Saying goodbye to Kindle 2

The Kindle 3 is still 23 days away and already the thought of not reading on my Kindle 2 is beginning to bother me.

It’s been a year and 5 months. Books. Checking up facts for posts. Comparisons, Reviews, Photos and Videos.

Playing around with the KDK Beta. KDK Apps are the silver lining – because will still have to test apps on Kindle 2.

Here are the things that are hard to let go of –

  1. The fact that it’s linked to the pleasure of reading.  
  2. The whiteness.
  3. The row of number keys. In an alternative universe Kindle 3 probably still has them.
  4. The slider that almost doesn’t work.
  5. The 5-way that keeps going left instead of down. 
  6. Spending way too much time on Folders and then finding out there’s a way to add all the books at once.
  7. One handed reading in bed.
  8. Pressing Home thinking it’s Previous Page.
  9. Figuring out how to highlight across pages and the disproportionate joy of it.

It’s strange how every purchase seemed wrong – the iPhone, the iPad, the Nook. The Nook seemed the worst of all.

However, the Kindle 3 is – well, it’s the only wrong purchase – because it’s meant to replace my Kindle 2.

10 things about the Kindle that puzzle me

Why can’t you buy other Amazon products from it?

There’s no reason for it to not have an Amazon shopping app that lets you browse through Amazon and buy products.

Why can’t you chat with other Kindle owners?

Wouldn’t adding a social aspect to reading ebooks be a really good feature? There’s lots Kindle owners have in common. We can get recommendations, share stuff, and in general connect with similar people.

Why isn’t the keyboard better?

Given that the Kindle’s screen is 9 out of 10 for reading its surprising that the keyboard and keyboard related interface is a 5 out of 10 for taking down notes. The real estate is there to have bigger keys and there are lots of ways to make note-taking easier. It makes sense to improve the note-taking abilities.

Why isn’t there an app store yet?

Amazon have said they’ll be adding an App Store at some point of time. There are lots of directions in which developers would take the device and perhaps some of those are bad directions. However, users get to choose whether or not they want to go.

There are lots of features that a subset of Kindle owners really want and that Amazon will never get to that independent developers would probably deliver. Not only do Amazon get lots of people working on adding Kindle features for free, they also make money off of every single purchase.

Why isn’t there better font support?

There are lots and lots and lots of people who would buy the Kindle if it supported Unicode fonts. Additionally, people would not have to use hacks and such to get Unicode font working on their Kindles. Hacks that they have to uninstall and reinstall every time there’s a new Kindle firmware update.

Amazon are losing sales every day because it doesn’t support more languages and its time they addressed it. How big of a fix could it be?

Why is the Kindle DX still at its launch price of $489?

Since it’s launch the Kindle 2 has seen a steady drop in price and an addition in features including rotation support and PDF support – two of the supposed pluses of the Kindle DX. The Kindle DX has also seen most of the features added to the Kindle 2. However, it’s price hasn’t dropped at all. It’s over a year and you have to start wondering when Amazon are going to cut the Kindle DX’s price.

You also have a slew of tablet devices and large screen smartphones coming in that offer a lot of value for money and make a $489 dedicated reading device seem overpriced.

Why is there only one Font?

There is the simplicity argument and it’s a beautiful font – However, one font leaves the user with no choice.

Perhaps someone likes sans-serif. Perhaps someone has a favorite font. Perhaps people are tired of seeing the same font. There might be authors who have a specific font in mind for their book and there might be reasons users want separate fonts for separate types of reading.

Caecilia by herself isn’t enough (even if she is breaking my heart).

Why aren’t there more keyboard shortcuts?

It’s nice to have Alt+B for setting bookmarks and Alt+G for refreshing the screen to remove ghosting. It would have been nice to have a shortcut for changing font size, one for screen rotation, and one for search. There are a lot of keys on that keyboard plus a Shift and an Alt key.

Amazon could and should make things faster by adding in a bunch of keyboard shortcuts.

Why aren’t there Page Numbers?

Yes, we all know the page sizes are dynamic and it would be really difficult to have Page Numbers. Here’s a simple solution – Tag the first and last words on a page and use those tags to list page numbers. If a page on the Kindle is a mix – simply write it as ‘Page 26, 27 of 312’.

Locations are a technically smart solution and they totally throw people off. Isn’t the aim making things simple for users. Everywhere Amazon shines at this and yet with Page Numbers they totally miss it.

Why haven’t Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2 been released yet?

Amazon are fighting against the latest technology with a Kindle 2 that is 1.5 years old and a Kindle DX that is a year old. Even eInk/PVI should have been able to manage some eInk screen technology advances in that much time.

It’s great to see an awesome Kindle 2.5 release with Folders and supersize fonts and features that the Press can twitter about. However, the hardware is due for an upgrade too. Kindle 3 needs to arrive soon and it needs to make a big impression.

Kindle 2 Thoughts

This is just a collection of Kindle 2 related musings –

  1. A great tool, Mysteria, that lets you keep a reminder and get alerted when a book becomes available in Kindle format.
  2. Allegedly Its run by a K1/K2 program manager from Amazon (used domaintools to find out Jason Merkoski is the site owner). Got to love the Internet.
  3. There’s also a David Merkoski who’s a Design Manager at Frog Design, the company that designed Kindle 2. Wonder if they’re related?
  4. A commenter (Michael Long) on Joe Wikert’s Kindleville Blog had an interesting point –

    Isn’t there some way to do a “smart” page refresh that doesn’t require inverting the entire page during each page “turn”?

    People cut down video size by saving information on the pixels that change with each frame change. Why couldn’t the Kindle 2 save books as the pixels that change, instead of individual pages? And then do ‘smart’ refreshes?  

  5. Speaking of screen flashes, Ectacto is touting it’s JetBook as free of these ‘screen refresh flashes’ and is now available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Magellans. Of course, buying it at Amazon would probably be easier.
  6. At MobileRead, Mike L has a way to get free samples in areas outside of WhisperNet – you do need an iPod or iTouch to make it work.
  7. Wondering if anyone anywhere has information on who the bestselling self-published Kindle Store authors are?
  8. Another low-priced book shows up in the Kindle Deals section of the Kindle Store – Afraid by Jack Kilborn. Just $1.99 and very well reviewed.
  9. Nieman Journalism Lab believe something that sounds completely inconceivable – only 3% of newspaper reading happens online. Will write a separate post on this.
  10. And finally,  someone created an easy way to read the Kindle in bed – Kindle in Bed. If you’re too lazy to make your own, try out the Peeramid.

That’s my K2 thoughts for today.