I ordered an Amazon Kindle the day they first became available, and I love it. I use this handheld book e-reader to read newspapers and some books. I love it for newspapers, magazines, and reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, "how-to" books, etc.) but probably will never use it to read a novel. I read the Wall Street Journal on the Kindle every day. The Journal is delivered by a wireless data connection during the night.
The biggest drawback of the Kindle I have been using is screen size. The display is crystal sharp but is only about 6 inches on the diagonal. Now Amazon has announced a new Kindle DX with a 9.7-inch screen and is accepting pre-orders. I suspect the larger screen will be even easier to read although the first model was rather easy on the eyes. The new screen is roughly the same size as a printed magazine. In fact, with its adjustable font sizes, the Kindle is often recommended for people with vision problems. Its crystal sharp display is easier to read than printed pages. If a word or phrase is difficult to see, it can be instantly magnified into huge letters that vision-impaired readers will appreciate.
Even better, the newly-announced Kindle DX includes a read-to-me feature that reads books out loud, perfect for anyone who is totally blind.
The new Kindle DX includes:
- 9.7" diagonal e-ink screen reads like real paper; boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and sharp images
- Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines and significantly thinner than the original Kindle
- Holds up to 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents
- Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages
- Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go
- Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right to your Kindle DX, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, no annual contracts, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
- Books In Under 60 Seconds: You get free wireless delivery of books in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
- Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging
- Read-to-Me: With the text-to-speech feature, Kindle DX can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable
- Over 275,000 books already available with more being added daily. Most books sell for $9.95, less than the price for the printed versions.
- U.S. and international newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, magazines including The New Yorker and Time, plus popular blogs, all auto-delivered wirelessly
The biggest downside is the price of the new Kindle DX: $489.00. It has great technology, but I suspect that price is too high for most people. The original Kindle with the 6-inch screen will continue to be available for $359.00.
The Kindle DX is expected to ship this summer. For more information, or to pre-order the device now, look at Amazon.
You might also be interested in my earlier "The Future of E-paper" article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/06/the-future-of-e.html.