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Amazon's new Kindle eBook reader has some clever features, adding considerably to the book buying and reading experience.

But does it have too many features?  Does it end up as 'a jack of all trades and a master of none' and does it sacrifice simplicity in favor of too many features?

 
 
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Amazon Kindle e-Book Reader review

Lots of promise, but disappointing

Kindle 2 Preview here
 

White in color, slightly larger than a paperback book, and twice as heavy, but able to store hundreds of books digitally, Amazon's Kindle eBook reader also has a keyboard to allow for some basic web browsing via the high speed wireless service it also features.

There's a lot to like about this unit, which has the potential to develop in other areas as well as 'just' reading books.

But does it do a good job of its current prime purpose - allowing you to read books on its E Ink screen?

A review in two parts.  This is part one, part two is here.  See also our review of Sony's competing PRS-500 eBook reader.

 

 

EBook technology is something that promises a great deal, but has yet to deliver even minimally on its promises.  A functional but lackluster product from Sony has been available since late 2006, but greedy pricing on eBooks has killed any appeal it has to mainstream potential readers.

And so Amazon's entry into this marketplace has been greeted with a great deal of interest.  Amazon's strength is, of course, getting books, at discounted prices, to readers through an excellently designed website.  The good news - their website makes it much easier to buy eBooks than the Sony Bookstore, and Amazon now (June 2008) has over 125,000 titles available for their eBook reader, known as the Kindle (compared to only 20,000 with Sony).  Even better, their pricing is more realistic, generally a third lower than Sony.

But, is the Kindle the eBook reader we've all been waiting for and now must buy?  Should you buy one as your own personal Christmas present this year?

Alas, we find the unit to be flawed in several areas, and to lack the 'sex appeal' of an iPod, iPhone, or other excellently designed 'gadget'.  Most people will probably decide not to buy a Kindle in its first generation form, and will instead hope that a second generation unit will have a lower purchase price, better interface, broader range of titles, and better design and build quality.

The Amazon Kindle e-Book Reader System - What you Get

The Kindle, which one buys for $359 only from Amazon's website, comes nicely packaged inside a cardboard box that looks vaguely like a thick hardcover book.  (Update May 2008 :  The price was originally $399 but has now lowered down to $359.)

There isn't much inside the box, which comes with special padding to fill up what would otherwise be a largely empty space inside - the unit itself, a cover, a multi-voltage power supply, and a USB cable.

In terms of documentation, there is a license agreement sheet and a 30 page 'About Your Amazon Kindle' leaflet.  More detailed documentation is in a 91 page User Guide which is, and perhaps logically enough, in electronic form on the Kindle rather than printed.

This isn't actually as logical a concept as it seems.  I wanted to have the manual to one side while I played with some of the commands and controls on the unit, but this meant I was needing to keep moving from the manual page to doing things then getting back to the manual again to continue reading.  This was not an easy thing to do, and highlights one weakness of electronic books compared to their 'old fashioned' print versions - you can only have one eBook open on the screen at a time.  Fortunately, one can also download a PDF of the manual from the Amazon support web for Kindle.

The unit comes with a one year warranty.  Customer support is available either through the support website or by phone, toll free to (866)321-8851, and is available seven days a week, 6am - 10pm Pacific Time.

The first time I called for support, I was immediately connected to a friendly helpful American based in Kennewick, WA.  Well done, Amazon, for choosing to support the product here in the US rather than offshore.

The second time also got me a helpful person, and my report of a suspected battery life problem caused them to immediately overnight me a replacement unit - not just a replacement battery, but an entire new Kindle.  A very positive response indeed.

A printed sheet of protective plastic over the screen acts as a quick start guide - step one is to charge the unit, step two is to turn the power on, and step three is to remove the protective sheet and start the unit.  Very straightforward.

Well, actually, no.  The last part of the three steps - starting the unit - was puzzling.  There's no immediately visible on/off button on the front.  However, while I was staring at the unit and wondering what I was overlooking, the unit powered up by itself.  There is no regular On/Off switch as such, other than the master power switch on the back.  The reason for this is because the E Ink display uses no power, other than when it is 'turning the page' and changing the display.  The unit's electronics go into a sleep mode after some minutes of inactivity, and the display switches to one of a series of quirky clip art images, with instructions at the bottom on how to re-awaken the unit when you wish to use it again.

The Design, Look and Feel of the Kindle

I might sound superficial here, but I consider it essential that the Kindle look sophisticated, sexy, and clever.

Look at an iPod, for example, whether it be a full size hard disk based unit, or a Nano iPod (either first or second generation).  They are all wonders of industrial design and engineering.  They are made out of almost seamless materials, and part of the wonder is 'how did they fit this all together so well'.  There are no obvious seams or cracks, and the units are almost pieces of personal jewellery as much as functional MP3 players.  I've sometimes wanted to buy another iPod just because they look so nice in the stores.

When someone is buying a new piece of electronic equipment that will be used in public, they want the item itself to reflect positively on themselves and their tastes.  They want something that shows themselves to be discerning, and a connoisseur.  They don't want something that implies they are a geek or a nerd.

And, of course, in addition to wanting something that makes them look good in the eyes of people around them (or, at the very least, something that doesn't make them look stupid) they want something that is easy to use - which is as polished in its actual use as it is in its design and manufacture.

Okay, after this lengthy build-up, how does the Kindle score?  Very very poorly.

The unit itself, which is inexplicably wedgy in construction (thicker on the left hand side than the right) looks to be cheaply constructed, with everything in plastic, nothing metal.  That's not to say that metal is essential or important, but the plastic finish to everything looks plain and cheap.  Amazon's partial excuse to that is 'we didn't want the unit itself to detract from your experience reading the books on it' but that is a nonsense statement to make.  A well designed well made unit would enhance the overall reading experience.

Furthermore, contrary to their claim, the design of the unit actually does interfere with its use.  The white cream plastic makes it harder to read the unit in low light.  If, for example, you're on a night flight somewhere and are reading the unit in the dark with only the overhead light illuminating your Kindle, or perhaps if you have one of the Book Lights to provide light, you'll find that your eyes have difficulty adjusting to the high contrast bright white that is shining light back to you, and the low contrast grey and black of the screen that isn't shining light back to you.

Amazon should have designed the front of the unit in a darker color so as to make it easier to read in low light/spot light conditions.

Actually using the unit is poorly thought out, too.  Much of both sides of the unit have large buttons on the sides to control your moving through pages in the book.  But try and hold the unit without ending up inadvertently pushing these buttons.  Chances are you'll find yourself losing your place due to unplanned clicks of these large buttons.

The four buttons are not very logical, either.  A big button on the left from the top of the unit and down two thirds of the screen is to go back to a previous page, and below that is a smaller button to go forward to the next page.  But, on the right hand side, there is a large button running the entire length of the screen for going forward to the next page, and then below that, a button marked 'Back' which doesn't take you back to the previous page, but instead takes you back up the menu tree to the previous level menu.  Unless you really concentrate, you'll find yourself pushing the wrong button on the wrong side from time to time.  It happens to me all the time.

On the back of the unit, only accessible by taking the unit out of its cover, is a master On/Off switch and a Wireless On/Off switch.  You'll probably want to keep the wireless function off much of the time to preserve battery life, and will always need to turn it off if using the unit on a plane.

As an aside, would you care to guess at what percentage of people will remember to turn the wireless transmitter off when on a flight?  My guess is much less than half, so let's all hope the airlines are indeed over-reacting when they worry about wireless transmitters and cell phones being on during a flight.

There's an unnecessarily small QWERTY keyboard below the screen.  The keys could be larger, because there is a large gap in the middle between the two halves that could have been used to make all the keys slightly larger and better spaced.  And if the keys weren't positioned in so far from each side of the unit, this would have given even more space; in total, there's perhaps 1.5" of wasted space.

To navigate through menus and pages, there is a clickable scroll wheel and highlight strip on the right hand side of the screen.  This is a clear example of a klutzy interface that could have been made much more sophisticated - instead of an old-fashioned clickable scroll wheel that moves the indicator on the highlight strip, why not make the highlight strip touch sensitive, and just run your finger to where you want to select, and tap your finger to make the selection?

Indeed, why not replace the clickable buttons on the sides of the unit with touch sensitive controls as well?

Hopefully you won't often have to look at the back of the unit, because it is even uglier than the front.  While the good news is the battery is user-replaceable, the bad news is there's a klutzy old-fashioned style friction fit battery cover that spans most of the back of the unit.  There's no obvious reason why it has to be so large, because when you remove it, most of what is uncovered is just another layer of plastic covering that protects the inner electronics.

You also need to remove the back cover to access the SD slot.  While you probably won't regularly be swapping SD cards in and out of the unit, it is disappointing that you need to take the unit out of its cover, remove its back, and power the unit off before removing/replacing the SD card.

Other reviewers have compared the Kindle variously to a Commodore 64 or an Apple II.  This fairly conveys the Kindle's feeling of un-stylish 'retro' design, making it reminiscent of something designed in a hurry, on a limited budget, and with limited resources and only very basic manufacturing capabilities, 30 years ago.

All in all, the Kindle's design is intrusive and dysfunctional, making it less pleasant and more difficult to use the unit.  It is a matter of astonishment that a company the size of Amazon, with presumably close to unlimited resources, and with a product they've been working on for three years (the original iPod took something like three months from concept to release), has ended up releasing such a dog of a design.

The Kindle's Cover

Inside is the unit itself and a protective cover made out of a sturdy leatherette material.  A nice thing about this cover is an elastic strap that can be used to keep the cover shut, protecting the Kindle and its screen inside.

But the cover is thick and ungainly, poorly designed and constructed.  It adds greatly (and unnecessarily) to the overall size of the unit in its cover, and instead of the elastic strap, a 'higher-tech' approach may have been to use a magnetic closure.  When reading the unit, it is best to fold the cover around to the back of the unit, and the stiffness and thickness of the cover make this difficult to do.

You certainly wouldn't want to have the unit outside of its cover - the screen is probably fragile and could be either scratched or broken if not protected, and the cover also promises to absorb some of the shock/damage if you drop the unit.

The unit fits strangely into the cover, with a sticking up bit of the cover wedging into a slot in the battery cover on the back of the unit itself.  On repeated occasions, attempting to ensure the unit was anchored correctly resulted in the battery cover coming off the bottom of the Kindle and the unit then being free to slip and slide without constraint.

A battery cover that falls off?  Surely a classic example of bad design, and completely out of place on a $400 up-market luxury gadget.

It is apparently important to use the thick elastic strap to retain the unit in its cover - one time I failed to do this and when I retrieved the unit from my computer bag an hour and some miles later, it had fallen out of the cover.

Overall, the cover is essential for its protective role, but is woefully pathetic in its design and functionality.

Using the Kindle

Basic Book Reading

It is surprising just how functional and convenient regular 'old fashioned' printed books actually are.  Most of the time, we simply want to read a book, turning page after page, and occasionally, we want to mark our place in the book, or jump ahead or backwards.  Sometimes we want to skim through the book to find something we're looking for, and perhaps there is a contents or an index to help us use the book most effectively (particularly reference books).

Some types of books definitely benefit from illustrations (eg recipe books, design books, etc).

So how are these functions handled with the Kindle?  Reasonably well.  You can certainly page forwards and backwards, a page at a time, by pushing the Next Page and Previous Page buttons.  But if you want to skip ahead a chapter, there's no way to do that.  And if you want to indulge yourself and read the last chapter first, you can't do that, either.

If the book has a formal chapter or contents list, you can go there and then directly access each separate chapter or section.  You can also create a series of bookmarks and then call up a list of them and go directly to any of those.  Bookmarks are identified by a location number (sort of something like a page number) and the first few words that appear at the top of the page.  It is a shame you can't edit the bookmark identifiers, because often the first few words at the top of a page give you no clue, sometime later, as to what it was or why you bookmarked that page for.

You can also search for words or phrases, and the searching (remarkably quick) will search all the books on the Kindle, returning you three line excerpts from each book where the word or phrase occurs, and allowing you to then directly click to that selected page.

A big weakness of this unit and its Sony competitor is the inability to show good quality images.  It only displays a few shades of grey, and no color, in images, so any type of illustrations get mangled and are disappointing to look at.

The Kindle doesn't use the concept of pages to show where you are in a book.  Sony's PRS-500 retains the concept of pages, even if they are somewhat less relevant in an eBook compared to a traditional book, and renumbers them depending on if you are using a small, medium or large font (which means of course more or fewer words per page and therefore more or less pages per book).

The Kindle merely has a progress bar along the bottom of the page that shows how far through the book you are, plus gives you a puzzling reference to locations on that page, whatever that might mean.

Navigating forwards and backwards is sometimes easy, but be careful you don't get the buttons confused and hit the 'Back' button instead of the 'Previous' button.  The 'Back' button may take you out of the reading mode entirely, whereas the 'Previous' button safely does what its name implies, and takes you back one page.

Perhaps the biggest problem I had in reading with the unit was how to hold it.  The unit would either fall out of its cover or I'd take it out of the unwieldy cover, but when holding the unit, there's almost nowhere along the edges to hold it that doesn't run the risk of clicking one of the four Next, Back, or Previous buttons that run along most of the unit's two long edges.

Text Books

On the face of it, eBooks would be a brilliant way to replace big heavy short lived and very expensive regular text books.  Wouldn't it be wonderful for students to go to and from school carrying only an eBook reader rather than a bag full of bulky heavy books!

And for short print run text books that sometimes are reprinted and revised each year, you'd think and hope there could be massive savings by distributing them electronically.

But unfortunately, electronic text books is not yet a practical concept, due to limitations in how the Kindle (and other eBook readers) allow you to read and work with the information in a book.

When you're reading a normal book, you typically start at page one and work your way through to the end, page by page.  This is the easiest type of scenario for the Kindle to duplicate.

Now think about how you use a text or reference book. This is a lot more interactive than simply reading a novel sequentially from cover to cover. With a text book, you jump about, mark places, add comments, highlight bits, and so on and so forth. This is much much harder to do with an eBook, although not entirely impossible.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to duplicate with a single eBook reader is what I typically do when researching something with text books - I'll have two or three or more books all open at the same time.  With a single eBook reader, you can only show one book at a time.  Unlike an internet browser on a computer, you can't have multiple windows open at the same time and quickly jump from window to window in a single instantaneous keystroke - perhaps this might be something Amazon will consider for a future version of the software or hardware.

However, you can add highlighting (rather discreetly, and only in one form, not like the rainbow of colored markers some people use on books) and can also add comments to selected lines of text.  But you can't see the comments side by side with the text, when you're reading through the text you just see an indicator alongside that tells you there are comments available to read.

Some clever extra features

In addition to being able to search for words and phrases on stored books, you also have an option to search Wikipedia, the internet as a whole (through Google), or the Kindle book store on Amazon for the term.  The seamless extension of the Kindle reader into/onto the internet as a whole is a powerful enhancement that definitely adds value to the process.

Another nice feature is being able to get dictionary definitions for any word you read.  The Kindle comes complete with a pre-loaded dictionary - the New Oxford American Dictionary, and if you prefer a different dictionary, you can hopefully buy a Kindle version of it, load it onto your unit, and tell the unit to use the new dictionary for returning you word definitions.

The dictionary will only define less common words on a selected line of text, and these words seem to have more common meanings ignored.  For example, on the line of text

meetings interspersed with sessions with

it returned definitions for meeting, intersperse, and Sessions, with the latter definition surprisingly being information about Roger Sessions, an American classical composer.

The Wireless Data Service

One of the currently unique features of the Kindle is its included 'free' wireless service, with the largely unnecessary name of 'Whispernet'.  This is used to wirelessly transfer content from Amazon to the Kindle, and is also used to enable the device to provide some limited functionality as an internet access point, both to various directly linked services, and also to any other website url you might wish to type in.

The data access operates on Sprint's data network (part of their cell phone service), and works most quickly on their high speed EVDO service, but still perfectly satisfactorily on their slower, older, 1XRTT service.

EVDO service can run, in a best case scenario, at speeds in excess of 1 Mbit/sec (Sprint says an average of 600kbps - 1.4Mbps).  At such a speed, an 800kB book could transfer in less than ten seconds.

1XRTT service typically runs at a speed of 144 kbits/sec or less (Sprint says an average of 50 - 70 kbps).  At these speeds, an 800kB book would transfer in about a minute.

You can see where in the country Sprint provides coverage with its networks on their website.

This is great if you're somewhere Sprint provides coverage.  But it is very disappointing if you're out of range, or out of the country - the device doesn't roam outside the US.

Amazon said it considered using other types of wireless data access (notably Wi-Fi) but decided the better coverage provided by Sprint (in some of the country, but not everywhere) was more convenient for more potential users.  From my perspective, in the Seattle region, that was a good decision; your perspective may vary depending on the extent of Sprint's far from universal coverage.

Of course, if you're outside Sprint's coverage, you can still download content to the unit, through your computer.  This isn't as convenient, but it is a workaround.

Free Data Service?

We're all taught - and rightly so - to be suspicious of anything that claims to be free.

In the case of the Kindle, some elements truly are free, others simply have the costs obscured.  For sure, Amazon has probably agreed to pay Sprint a very low cost per Mb of data transferred, so there is an underlying cost that needs to be recovered.

In the cost of buying a book or magazine or even getting a blog feed, the cost of the 'delivery' of the data is included in the cost of the item you're purchasing.  This is probably part of the reason why Amazon is charging for access to otherwise free blogs.  Amazon is probably paying between 5c - 20c a MB of data transferred over Sprint's network.

But if you're using the free internet browser service, this truly is getting you internet access for free.  Sure, it is not very convenient, and the browser is very basic and doesn't do a good job on most formatted websites these days, but it is free web browsing that, with a bit of planning, can be made to be of some use.

So how can Amazon survive, offering a service for free that it has to, in turn, pay money to Sprint for?  My guess is that the free web service is currently a 'loss leader'; if Amazon finds that it is having to pay a disproportionate sum to Sprint for free web browsing, compared to the revenue it is getting from content sales, then look for Amazon to limit or start charging for this service.

Another factor could be that if there was a very large number of Kindles sold and used, Sprint would start to experience some network congestion such that, instead of selling otherwise unused spare capacity, the Kindle usage starts to be a significant part of its base capacity, and in such a case, Sprint will have to charge extra to fairly cover its costs.

In other words, enjoy it while you can, because it probably won't be free for ever.

Battery Life

One of my major objections to the Sony PRS-500 was its unreliable and always too short battery life.  The Sony battery seems to rapidly discharge on its own, and even when freshly and fully charged, can be good for as few as 2800 electronic pages, with each electronic page being as little as a third of a regular page.  In other words, the Sony eBook reader can run out of charge after displaying the equivalent of a couple of 450 page regular books - not nearly enough for a series of long flights and boring waits in airport terminals.

Does the Kindle offer more battery life, the same, or less?  Amazon makes it as difficult as possible to answer that question.

The only relevant and meaningful measurement of battery life is page turns - how many pages of material can the unit display before the battery is exhausted.  This is the best measure for two reasons - first, it tracks the key variable that matter to users, and second, page turns closely correlate to battery usage/life (the E Ink display only uses power to turn pages, not to display them, so - in theory - an eBook reader like the Sony or Amazon units will provide similar battery life whether you read pages very quickly or very slowly).

Unfortunately, Amazon has refused to reveal the unit's page turn life.  Instead, it uses meaningless measurements - it should last for two days with the wireless data service switched on, or a week with it switched off.

But, what does this mean to you and I?  The expectation of a week's battery life - does this assume we read 100 pages a day or 1000 pages a day?

I attempted to get an otherwise helpful and friendly Customer Support person to answer that question for me, but, alas, his answers were nonsense.  He stumbled and tried to suggest it was based on 8 hours of usage a day, but had no idea what sort of usage that was in terms of page turns.  Suggesting it would last for 8 hours of use a day for one week is, alas, utter nonsense.

It seemed safe to assume that, if Amazon refuses to quote meaningful battery life data, then that probably means the battery life is very poor and inferior to that of the Sony unit.  And so, with very low expectations, I proceeded to test the unit, turning page after page, from a full charge all the way to battery exhaustion.  And my exhaustion, too.

Amazingly, in this first test, Amazon appeared to be hiding its light under a bushel.  The Kindle has excellent battery life, and way better than the Sony unit.  I got 8430 page turns from the unit, with wireless off, and doing almost nothing other than turning pages.  While this is not the way you're likely to use the unit, and so your page turn count will be lower, it is the same way I tested the Sony unit, and so, in round figures, it is fair to say the Amazon unit offers almost twice the battery life of the Sony unit.

But - maybe there is a hidden further factor.  Although the E Ink display uses no power to maintain a displayed image, there's a fair amount of computer processing power 'under the hood' of a Kindle.  Perhaps a slower page turn rate, with more power burned by the idling processor, might reveal a lower total page turn capacity?

And so I proceeded to test the unit again, this time with 'slower' page turns.  How slow is slow?  I didn't scientifically determine that, and am now redoing the test a third time to try and get some consistently in terms of page turns per minute.  This third test assumes pages are read and turned at a rate of 3 pages/minute.

There is an enormous difference in page turn capacities.
 

 

Test 1 - Quick page turning

Test 2 - Slow page turning

Test 3 - 3 pages/min

1 bar lost

2050

1045

626

2 bars lost

3937

1290

 

3 bars lost

7228

1450

 

Low battery warning

8264

1571

 

Stops working

8430

1579

 


Clearly the unit uses an appreciable amount of power, just while it is on, even if it isn't turning pages, and even with the radio section turned off, and so battery life becomes a more complicated combination of page turns and time with the unit powered on, even if it is doing nothing.

Although in the best case (but unrealistic) scenario, the Kindle trounces Sony's page turn capability, when we get closer to real world scenarios, the Kindle falls dismally flat on its face.  No wonder Amazon has chosen to obfuscate on the subject of the battery life in the unit.

I'll continue to update this information as I test the battery life in more scenarios.

Impacts of the wireless data service on battery life

One thing is clear from Amazon's obtuse disclosures on battery life.  The wireless data service will reduce your expected life by at least threefold (ie from a week of use to two days of use).

Just like with a cell phone, the impact on battery life from the wireless transceiver in the unit will vary depending on if you're in a strong or weak signal area, and on how much data you transfer (a bit like how a cell phone will last very much longer on standby compared to when you're actually talking on the phone).

Because of the massive impact on battery life caused by the data service, we suggest you turn it off (switch on the back) and leave it off except for when you need to receive new downloads (books, magazines, etc).  Because the downloading is so quick, there's no need to leave the wireless on all the time - simply turn it on when needed, get your downloads (less than a minute for an entire book) then turn it off again as soon as it is finished.  A shame that Amazon didn't put this switch somewhere more reachable than on the back of the unit, obscured by the cover.

Another clever concept that Amazon could have considered, but plainly didn't, was to have the radio unit switch on and off on a timer - perhaps you could set it to turn on every morning five minutes before you wake up to download new copies of any newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc, that you subscribe to, then turn itself off again automatically after completing the transfers.

Battery charging and replacement

The Kindle is powered by a 3.7V Lithium Polymer battery with a 1530 mAh capacity.  The very good news is the battery can be replaced by yourself without needing any special tools, and without needing to send the unit away to a factory repair center.  Replacement batteries are sold on Amazon for $19.95 each.

The bad news is that the battery doesn't have contact connectors but rather has a wiring harness that leads to a micro-connector block inside the unit itself.  This seems like unnecessary over-engineering, and disconnecting it is not an easy process, which rather argues against the strategy of buying a spare battery or two to take with you when traveling and anticipating using the unit for many hours between charging opportunities.

Now for the inexplicably stupid limitation.  Unlike most other devices that use the nearly universal 3.7V Lithium rechargeable battery concept and which also have a USB port, the Kindle will not recharge itself from the USB port.  One of the key concepts of the USB design specification was to provide a built in source of power, both to power free-standing USB devices and also to be used to recharge USB devices that have built in 3.7V Lithium batteries.

Instead, Amazon are unnecessarily forcing us to pack yet another power supply with us when we travel.  Remember, the Kindle is an expensive $360 device - there's no reason why Amazon couldn't have spent perhaps 20 more (and probably less) in manufacturing to enable it to recharge through the USB port.  Shame on Amazon for this omission.

The battery charge indicator shows five different states from full to empty charge.  When the charge gets very low, the unit automatically switches off the wireless service to save on power.

It takes approximately two hours to recharge the unit.

Firmware and updates

Here's a very surprising thing.  As of 3 May, 2008, there hasn't been a single update to the Kindle firmware (my unit, which was probably part of the first manufacturing batch because I ordered it the day the units came on sale, is using version 1.0.4).  Either Amazon got everything incredibly perfect to start with, or is being surprisingly slow in maintaining, updating, and enhancing its firmware.

It also seems there have been no updates to their 'Experimental Features' section, in particular their very basic web browser remains as very basic as it was back in November.

In view of Amazon's claimed over-riding priority of developing its Kindle product range, and the very open ended architecture and capabilities of the unit, to see no progress in five months is both surprising and disappointing.

Read more about the Kindle and Sony eBook Readers

We continue and complete our review of the Kindle here.  Also our review of the Sony PRS-500.

Kindle 2 Preview here
 

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Originally published 23 Nov 2007, last update 02 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 

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