Kindle 3 Photo Overload

Wondering what the Kindle 3 looks like?

Well, there’s a painfully exhaustive way to find out.

After taking around 400 Kindle 3 photos and throwing out around 300 here are the Kindle 3 photo sets we have left –

  1. Kindle 3 Photos – Daytime Kindle 3 photos including each of the three fonts (photos 3, 4, and 5), the largest and smallest font (photos 6 and 7), and a photo of 7 eReaders all in one shot (2nd last photo).  
  2. Kindle 3 Browser Photos – Loads of photos of the Kindle 3 Browser, the new Article Mode, and of various websites loaded in the Browser. Includes close-ups and details on which common sites work and which don’t.
  3. Kindle 3 vs Nook Photos – Lots of comparisons of Kindle 3 and Nook including thinness (or lack thereof), size, various font sizes, and general desirability.  
  4. Kindle 3 vs Sony 600 Photos – Comparisons at tiny, medium, and largest font sizes and also close-up comparison shots. 
  5. Kindle 3 nighttime photos – Nighttime Kindle 3 photos including a beautiful book cover (photo 3), photos of the new WebKit Browser including Article Mode (photos 4, 5, and 6), and photos of Kindle 3 with the LED reading light on (photos 9 and 10),   
  6. Kindle 3 Comparison photos – Kindle 3 compared against Kindle 2, Kindle 2 US, iPad, Nook (need better photos here), Kindle DX 1, Kindle DX 2, and Sony Reader. There’s even a Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 vs Kindle DX 1 size comparison shot.   
  7. Kindle Lighted Cover Photos – Photos covering what the case looks like, the leather exterior, what it looks like with the Kindle in it, and most importantly, what it looks like at night with the lights off and the Kindle powered LED light on.
  8. Kindle 3 Manga Photos – Photos of Manga on the Kindle 3 after using Mangle. Manga shows up well and there are lots of options including zoom and the option to change to landscape orientation.

Those are 60+ of the most illustrative Kindle 3 photos.

Kindle 3 Photo Sets coming soon –

  1. Kindle 3 vs iPad Photos including browser comparison photos. 
  2. Sets of 3, 4, 5, and more eReaders stacked next to each other.
  3. Kindle 2 vs Kindle 3.
  4. Kindle DX vs Kindle 3.  
  5. Whatever Kindle 3 photos you’d like to see.  

The Kindle 3 is a lot of fun to shoot. The Kindle 3 photo comparisons that will be really exciting are Nook 2 vs Kindle 3 and Kindle 3 vs Sony 650. Hopefully we get to see those by mid September.

Kindle 3 for people new to eReaders

Let’s describe the Kindle 3 for the benefit of someone who’s never owned a Kindle or an eReader and isn’t even sure what the Kindle 3 is.

If you are familiar with Kindle or with eReaders please check out my Kindle 3 Review. If you’re new to eReaders this post is perfect for you.

Kindle 3 for people who are new to eReaders

Kindle 3 is an electronic book reader. It’s a device that is built from the ground-up for reading – every decision made was made to make the Kindle 3 great for reading.

That means there are two instant qualifiers –

  1. If you don’t like to read then Kindle 3 is totally the wrong device for you.  
  2. If you don’t mind reading but wouldn’t pay for a device focused on reading then the Kindle 3 is still totally wrong for you.

Now let’s quickly look at how eReaders and eBooks work.

Kindle 3 gets books over WhisperNet from Amazon – electronic books

Kindle 3 connects to Amazon’s servers (they call it their Cloud/WhisperNet) wirelessly through either AT&T’s wireless network or through a WiFi network. Either works.

Once you’re connected you can browse the Kindle Store for electronic books and buy them. Prices vary from free (for public domain books and for free book offers) to over $9.99. Electronic books are different from physical books in some key ways –

  1. You can’t resell them or loan them out.  
  2. There’s nothing physical – They’re just a bunch of electronic bits.
  3. You can share them across 5 to 6 different devices – That means you and your family members can share books. If your wife or kid or husband or grandson has a Kindle or a Kindle App they can read the same book at the same time.
  4. You can read a book across devices and continue where you left off. There are Kindle Apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and iPad. You buy an eBook, Amazon sends it to your Kindle 3 wirelessly, and then you can read it across your Kindle 3 and across various Kindle Apps.
  5. Only 630,000 or so ebooks are available at Amazon’s Kindle Store. This includes more new books than any other ebook store. However, it’s much less than the number of physical books available. There are likely to be several books you’re interested in that will be unavailable in ebook format. The more specific your tastes the larger the number of missing ebooks.

If you come in expecting 100% or even 70% of the books you want to read to be available in Kindle format (or in any ebook format) you are bound to be disappointed.

Kindle 3 provides benefits when compared with physical books and also has disadvantages

Here are some of the things you’ll miss – being able to decorate your house with books, the physical touch and feel and smell of physical books, being able to resell them, being able to lend them to a friend, making handwritten notes, being careless with them, carrying them anywhere, treating them roughly, browsing bookstores.

Here are some of the things you’ll love about Kindle 3 – up to 3,500 books in a light 8.7 oz device, up to 1 month battery life (with wireless off), reads just like a book, changeable font sizes and changeable font settings, text to speech feature, in-built dictionary, free access to Wikipedia and Internet, book downloads in 60 seconds, a bookstore that is open 24/7, convenient one-handed reading, cheaper book prices, all public domain books for free.

The first challenge is figuring out where you stand on Kindle 3 vs physical books. The second is choosing a particular eReader.

Kindle 3 Vs other eReaders (aka Nook, Sony Reader)

There are three main choices if you’re in the market for an eReader. Would strongly recommend sticking with one of these 3 –

  1. Kindle 3. From Amazon.
  2. Nook – soon to be succeeded by the Nook 2. From Barnes & Noble.
  3. Sony 600 – soon to be succeeded by the Sony 650. From Sony.

In fact, would strongly recommend sticking with either Kindle or Nook.

Nook’s main advantages – Supports Library Books, Good quality screen, ePub support, a second LCD touchscreen for browsing book covers and navigation, looks pretty, B&N has a good bookstore, a stunted lending feature.

Sony’s main advantages – Supports Library Books, Touch screen, ePub support, compact and convenient and quick, available in multiple colors.

Kindle 3’s main advantages – eInk Pearl screen (the best eReader screen), Kindle Store is the best ebook store, easiest to use, very light and compact, best PDF support, free of bugs, very intuitive user interface.  

At the moment, Kindle 3 is the best eReader available.

We won’t know until Nook 2 and Sony 650 are released whether Kindle 3 will remain the best eReader – However, it’s hard to imagine either managing to add as many improvements as Kindle 3 did.

So my recommendation would be to wait a month or two or to get a Kindle 3 now.

Reading on Kindle 3 isn’t Perfect

Reading on the Kindle 3 is very easy on the eyes and offers a lot of benefits but there are also some disadvantages –

  1. Turning pages takes 0.5 to 0.7 seconds. Since turning pages in paper books takes -0.5 seconds some people complain about this endlessly. Try it out to see whether it’s an issue – Usually it’s people who’ve never read on an eReader that are most affected by this page turn ‘delay’.
  2. There’s no color – in case you want color illustrations or have some other color related requirement.
  3. There isn’t a touchscreen.
  4. Taking notes isn’t very easy. It’s straightforward but nothing like scribbling down notes.
  5. There are no page numbers. Kindle 3 uses locations which are completely different from page numbers.

It might be the best eReader but it doesn’t magically take all the best things about books and add-on all the best advances technology enables. Kindle 3 has lots of cool and valuable features but it isn’t perfect and it’s missing some of the benefits of physical books.

There’s a 30 day return period if you buy from Amazon. Also, Kindle 3 will be available to try out at Target Stores starting in September. Please take your time and make sure you actually like reading on Kindle 3.

Kindle 3 is only great for reading – It’s terrible at everything unrelated to reading.

Perhaps the biggest thing to keep in mind is that the Kindle 3 is very, very good for reading and pretty bad at everything else. Here are a few examples that’ll help illustrate this –

  1. The new Browser in the Kindle 3 has article mode that makes reading articles a lot of fun – However, the browser isn’t very suited to navigating through tons of websites and doesn’t support Flash or Java.
  2. eInk makes the Kindle 3 readable in sunlight and easy on the eyes and gives the screen great contrast. However, it doesn’t support color and video and rules out movies and action games.
  3. The music player in the Kindle 3 has just two buttons – on/off and next track. There isn’t even a separate page – these are just shortcuts you use while reading a book. Basically, the music player is only built for one purpose – playing background music while reading.

So we have a device that is very good for reading and does some reading related things well.

At this point let’s clear up a few things –

  1. Kindle 3 isn’t very good as a ‘free email device’. Yes, you can access mobile versions of sites and check your email. No, it’s not a Peek or a device suited for sending emails.
  2. Kindle 3 is definitely not a ‘free browser’ device. The free Internet over 3G is slow. WiFi is faster but nowhere as fast as your desktop browser. Kindle’s browser doesn’t support some websites and it doesn’t support Flash or Java. It is, however, great for reading blog posts and might do pretty well as a RSS reader – if your RSS reader site works on it.
  3. Kindle 3 so far isn’t a gaming device. Games, when they appear, will mostly be board games and card games and puzzles and simple games. There is unlikely to be support for 3D games since the eInk screen can’t refresh quickly.
  4. Kindle 3 isn’t very suited for textbooks. The 6″ screen isn’t big enough, taking notes isn’t easy, and your textbooks are probably not going to be available. The big advantages it has are the low price and a lack of distractions – However, it’s far from being an ideal textbook reader.
  5. Kindle 3 doesn’t yet have an App Store. If you’re looking for the device to get new functionality it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon – No Skype voice calling, no movies, no TV shows, no full working browser with free Internet connection.

What you’re left with is a device that is – great for reading books, quite good for reading articles and blog posts, quite good with newspapers and magazines, and good with PDFs (though it can’t do magic and PDFs meant for A4 size sheets or large computer screens will look rather inelegant on the Kindle 3’s 6″ screen).

Things to know about the Kindle 3 before you jump in

You don’t need a computer to use the Kindle. You don’t need a computer to set it up. You don’t ever need a computer if you have access to WiFi or live in a place with AT&T network coverage.

The $189 price is a pretty good bargain. The $139 price for the Kindle WiFi is a steal.

If you don’t know what WiFi is and can afford $189 get the Kindle 3. If you have WiFi at home and are OK with not being able to buy books when you don’t have WiFi access then a Kindle WiFi will do.

Library books don’t work. Books from stores that have DRM don’t work except for Kindle Store books.

There are lots of free public domain books – Internet Archive has 1.8 million of them in Kindle format. Google’s Free Books can be converted into Kindle format. Gutenberg and Many Books have lots of free books.

There are 20 to 40 new free book offers every month in the Kindle Store – Perhaps 1 to 5 of them will be in your favorite genre.

A few additional Kindle 3 things worth knowing

Kindle 3 is delicate. If you drop it from 5-6 feet it’s likely to break. If you don’t have a warranty you’re out of luck.

The Lighted Cover is $60 and if you like to read in bed it’s invaluable. So add on that $60 when making a decision.

The battery life is amazing – Amazon isn’t joking when it says weeks.

Kindle 3 is much, much better than Kindle 2 and Nook and Sony Reader Touch Edition. It’s hit the point where your money will be money well spent. The big qualifier is – If you love to read.

Get the graphite Kindle 3 – the graphite casing makes a significant difference in readability.

Regret Minimization Framework

Here are a few quick guidelines –

  1. Kindle vs Nook vs Sony. Choose Kindle or Nook – you’ll probably not regret either choice. If it’s Nook wait for Nook 2.
  2. Read less than 1 book a month – Skip buying an eReader and get a Kindle App for your phone.  
  3. Love reading on the iPad – There’s a very high chance you’ll regret buying the Kindle. Skip it.  
  4. Kindle Graphite vs White – Graphite. You’re never going to regret better readability.
  5. Kindle 3G vs WiFi – There’ll always be regret here. If you have WiFi at home and $50 is a big deal then get Kindle WiFi. In all other cases you should be getting a Kindle 3.
  6. Kindle 3 vs Kindle DX 2 – Get the Kindle 3 or wait.
  7. iPad vs Kindle 3 – If you’re even asking this question get the iPad.
  8. Wondering about how cool Kindle 3 is – Skip It.
  9. Worrying about it becoming outdated soon – The last major update was in Feb 2009. The next one is at least a year away – get a Kindle 3 unless you’ll be miserable if a new Kindle DX 3 arrives in 4-5 months. If you will then skip Kindle 3 and wait till Christmas of next year when there will be color eReaders.

There’s a 30 day return period so mark off 25 days from your purchase date (or perhaps it’s shipping date) as the day to return your Kindle 3 if you don’t like it. That’s really the biggest safe-guard – If you’re feeling any regret at all just return the Kindle 3.

Is $189 too expensive for you? Is even $139 too expensive for you?

No worries – Get a Kindle App. You get all the same books at the same prices. You get most of the features.

You can read across your Blackberry and PC.

Choosing a Kindle app over a Kindle 3 is especially recommended if your eyes don’t tire from reading on LCD screens.

What’s the Kindle 3’s killer feature? The biggest selling point?

That it’s great for reading.

It’s the hot new gadget and there’s lots of buzz. However, if you’re buying it for yourself or as a gift please keep in mind that if you don’t like to read or the person you’re getting it for doesn’t like to read then it’s useless.

The Press keeps talking about how there’s nothing revolutionary about Kindle 3. Well, you’re getting a book in 60 seconds – If you love to read that’s revolutionary. All the big features are reading related – up to 1 month battery life, very clear screen, space for lots of books, super light weight, super compact size, great reference via free 3G Internet, in-built dictionary, text to speech, changeable font sizes.

The Kindle 3 is a really good buy if you’re looking for a better reading device than physical books.

new kindle – new kindle review

This new kindle review will cover the new Kindle (Kindle 3) which Amazon will ship on August 27th. The new Kindle 3 is available in graphite or white for $189.

This is a review of features and is rather detailed – Please check my Kindle 3 Review for a shorter review of the new kindle. If you’d rather read up on the new Kindle WiFi (just $139) please check my Kindle WiFi review.

New Kindle – What are the best 5 features of the New Kindle 3?

Here are the 5 best features of the new Kindle in my opinion –

The eInk Pearl Screen on the new Kindle

The Kindle DX 2 Video page will give you an idea of the eInk Pearl screen and its excellent contrast.

For its new kindle Amazon has added some software improvements (tweaking waveform algorithms to change how eInk gets painted – yup, I don’t understand that either) and made the fonts sharper and the blacks darker so the new Kindle screen is supposed to be even better than the Kindle DX 2.

The difference between the new Kindle 3 screen and the Kindle 2 screen did seem to be larger than the difference between Kindle DX 2 and Kindle 2 screens.

eInk is very close to paper – It doesn’t tire the eyes, it’s readable in sunlight and bright light without glare, and it has great battery life (now up to a month when wireless is off).

The low price of the new Kindle 3 and value for money

At $189, the new Kindle provides you a LOT of value for money –

  1. The great eInk screen.
  2. Book downloads in 60 seconds.
  3. Choice of using WiFi or 3G.
  4. Lots of features built around reading like text to speech, sharing passages with friends via Twitter and Facebook, in-built dictionary, free Internet access for reference, free Wikipedia access.
  5. Free 3G – Your store browsing and book downloads are free. Internet browsing is free.
  6. Free 3G in 100+ countries (for US kindle 3 owners). Also, book downloads are free in all these countries for US Kindle owners.
  7. A ‘worry-free’ archive where your books are stored – download them any time.
  8. Kindle Apps – You can read your books on PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and iPad.
  9. Whispernet to synchronize your reading across devices – your position in the book, notes, and highlights are all transferred as you switch the device you’re reading on.

There are a lot more features but hopefully you get the idea – The new Kindle is very solid value for money.

If you don’t need 3G or have WiFi within easy reach whenever you want to download books then consider the new Kindle WiFi which, at $139, is a steal.

new kindle’s uncompromised focus on reading

Mr. Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, mentioned this on the Charlie Rose show last night – Amazon’s new kindle has an uncompromised focus on reading.

While other devices treat reading like an afterthought the new kindle is built from the ground up for reading. If you love to read there’s nothing that’s as well targeted at reading as the new kindle 3.

All the features center around reading. This is apparent in a lot of ways –

  1. To ensure readability in direct sunlight and to remove glare from bright lights the new Kindle chooses eInk instead of LCD.
  2. To help focus on reading the new Kindle is free from distractions like video and tv shows (the eInk means you couldn’t get them to work on Kindle 3 anyways). 
  3. All the features are related to reading – text to speech, in-built dictionary, changeable font sizes, line spacing options, and more.  

The new Kindle is even more of a readers’ device than the Kindle 2.  

Amazon is constantly improving and new kindle 3 owners will benefit

Amazon recently introduced a huge free software update for Kindle 2 owners – The Kindle 2.5 upgrade had Collections (Folders, although a single level), supersized fonts, sharper fonts, PDF pan and zoom, and some social features.

With the new Kindle 3 Amazon has again shown how quickly it improves – We get sharper fonts, faster page turns, double the memory, up to 1 month battery life, better PDF support, and half a dozen more improvements.

As a new kindle owner you’ll benefit from this constant focus on improvement.

A lot of the big features you see now are additions over the last 9 months – PDF support, free Internet browsing worldwide (for US kindle owners), Collections, faster page turns. Over the course of the next year you’ll probably see a Kindle App Store, further improvements in PDF support, and lots of improvements that add up to a great reading experience.

new Kindle – most portable and easy reading device

 The 5th huge benefit is the ease of using and carrying the new Kindle –

  1. At 8.7 ounces it’s really light and one-handed reading and reading are comfortable.
  2. It’s very compact and thin at 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.335″. It’ll fit into your purse and it’s easy to hold.
  3. It can store up to 3,500 books. There’s 3GB of memory available so you can carry your entire library with you.
  4. The battery life is up to a month with wireless off and 10 days with wireless on. An entire vacation without needing a charger.
  5. The buttons are placed very sensibly and a lot of thought has been put in to make the new Kindle easy to use.

The new Kindle 3 continues Amazon’s focus on making Kindles very easy to use. You don’t need a computer to use it and there’s no learning curve – Your turn on the new Kindle, click on a book, and read.

New Kindle – the drawbacks of Kindle 3

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the benefits of the new Kindle. There are also certain disadvantages. The Kindle 3 might be the best eReader overall – However, the new Kindle has specific disadvantages you ought to factor in.

  1. Kindle 3 is great for reading and terrible at everything else – no video, no 3D games, and it’s not good for wasting time.
  2. Kindle 3 does not support library books.  
  3. It does not support ePub. 
  4. New Kindle does not have color. If you need color in your books or for your diagrams the new Kindle will not work for you.
  5. There is no touchscreen. This is because the touchscreen layer adds glare and reduces readability – It’s a trade-off made to ensure better readability.
  6. New Kindle is for $189 for the 3G model which might be outside your budget.
  7. The new Kindle uses the Kindle Store and Kindle Store books only work on Kindles and Kindle Apps.
  8. You might have a philosophical issue against the use of DRM on Kindle Store books.
  9. There is no SD card slot. The new kindle’s 3GB of memory is a lot but you might want to carry more than 3,500 books or documents that are really big.
  10. The Nook has a LendMe feature that lets you lend out some books (when Publishers allow it) a single time to one friend for 14 days. It’s just once – however, it is a plus. Kindle does not allow this.  

In my opinion the new Kindle more than makes up for these drawbacks with all its improvements – the new kindle page at Amazon discusses most of these and you can also refer to my Kindle 3 Review for an easy to understand list of pros and cons.

New Kindle really benefits from Kindle Store and Kindle ecosystem

A big positive for the new Kindle 3 is that it’s tied to the Kindle Store with its 630,000 books –

  1. More new books than any other ebook store.
  2. Great prices – 510,000 of the 630,000 books are at $9.99 or less.
  3. There are sites that have 1.8 million free public domain books in Kindle Format. These include Internet Archive, Gutenberg, and ManyBooks.
  4. You can download a book as many times as you like. You can download it on up to a maximum of 5 to 6 different devices and read it on all of them at the same time.
  5. Multiple Kindle 3s can be linked to 1 Amazon account and can share books (the ‘one book can be downloaded to a maximum of 5 to 6 different devices’ limitation comes into play again).  
  6. Kindle Store has more magazines, newspapers, and blogs than any other store. Newspapers and Magazines will be delivered wirelessly to your new Kindle each morning.
  7. You can return a Kindle book up to a week after purchase. If you buy a book by mistake there’s an ‘instant return’ button. If you decide later, you can contact Amazon and they refund your purchase up to a week after.

Basically, the Kindle Store goes very well with your new Kindle and lets you make the most of it.

new Kindle – Does it meet your needs?

There are lots of pros and cons to consider –

  1. New Kindle Pros include – Kindle Store, free 3G (Internet and downloads), great eInk screen, solid PDF support, compactness, lightness, focus on reading, simplicity, ease of use, Collections feature, changeable fonts, accessible menus, text to speech feature, 3GB of available memory, up to a month battery life (with wireless off).  
  2. Kindle 3 Cons include – you can’t do ‘more than just read’, no color, no touchscreen, lack of ePub support, no support for library books, no SD card, and no lending of ebooks.

Depending on which eReader qualities you value the most the new kindle is either a spectacular ereader or merely a good one.

In my opinion, the new Kindle is the best eReader currently available. However, whether it’s right for you depends on what you would like from an eReader and it’s worth considering – Does the new Kindle meet your needs? Does the new Kindle 3 meet your needs better than any other eReader?