Update: I have the latest Kindle, the one back-lit with 300 ppi resolution. I also have the kindle app installed in every PC, Mac and on Samsung Note 4 Android phone (which has a large screen)
By far the most pleasant reading experience is from the Kindle device. It shows that Amazon has something off the beaten path.
What you read here is my first Kindle, which I would have had not replace, but because the batteries died and there is no way to replace them.
So if a Kindle lasts for 3 years, calculate about 3.50 dollars per month the cost of owning it.
I was - like most people who read - a believer in printed and bound books. I like the smell of a new book. I bought them, to own the copy, as I often made notes for reference later.
The kindle 3G changed my perception. It is a marvel of product management work,the engineering design is secondary. Here are the reasons why:
Kindle 3G+ WiFi is designed exclusively for reading. A serious reader does not want distractions, like browsing Internet, twitter, email, games and so on
Screen is black on white. Sure books may have illustrations in color, but the text in 99% of the books is black on white.
The screen resembles the paper. No back-lit screen. Very readable in full sun or from the light of a small lamp next to the bed. Reading from back lit screen is like watching a lamp's bulb: very tirening. Amazon slogan is : "50% better contrast with latest E Ink Pearl technology". Sure, whatever, but it works
Small print or large print is adjustable. As we get older, we can increase the font, rather then getting new glasses :-)
No touch screen! This was puzzling at the beginning. We are used with touch-on screens in our PDAs. No-touch screen maintains the screen clean, without fingerprints
Actual keyboard and special purpose keys allow to move pages, consult dictionary, make notes. However the notion of pages is not working for Kindle (or any electronic reader). The number of pages depends upon the size of the font used. What you have are locations and percentages of what you read versus the total size of the book. You can see the location clearly at the bottom of each screen.
Do you need both wireless and 3G connectivity? Actually 3G increases the price by $50 versus WiFi only. This is a source for additional revenues for Amazon. The clever part is that the 3G or Wireless can only be used to order new Kindle books. The 3G does not usage fee, for this very reason.If teh kindle user uses 3G ONLY to purchase a book, then the connection fee is absorbed by Amazon . Unless you are in terrible hurry to purchase a book outside a WiFi area, you don't need a 3G. Save $50, if you find a Kindle WiFi only. The only Kindle you can buy in top stores (Best Buy) - in stock - is the more expensive 3G.. If not , order it directly from Amazon.
The screen size 6" is plenty and weight is 8.7 ounces, holding up to 3,500 books. In the store you may be tempted to buy Kindle DX, which is double size, double weight, it does not fit a large pocket, like the one I have on my shirts from Cabelas, and the battery life is less than half the Kindle 3G.
Steve Jobs is famous saying that people don't read anymore. People email, browse, twitt, listen to music and watch videos. What Kindle did, it took the entire experience of reading, that serves us well ever since the Bible was written and read, and adapted to the electronic era. The product amazingly conserves the passion and pleasure physical book, with even more concentration and enhanced clarity.
The IPad tablet is a dazzling device from Apple, a company with astounding skill in product management. Yet Ipad does not enhances the experience of reading. It makes reading flashier in a device with many distractions that tries to be a laptop and PDA and HD TV. These product goals require compromises, Each of those functions can delivered much better in dedicated devices.
Kindle 3G is a real winner, as it captures the soul of a hard core reader. We are what we are (doctors, politicians, writers and accountants, dreamers, soap opera fans) because we learned how to read.
Reading is still considered the most fundamental medium of knowledge acquisition.
The importance of Kindle to generate post sale revenues is substantial. The Kindle will make reading books popular again. I just formulated the product goal. The execution to get here via product management is superb. I expect the Kindle to improve constantly. It took a few incarnations to get here. Amazon did not get discouraged, because there is no success without failure. In fact failure is part of the product life cycle for top products in the world.