[Update: Be sure to read our review of the Kindle DX or our comparison of the Kindle, the Nook, and the Sony e-Reader]
Online retail giant Amazon.com is set to release their version of the largely unsuccessful Sony Reader, called the Kindle. The Amazon Kindle is an electronic book reader which was thought up by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos who says that the Kindle was born from his interest in e-books, and how they could be improved.
Front view of the Amazon Kindle
Amazon.com has been working on the Kindle for three years now, and they have designed the device to basically resemble a book. There is no backlighting on the device, so it should limit eye-strain caused by long bouts of reading. The screen itself is a 6-inch, 800 x 600 pixel display.
The Kindle will support a variety of formats including Word, HTML, TXT, JPEG, and others. Amazon.com will sell a typical book online for about $9.99, and they also offer a subscription service for newspapers and even blogs for a fee.
The newspaper feature could be quite useful considering you could have access to just about any newspaper, from around the World, with the Kindle. The device supports EV-DO wireless connectivity, which links to Amazon.com, and Amazon.com says that this feature will be free of charge. This wireless capability means that you would be able to connect to Amazon.com from just about anywhere in the World to get access to the latest newspapers or e-books to read.
There is still a question about whether or not this kind of technology is ready to go mainstream. We've already seen the Sony Reader be largely unsuccessful despite Sony's strong marketing plan for the device. For this reason, many people are already calling the Kindle a flop. Many people are already looking at the $399 price tag of the Kindle and saying that it's over-priced. I would have to agree with that statement, because this type of product hasn't proven itself in the electronics market yet.
There's no doubt that the Kindle could be useful in many situations, and it could help to conserve paper, but I just don't think that mainstream society is ready to fork over $399 for this type of device quite yet. Paperless technology is the future, though, so I think that Amazon.com is on the right track.
Amazon Kindle with Cover
Joe Eitel's Gadget Blog