in production units, and to be truthful there isn't a great deal of need to use the keys that often in real use.  I am aware, however, of issues with the power on/off switch as I personally know two people who have had Kindles replaced due to issues with these switches.  It isn't clear from the Amazon promo material whether the new Kindle uses the same switch to power on and off.

The smaller memory means you can hold a lot less books, but is that such a big issue?  According to the blurb I can hold up to 3000 books on my keyboard Kindle, however I suspect I'll be looking for a replacement device  long before I reach that level.  However I do try to load only books I intend to read, not just collect for the sake of it.

At the price point, it should keep the Kindle market buzzing, but perhaps the extra 21 (dollars, pounds or Euros) price difference will be too little in the way of savings for many to bother.

Amazon are also about to launch a Kindle without any controls at all, the Kindle Touch. It's not ready to ship yet, apparently, and there are grumblings on the net that the 3G version is going to be rather limited in capabilty and strapped by an enhanced price, but the concept of the Touch is that all controls are operated by an infra-red touch screen. It probably doesn't stretch like iPad style capacitance screens but will allow navigation and keyboard entries without any moving parts.

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