Could your Kindle be any better?
Actually, it probably could.
Here are 10 software and 10 hardware additions that would add a lot of value. Perhaps Amazon should consider adding them soon.
Kindle Additions to Improve the Kindle ownership experience
First, let’s look at software improvements. These are things that can be added in Kindle 2 and Kindle 3 itself.
Kindle Software Improvements that would add a lot of value
- Adding all the Kindle 3 improvements to other Kindles. It’s not like Kindle 2 is going to cut into Kindle 3 sales now – might as well add all the improvements.
- Custom Screensavers. After Folders this is the most requested feature and it wouldn’t be a surprise if a lot more people want this than want Twittering and Tweeting.
- Turning on the microphone and enabling Voice Commands and Voice Notes.
- An Email Client. Perhaps there’s a monthly limit on data usage or a $1 per month charge for those using it. However, this would add a ton of value.
- Support for Library Books. Amazon might not want to add ePub as that lets other eBook stores sell books to Kindle owners. However, it could work out an arrangement with OverDrive that lets Kindles read library books. That would probably sway 50% to 75% of the people who choose Nook over Kindle.
- Multi-level Folders. It sort of defeats the purpose of Folders if they are just one level – then they are just tags not Folders.
- A ‘My Clippings’ Folder that has per-book Notes and Highlights and also has a history of all the words you looked up and includes the corresponding dictionary entries.
- Reading History. A record of what books you’ve read, when you read them, and things like how fast you read the books. It could be an opt-in so people who don’t want this tracked don’t have to turn it on.
- Kindle to Kindle Social Network that lets you meet other Kindle owners with similar interests, get recommendations, and exchange books (now that there is going to be one-time lending added to Kindle books).
- An on-Kindle app that keeps track of what books you have available to lend and what books you’d like to borrow. This app should also let you find Kindle owners who have the books you want. Perhaps even relative value of each book based on supply and demand.
- Bonus: Password protection for purchases.
- Bonus: Showing the date along with the time.
- Bonus: A timer that lets you see how long you’ve read a book for – in the current session and also in total.
- Bonus: Keyboard shortcuts – Alt+M for Menu, Alt+R for Most Recent Book, Alt+B for Back, and so forth.
- Bonus: Allowing re-assigning of the keys. At the minimum a few changes like making ‘Space Bar’ the page turn button in landscape mode.
- Bonus: Book Cover for the book you’re reading can be set as screensaver.
- Bonus: Copy-Paste functionality.
- Bonus: Auto-correction when writing notes.
These are all software improvements. Next, let’s look at some hardware improvements. These would have to come in Kindle 4.
Kindle Hardware Improvements that would add a lot of value
- Touch – Amazon should consider adding the new Sony Readers’ infra-red touch technology. Nook Color is the first reading-focused device that does a decent job with touch and Amazon should avoid Sony’s use of touch and utilize touch the way Nook Color does.
- Color – Mostly to compete with other reading devices but also because often people find color useful/necessary/soothing for cookbooks and textbooks and children’s books.
- A faster processor and more memory. Processor and memory costs are dropping constantly and it would make a lot of sense to improve the underlying hardware – It would improve every aspect of the Kindle’s performance.
- Adding both a microSD card slot and a USB 3.0 port.
- Adding back the Number Keys Row. It’s still not intuitive that Alt+T and Alt+Y are 5 and 6.
- Bigger keyboard buttons and bigger letters on them. Perhaps even braille markings on the letters if that’s doable.
- Moving the Menu and Back button elsewhere. Pressing down on the 5-way goes ‘Back’ often enough to be a royal pain.
- Slightly bigger page turn buttons. Actually, there might be no possible implementation of page turn buttons that makes everyone happy. Perhaps the solution is to have segmented page turn keys where users can turn off the inner portion (inside segment) if they don’t want a larger page turn key.
- A flip out stand in the back cover. Something you could use to prop up the Kindle.
- A flexible, foldable design that lets you fold your Kindle in two and carry it in your pocket.
- A 7″ screen.
- Bonus: Power slider at the top again.
- Bonus: Replaceable battery and having all the thousands of certification signs inside the back cover instead of on the outside.
- Bonus: Customizable Back Covers. Let users get covers in other colors and designs.
- Bonus: More color options for the Kindle itself – It’d be nice to step out of grayscale.
- Bonus: Swype for ultra-rapid typing on an optional touch-screen keyboard. As a supplement to the physical keyboard.
- Bonus: A Camera that scans a book cover and finds the book in the Kindle Store.
- Bonus: A bar code scanner that does the same.
Amazon has spoilt us quite a bit with all the improvements in Kindle 3. Hopefully, it can continue improving the Kindle at this pace and can also add all the software improvements to Kindle 2.