The Future is Written. On Amazon's Kindle.

Jeff Bezos announcing the Kindle DX

Jeff Bezos announcing the Kindle DX

The big news this week from gadget land is the new, bigger, better, faster, stronger Kindle. It has yet to be released outside of the US, but it’s already making quite an impact. In short, it’s a digital reader, capable of storing thousands of books. The model released this week, the DX, is magazine sized.

We like this. We like this A LOT. We really want one.

But lucky for us, we’re in Europe and can’t actually get one yet. We think it’s one or two more versions away from really, really kicking ass.

Here’s some of the things we like about it:

– It’s a great idea. Hey, I like books. I also like some of my CD box sets, my vinyl etc. But I still have an iPod. And I have hundreds of books that I don’t want to throw out, but I don’t have the space. The e-reader is an idea whose time is almost upon us.

– The readability. Not that we have actually seen anything other than photos, but the ‘e-ink’ technology has always been Kindle’s big hook. This is not a computer screen, the thing reads like ink on paper.

– The whispernet service. Sounds like sci-fi TV show, but it’s basically the 3G book delivery service. You don’t even have to plug it into your computer. And it’s free.

– Amazon tracks all your purchases. You’ll never accidentally delete something.

– It’s robust. 3,500 books can fit on the thing. And can last two weeks on a single charge.

– The books available seem pretty cool. US only newspapers only of course, but I can see this really expanding. You can also keep your own documents on there.

– Pretty cool features. Auto rotate. Text size adjust. Dictionary included. Bookmarking. We have not ever held one, but we’ve only read decent-to-good things about the interface. Apparently there is basic web access as well.

What is bugging us:

– Colour. Really. It took the print world a while to get it together, but the time for this to happen in the digital world should be a lot less. If we are really looking at graphics rich magazines, textbooks and newspapers, then this really needs to be colour.

– The design, still a bit clunky to us.

– Price. $500US? I will have to buy a lot of books for this to become worth it. Plus you need to buy a cover for it.

– It plays music and podcasts (and has a headphone jack) but who wants an iPod the size of a small pizza?

– I wonder if you can print the odd page here and there if, for some reason, really needed to?

– There’s a big of a rigmarole involved in converting files for the Kindle. Setting up an email address, emailing your file and if you want it sent to your Kindle, there is a small fee. This has to get better.

So, lucky we don’t live in the US because we would be tempted.

But that’s all so nuts and bolts.

Imagine the possibilities! We love comics here at GLF, imagine having our favourites sent to us automatically every month? Add our favourite magazines to that thought as well.

It will be great for extended travel. But imagine a collection of Lonely Planet guides that are instantly update-able? And in interchangeable languages?

Speaking of languages…Language textbooks with embedded audio?

And speaking of embedded audio…Clinton Heylin just released a book about every Bob Dylan song. Imagine being able to hear the songs right there and then. And while I’m at it, can my Amazon Mp3s come with Kindle booklets as an option?

The possibilities are great for business. Imagine being able to send documents across a boardroom table. Have that weekly TPS report update automatically for you.

So, did we mention we love it? We also like the highly pretentious and philosophical approach they have for this device, currently painted on the front of Amazon.com. The ‘paperless’ society. I want to go to there.

We think people are more excited about the idea than the device right now. But Amazon are making big moves. This year we have seen two models and (strangely?) an iPhone app. They are rightly proud and it’s only a matter of time before all their hard work pays off, and the world at large will be ready for this.

And we’ll be right there with them.

Cool links and bad video after the jump.

Endgadget’s live blogging from the announcement event. Very Apple-like, no? (Our picture was taken from Endgadget)

This is the video from the Amazon Kindle site. Looks like a bad karaoke film clip.

And of course, if you live in the US, you can buy one here.

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