Amazon has finally announced its Kindle e-book reader, via a front-page story in Newsweek magazine, which is (possibly) an ironic comment on print not being dead after all, at least not if you want a friendly puff-piece for your new gadget.
So, it’s a paperback-sized e-book reader with a six-inch screen that uses E-Ink’s display technology. It’ll cost $399 in the US, and will be capable of storing up to 200 books on its internal memory, with a memory card slot thrown in for extra storage.
Promised battery life will be 30 hours, it’s got Wi-Fi, and it’ll ship with a Sprint SIM card inside, for 3G-speed downloads on the go. Amazon plans to offer 88,000 e-books when it launches, and they’ll cost around $10 each.
Kindle will also let you read newspapers, magazines and certain blogs, with pricing of $0.99 or $1.99 a month per blog. Paying to read blogs, fancy that! It’ll also include support for Wikipedia and Google searches, as well as the ability to follow links from within your subscribed blogs. I’m not sure how that’d work if a blog you do subscribe to links to one you don’t, mind.
Users will also get a dedicated email address on their Kindle, which people can send Word or PDF documents to.
First impressions? That’s an eye-wateringly expensive price, which will hopefully come down pretty quickly. There’s no news on when it might come to the UK, where the publishing industry has been eagerly anticipating such a device for a while now.
And I’m wondering if the geeks who might pay $399 for this kind of gadget are exactly the kind of people who stopped reading books in favour of RSS feeds and blogs years ago, and are probably already sorted with a mobile way to do that. Surely to get the interest of non-geeky hardcore readers, it’ll have to be cheaper in the expectation that they’ll buy a lot of e-books using it?
But anyway, more analysis later – for now, read the full (and lengthy) Newsweek piece to see where Amazon’s head is at Kindle-wise.
Newsweek Kindle article (via PaidContent)