The boat for Kindle 2.0 has probably sailed – so it makes sense to look beyond 2.0 and look at what features we’d like to see in Kindle 3.0. Hopefully someone from the Amazon Kindle team stumbles across this and picks one of these for Kindle 3 (or at the minimum, takes inspiration from them). Here are the touch screen and holographic screen technologies that I think would go very well with the Kindle’s 3rd version (my personal favorites are Microsoft Surface and Dreamoc) –
- Microsoft Surface Multi Touch – This Microsoft Surface demo is the coolest thing I’ve seen from Microsoft (even cooler than PhotoSynth). If they put this into Windows 7 I’ll buy a copy the day it comes out (well, actually I’m going to buy a copy anyways). BTW they do have a working product already (Sheraton uses it). It costs between $5000 to $10,000. Jump to 2:47 to see Bill Gates describe it. [dailymotion id=x2hk11]
- HelioDisplay – You can check out the explanation video for HelioDisplay. However, the video right here shows something even cooler – HelioDisplay with interactivity (jump to 0:32). This goes beyond Multi Touch to a holographic interactive screen. Don’t just change the font size, change the screen size. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOSx7v87JCA]
- Jeffrey Han’s Multi Touch Screen – This is one of my personal favorites and I even sneaked one into a work presentation some 3 years ago. He later presented at TED (Feb 2006) – jump ahead to 2:31 for the good stuff. Also, he founded a company called Perceptive Pixel and they have a beautiful video of the screen technologies they’re working on. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKh1Rv0PlOQ]
- Dreamoc 3D Display System by RealFiction – This seems to be targeted at Retail outlets. However, a modification would work really well for the Kindle if you gave the Kindle 3.0 some depth (not sure how much would be needed) and projected books as holograms. Also, their DDC design center illusion video totally blew my mind. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYhwyBsIuG0&feature=related]
I tried to find other screen technologies that excited me, and couldn’t. If you have any suggestions let me know. Jeffey Han’s technology is showing it’s age when compared to the others. I’d be ecstatic to see any of the other 3 technologies in Kindle 3.0. On a side note, Apple bought Fingerworks to get its iPhone multi touch magic –
In 1999, Fingerworks, a Newark-based company run by University of Delaware academics John Elias and Wayne Westerman, produced a line of multi-touch products including the iGesture Pad and the TouchStream keyboard. Westerman published a dissertation in 1999 on the subject. In 2005, after years of maintaining a niche line of keyboards and touchpads, Fingerworks was acquired by Apple Computer. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, marking the first time multi-touch technology was used on a phone.
Its a little disheartening that something available since 1999 took until 2007 to come out in a widely used product. However, as the success of the iPhone shows – there is a huge premium associated with bringing cool new technologies to market. Amazon Kindle Team – its a huge opportunity – bringing an interactive holographic display or some variant of Microsoft Surface Technology to the third incarnation of the Kindle would bring huge rewards.
Finally, Kindle 3.0 having something like MS Surface multitouch is somewhat more likely now that –
Addie Wagenknecht and Stefan Hechenberger of Nortd studio, based in New York and Vienna, created a scaled-down open-source version of Surface, called CUBIT (multi-touch) and a screen based kit called TouchKit.
A long time ago I’d written a Kindle 2.0 and Kindle 3.0 wish list. After all the recent news, and especially after seeing the Sony PRS-700 and PlasticLogic eReaders my wishlist for the Kindle Reader V2 is a little different. In fact I have two lists.
Kindle 2.0 Most Wanted List
These are the features I really, really think the Kindle 2.0 should have, and missing these is a deal breaker. I’m still going to buy it – however i’ll be upset if these don’t make it in.
- Price below $300. This is really important. A sub $250 price is on my wishlist. However, a sub $300 price would be enough to create a lot of Kindle 2.0 sales.
- A better looking Kindle. I really hope that BGR got the wrong pictures and it was just a photoshop hack. Kindle 2.0 should be clearly better looking – prettier and/or sleeker and in more colors.
- A writeable eInk screen on the Kindle 2.0 that lets people use Kindle 2 as a journal and/or notebook. This is borderline – it might very well fit into the wishlist – however, putting it in here because it would really extend functionality.
- Better usability i.e. better next and previous buttons and a better case.
- A mechanism (like a Kindle App store or opening up the platform) that lets 3rd party developers create applications for the Kindle 2.0 (and for Kindle 1.0). It’ll be a matter of weeks before developers create Folders, Calendar, and other useful apps, not to mention crosswords, sudoku, and lots of games.
- A piece of software that lets any Kindle owner (2.0 or 1.0) find and connect with other Kindle owners using just the Kindle. Also, make it as simple as possible.
- Be able to buy anything from Amazon, not just kindle store items.
- Kindle Specific Sales Charts easily accessible from the Kindle (2.0 and 1.0), with a separate section for self published authors. Basically, something that encourages self published authors, while also letting users vote for their favorite books of all types.
Another good list of Kindle Features wanted at Pat Loughery’s Blog.
Kindle 2.0 Wish List
These are features that probably are unrealistic for the Kindle 2, and so would fit into Kindle 3.0. However it’d be awesome if one or more of these made it into Kindle 2.0.
- A colour screen.
- Sub $250 price.
- Full PDF support.
- Share your Kindle edition book (or the first 3 chapters) with one other Kindle owner.
- Free Blog Subscriptions.
- Multi Touch Screen (perhaps use Jeffrey Han’s stuff).
The Wishlist could be a lot longer – however, I’m just listing Kindle 2.0 features that would be realistic. Weell, actually a lot of the features on the wishlist are a bit of a stretch – like the color screen. PlasticLogic’s ultrathin, flexible reader and Sony’s touch screen have raised the bar on what’s expected of the Kindle 2.0. I really hope Amazon Kindle 2.0 meets or exceeds it.
Here are my wishlists for the Features I’d like to see in Kindle V2 and in Kindle V3. The price cut (i found out about it today) inspired me to finally polish these a bit. What would be your personal most wanted features?
Kindle V2 Wishlist
- Price: Cut the Kindle’s Price. This is the single biggest deterrent to most people. Cut it more than just the 40$ which I’ll give props to Amazon for.
- Design: Make it look prettier and make it customizable. This will be especially big when Amazon starts targeting the Kindle at teenagers and kids in general and girls in particular. Provide colour options and accessories and allowing customizations like etching (like Apple provides for ipods) and tag on bookmarks and stickers.
- Extend Functionality: eInk writeable screen. This is big, especially in context of school and college use as it goes from ebook reader to ebook + journal. There also needs to be exceptionally good usability in terms of switching from textbook mode to internet mode to book mode to journal mode. Also redesigning the homepage would be a big plus (which brings me to perhaps the two single most wanted features on my list)
- Extend Functionality: Open up the linux platform to extensions. At this point you can keep the closed garden and limit it to only the amazon store.
- Extend Functionality: Let people sell applications for the Kindle, along with books, in the Kindle Store.
- Usability: Make it a Colour Screen. Colour adds a whole new dimension.
- Functionality: PDF Support built in. Perhaps even put the convertor program that Amazon currently uses when you email them onto the Kindle. Else, get mobipocket creator on the kindle and automate the conversion. Yet another option is to use this script + process at mobileread forums. (courtesy http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/11/19/15-things-i-just-lea.html)
- Extend Functionality: Make the Browser a REAL browser.
- Extend Functionality: Be able to buy anything from Amazon.
- Community: Make it social and add in Kindle to Kindle chat + support it with an internet based online social network that both Kindle owners and Amazon users can join. Kindle book clubs and let anyone with a kindle start their own book club.
- Amazon Kindle Sharing Model: You can lend out your book physically i.e. Transfer ownership. And allow transferring back (perhaps limit it to one person per book). this atleast allows for some amount of sharing. Alternately, let people share out the first 2 or 3 chapters of a book (kindle store already allows you to read 1 chapter before buying).
- For the record i think DRM is a GOOD thing. So I have no ‘remove DRM’ on my wishlist.
- Usability: This is a big one – Redesign the back button and the cover to work better. Include a clip-on light (minor point in my book).
- Extend Functionality: Ramp up the Kindle to make it a semi-GPS. Include full support for local search and Maps, ideally both yahoo maps and google maps.
- Price: Free Blog Subscriptions. Its just insane to have paid Blog Subscriptions. At the most a 1 or 2$ a month subscription to all available blogs.
- Extend Functionability: Support for Images, JPG, TIF.
- Magazines and newspapers – allow people to store every single magazine/newspaper they ever bought in their Amazon account. Not just for the past 7 months.
- Community: Make Kindle Publishing more of a community thing and make it easier to spread the news. Haven’t thought about this enough to have a suggestion – however turning Kindle owners into book early adopters.
So that’s my list for V2 suggestions and before I go on to V3 suggestions there’s something Teresa at BoingBoing mentioned – A lot of these weird limitations make sense if you assume that Sprint required them in order to keep the Kindle from being adapted to purposes for which one would normally use a cellphone.
If that really is true Amazon needs to negotiate around it quickly. Google has been putting a lot of effort into freeing up the airwaves and even looking at things like using unused TV channels to get Android a foothold. There really isn’t much time to set up a good channel that Amazon controls to a reasonable extent. And that thought brings us to …
Kindle V3 Wishlist
- Price: Provide an ‘all the books you can buy’ model.
- Price: Option to get a Kindle free when you purchase 2 years of the ‘all the books you can buy’ model.
- Price: Lower the price point for books to 6.99$ or even 4.99$.
- Extend Functionality: Extend and be able to buy things from any store.
- Availability: Extend Kindle availability to outside the US.
- Usability: Jeffrey Han’s multi touch screen. I say usability because firstly this model makes things easier.
- Functionality Extensions: Let other stores allow shopping over the kindle.
- Fun: Add on a games module i.e. Sudoku, etc. and online games. I mean basic play everyday games like chess, online poker, etc. It’s running linux so this should be relatively straightforward. There are two categories of games here – games like crosswords, sudoku etc. which make a lot of sense and slightly more advanced games which perhaps don’t.
- [This is of course going away from its core functionality so i really don’t know if this suggestion makes sense] Add Video Capabilities + integrate with Unbox. If TV on your phone is supposed to be such a big deal, wouldn’t the Kindle work better?
- Extend Functionality: Blog from your Kindle. This is really simple if you extend browser capabilities. However, asking for more than just that – make blogging simpler – add a button or shortcut to blog instantly.
- Encourage Development for the Kindle: Set up a prize for the best app/mashup for the kindle. There’s lots of scope as you have Amazon’s API, AWS, the kindle, the internet, google maps, mashups, flickr, gutneberg, and lots of other different elements you can bring together.