Amazon Kindle: ID work

Does anyone know who did the ID work on the Kindle? I think it’s interesting how they broke away from the iPod look a little bit. The back reminds me Frog’s Acer computer from about 10-15 years ago in the detailing of little letters embossed in the plastic. The general form though has the feeling of a stealth fighter. The epaper looks good in the photos, I hope it is really that legible. I’m curious what the refresh rate is. Lastly, I love the flappy paddle page flipping. Overall, very interesting product.

Reminds me of Sapper’s IBM Leapfrog concepts. Same Stealth fighter edges

My crit:

  1. It looks dingy and old already… Matte white??
  2. It looks overly techie for a “book replacement.” Why? People like to “curl up” with a book, read in bed etc.
  3. Seems strange they’d devote so much space to a keyboard…Isn’t it supposed to be a READER? Make it all screen!
  4. The choice of white makes the screen look uglier and it’s distracting to the content. A “restful” charcoal grey would have been a better choice.
  5. They missed an opportunity to leverage the Amazon visual brand language. Ironically Amazon has a “cozy” look totally absent in this design, which is very sterile.
  6. Buttons everywhere means you have to be careful about how you handle it or risk accidental keypresses. Never had to worry about that with a book!

Good points. It’s way too extreme in styling and targetting in relation to what it is aiming to replace as well as the consumers it is to attract.

But forget all of the above, have you seen the price! $400! I’d rather an Asus EEC, something thats functional expectation is relative to the price.

Yeah this thing is a total mess. Seems like it does a lot of stuff though.

If they are actually utilizing xerox’s E-Paper technology it refreshes only when you turn the page/screen. It really works like ink on paper. Electrical current sets the “inc” and it stays until the page or screen is changed. It has been around for…well I utilized it for my thesis work in 2001, and it had been around for a few years at that point. There are a couple of $100-$200 small very small ereaders out there that I have seen that use it and it looks 90-95% as good as a paperback type print.

I do feel that they really messed this one up more than they got right. It kind makes me think they did not even look at the research and usabilitiy studies compiled on this subject mater. I still have one entire drawer in my filing cabinet dedicated to the research documents I found while researching from 2000-2001. Not to mention the multitude of startups that were working with textbook companies to release ebooks for their texts. (GoReader, Fujitsu, Franklin, Sony, etc.)

I do find the pagenation keys interesting however, and could be a tuely innovative feature of this interface, though overshadowed by everything else.

Does this come bundled with Pong…

The color is actually pretty good in my opinion. That photo I posted earlier didn’t do it justice. You would be surprised how hard it is to find a good linkable photo of the darn thing.

Anyways, I think the keyboard probably is a mistake from a strictly user-oriented position. It makes sense from a marketing perspective though. People might scoff at shelling out $400 for something that only presents text. The keyboard makes it seem more powerful.

I like the scroll wheel for flipping through, although it makes me wonder about the refresh rate again. After the iPod touch…are we really supposed to use a scroll wheel to flip through our eBook?

I researched epaper for my senior project in '01/'02 as well. It was pretty awful back then. I have seen one of the newer ebooks that use it. The refresh rate was decent and the resolution was absolutely superb. It was the first electronic device I could imagine reading a whole book on.

The big advantage I see of the Kindle is the size. I really like how thin it is. I remember RCA’s trial of the ebook. That thing wasn’t War & Peace thick, but it was surely thicker than something I could slide comfortably in my binder or brief case. I think that was one factor that has really held the ebook back.

Probably the biggest things against the Kindle is that a book still costs $10. You have to read a lot of books and consider the savings over a $30 hard back to really see a financial reason to buy a Kindle. The other hurdle is the user experience. I love smelly old paper.

too bad it doesn’t look/feel/work like a giant iPhone.

I’m going to use that line in my critiques from now on…

Or how about WWSJD (What Would Steve Jobs Do?)

I love trees for their oxygen just as much as anyone else, but I’d rather own a book instead of this Kindle.

  • It uses up energy, so it will need batteries or charging.
  • I’m sure there will be sharing rights. Meaning you can’t just let your friend borrow your book.
  • There is also the storage issue, you can only fit X amount of books on it, then they need to be transferred back to your computer to alloy you to read other books. I’d rather have a hard copy for my library.

I have always thought that eBook devices like this were a technology looking for a problem.

When it comes right down to it, eBooks are software. That eBook can be ported to any environment. With the advent of iPhone and iPod touch…isn’t it just a matter of time before iTunes becomes iTunes+Books?

This product looks like another design-by-committee gong show.

Well, as far as I can see (I did not have the opportunity to test the device) there is some good and bad that comes with the device/service (ying/yang anyone?). Some thoughts…

Closed device
But did that stop Apple to be succesful? To safeguard the ahum “customer experience” some vendors believe this is still the way to go. A lot of reviewers did not like the limited document/e-book format support. But if this is really a “book” reader not a document reader. Maybe the definition of what a book is all about need some rethinking? Is it static or dynamic? Do you want to change the content or just annotate? Do you want share the experience of reading with other people? The book social? Reading is/was a solitary experience. A moment of isolation for reflection and interpretation. My Da Vinci Code may not look like yours because of the different paths our lives have been following. RSS feeds and newspapers are dynamic. Books are static.

Wireless connectivity
Wireless and batteries don’t go well together. If you leave wireless on, you have to recharge almost daily. Why not an intelligent book dock or cover that contains the wireless technology and would have made it wireless technology agnostic. You want Wi-Fi, you just swap the dock or the intelligent cover. Do you really need to carry the wireless functionality with you all the time? Yes because you want instant gratification? OK, you’ll start to build a virtual bookshelf with impulse buys that you’ll never be able to read. What about daily content and RSS feeds? How much convergence do you need in a device? How much overlap is there with other devices you already own? Do you really want to delegate all your reading to this device?

Amazon enforces its propietary format. What will happen to your DRM protected content if for one reason or another you stop using the reader? Will you be able to convert the DRM protected content to another format and carry it on to another format/device?

Content distribution
Amazon’s core business. And because they don’t own content like Sony does, they are more neutral to publishers and have the potential to offer more content.

The display uses eInk technology not Xerox’s epaper.

is the form supposed to echo an open book? (they way the pages splay out into a point?) if so they missed the mark.

i’ve given it a couple days to see if the thing would grow on me…

it didn’t. its awefull. Mr. 914: i have to disagree with you, its the color of greyhound bus interoirs… you know the color that never looks dirty (because it’s the color of grime).

where they trying to go for the color of pages? if so i think that was the wrong path to follow… this is a ridgid electronic device, if you wanted the look\feel of a book, it needs to be flexible… curlable…
it also appears dated…

somebody tell me im wrong please! this is a huge disapointment from a hugely successfull company, somebody tell me they didn’t make a mistake with this thing.

Jeff Bezos says about his Kindle: “it must project an aura of bookishness; it should be less of a whizzy gizmo than an austere vessel of culture. Therefore the Kindle (named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge) has the dimensions of a paperback, with a tapering of its width that emulates the bulge toward a book’s binding”

Beautifully written… to bad it looks like birth control… cause you’ll never get laid while using one of those things. It’s just not cool

Coolness, as subjective, and non quantifiable as it is, is the key to anything disruptive catching on. Personally I love books, having them around, dog earing pages, writing in the margins…

I also used to love having CD’s, coming home and going through the struggle of opening the fort knox level of secure packaging, reading all the liner notes, seeing who played on what tracks… I haven’t bought a CD in couple of years (though I might break down for the new Cake CD because it is annoyingly not on iTunes yet) because a new system was not only easier (previewing pretty much anything before buying, whenever I want), it was also cooler…

Look at battery powered cars. GM’s EV-1 was an amazing technological marvel. But it looked like the egg Mork from Ork got out of and had the interior of an economy car. Even though a bunch of B level celebs held a mock funeral for it, it still died (cruelly at the hands of it’s maker)… The Tesla on the other hand has a $5,000 fee just to get on the wait list… cause that thing is cool.

The Prius, total dork mobile… Leonardo Dicaprio drives one… now it is somewhat cool.

Make things cool I guess would be the point. Save the arty pros.

I hate to say it, but that sounds like the BS that comes from Industrial Designers when they’re pitching an (bad) idea. Its the kind of BS that tries to bring meaning to a meaningless idea/concept. The product should speak for itself. If Bezos has to get words fed to him by his Design consultancy/PR firm to back the product…he knows it sucks.

but we still don’t know “who did the ID work” on this??