Hey! I’m back! It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I apologize – my day job has been pretty busy lately and we’ve had a couple of minor kid issues. Such is life. On the other hand, even though it can be tricky to keep a healthy work-life-time-for-blogging balance when you work in technology, it does give me access to fun stuff like this…
I got to play with a Kindle DX this evening, how cool is that? I met a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and she just happened to bring one along to show to the folks in our book-group. It was a welcome surprise.
As I test-drove it, I tried to remember the deficiencies and complaints about the earlier version which I had written about in my original Kindle Report. The cover is certainly more functional since there are now hard clips to keep the device in place – although this cover is now an optional extra (for $49.99!). The larger screen, smaller keyboard and button re-design are all significant improvements over version 1.0. The screen size also seemed to make using the Experimental menu option – to access websites – easier. This may be because the content on the pages is now much more legible.
It’s still irritating to me that my Amazon.com wishlist is not a link on the Kindle Store or Home page of the device. I did figure out a work-around: you can use the Experimental menu to go to Amazon.com, log in (which still takes too many clicks) and navigate to your wishlist from there. However, you would still need to navigate from the book link on your wishlist to the detail page and then click on the Kindle edition link. Not a very user-friendly experience.
K, the host for this month’s book group meeting has recently returned from a five-month trip to Asia with her husband and two sons (you can read about their travels here). She and I agreed that the Kindle DX is probably too big for (backpacker) travel use. While on their trip, her family used both a Kindle and a Sony eReader. Even playing with the Kindle DX did not sway her preference for the Sony device because “Amazon hasn’t made it any easier for Kindle owners to use their device to check out e-books from a public library”.
K also commented that the Manage Your Kindle page – the page on Amazon.com where a Kindle owner can manage Kindle settings, subscriptions and downloads – was difficult to find. This is particularly annoying when you’re traveling since outside the U.S., WhisperNet delivery of Kindle books is not available and users need to download purchases to a computer using this page and then copy to the Kindle. My suggestion to the Kindle team: move the Manage Your Kindle link up on the Your Account page so that it’s more obvious and easier to find.
Since the DX and regular-sized newer versions of the product are $489 and $359 respectively, much as I like the upgraded Kindle, I won’t be trading in my v1.0 just yet. In the meantime, I’ve installed the FeedBooks utility onto my Kindle so that I can download and read some books for free. It’s quick and easy to install and pretty easy to use – although I’m already seeing that I’ll need to choose books using the web interface because the book search tool is difficult to navigate on the Kindle itself.
If you’re on the Kindle team and you’re reading this: excellent job on the DX, it’s a great improvement. If you could please develop the infrastructure and application interfaces for me to use my Kindle to read library books I promise I’ll pay a monthly subscription fee to access WhisperNet. Deal?