My First Kindle

(A love letter to Amazon).

The Kindle is a beautiful device

Two weeks ago I finally bought a 3G Kindle from Amazon. Two years ago I had bought another e-reader, Sony’s Librié. It was fine, but buying books from the Sony’s website, and then sending them to the device via USB, was quite cumbersome. So much so that I never bought even one book; I read 2-3 free books with it and then forgot about the thing.

But the Kindle is something else! It syncs via Wifi and free 3G (3G models only, obviously). 3G is really free: no recurring charges, nothing. In France you can only browse the Kindle store while on 3G, but it’s still super cool.

(How it works is that Amazon subsidizes the cost of the connection while you browse; when you buy a book, editors contribute to the download costs in proportion to the size of the book.)

The Kindle is a joy to use. It’s readable in every condition: bright sunshine, the comfort of one’s bedroom, anywhere. It’s light, it’s small. It’s beautiful. The battery lasts forever.

The iPad is from the USSR

I also own an iPad (actually, two, one for me and one for the kids). I was hoping to use it to read books, but it’s really not suited for this; outside, the screen turns into a perfect mirror; inside, it’s so bright it blinds you (even if you turn brightness all the way down; when reading you’re mostly staring at a white screen).

My kids love theirs, though; they use it to watch youtube clips. But I almost never use mine; typing on it is impossible; watching movies is clumsy.

In fact, compared to the Kindle, the iPad looks like a piece of military equipment from another era. It’s enormous. It’s heavy. There is absolutely no way to handle it properly (I tried three different casings, and every position possible). It breaks if it falls (and fall it does, with three young kids in the house). It’s always out of power. It takes a long time to recharge, via a proprietary connector.

You can hold the Kindle with one hand, change pages with that same hand, and not be tired or even feel uncomfortable.

Of course the iPad does many things, while the Kindle does just one; but this one thing it does perfectly. Single-purpose devices seem to still have a future.

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 • permalink