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Amazon Kindle  (Source: Amazon)

Amazon Kindle Profile  (Source: Amazon)
Amazon Kindle includes Sprint EVDO service free for wireless book downloads

eBook readers have been around for a while, but never really took off. Much the same can be said for the eBook itself; the form factor for a book just never caught on the way some expected it to. When it comes to books and magazines, it’s hard to beat good old-fashioned paper.

Last year, Philips Electronics released its own eBook reader called the iRex iLiad. One big issue with the iRex device was the $826 price tag. Sony decided to get in on the eBook reading action with its Sony Reader PRS-500 device that was released on Halloween and retailed for $350. Today, Amazon launched its new Kindle Wireless Reading Device to battle against the Sony device at an MSRP of $399.

Like the Sony CONNECT eBook service, the Amazon Kindle device operates on a new service called the Kindle Store. Whereas the Sony CONNECT service requires an Internet connection for downloading eBooks, the Kindle uses EVDO connectivity. What’s more impressive than the ability of the Kindle to connect to download reading material via EVDO is that a lifetime of Sprint EVDO service is included with the purchase of the Kindle device.

Amazon promises that you can download more than 88,000 books over the same Sprint 3G EVDO service that cellular phones use. If you are in an area that isn’t served by Sprint EV-DO service the internal modem falls back to 1x RTT. This will be an area of concern for people in rural areas interested in purchasing the device since the much slower speeds will make downloads take longer.

The $399 Kindle device has 256MB of internal RAM, which is enough storage space for over 200 titles and weighs only 10.3 ounces.  With wireless connectivity on, the Kindle will require a recharge every other day and Amazon claims that with wireless service off the Kindle can last for up to a week before needing to recharge.

Once the internal memory is filled, expansion via SD memory cards up to 4GB is available. The display is a 6-inch diagonal E-Ink display with a screen resolution of 600 x 800 at 167 ppi in 4-level gray scale. Dimensions of the device are 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches. Content formats supported are Kindle specific AWC, TXT, audible formats 2/3/4, MP3, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, MOBI, and PRC with conversion.

Amazon says New York Times Best sellers and new release book titles will sell for $9.99 unless otherwise marked.

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Wait, regarding the memory in this thing...
By NickWV on 11/19/2007 7:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
The $399 Kindle device has 256MB of internal RAM, which is enough storage space for over 200 titles and weighs only 10.3 ounces.


Once the internal memory is filled, expansion via SD memory cards up to 4GB is available.

So I assume you mean this is non-volatile RAM? Or is the SD memory card required for any time you turn off the machine and down want to lose your books?

While there are some types of non-volatile RAM out there, it is typically a defining feature for RAM to mean if you turn it off... its gone, which has left me scratching my head.

RE: Wait, regarding the memory in this thing...
By TomZ on 11/19/2007 9:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
The RAM is probably battery-backed. You turn it off, but power is still applied to the RAM.

RE: Wait, regarding the memory in this thing...
By mcnabney on 11/19/2007 10:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
No, it is the same non-volatile stuff in memory cards and MP3 players.

RE: Wait, regarding the memory in this thing...
By TomZ on 11/20/2007 8:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
That would be called "flash," not "RAM." The article clearly states that the device uses RAM, unless that is an error.

By Zoomer on 11/20/2007 8:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Is flash random access? Yup. Is it memory? Yes.

Too Pricy
By gwynethgh on 11/19/2007 6:31:50 PM , Rating: 5
Lets see

400$ for a device to read 10$ new release books. If I wait a 6+ months I can get a paper copy for 7 or 8$. Maybe the generation or so and more supported formats would make it worthwhile.

RE: Too Pricy
By Parhel on 11/19/2007 8:42:07 PM , Rating: 2
The last few times I've been to the bookstore, it seems that the $7 - $8 paperbacks have been becoming less common outside of the "pulp" stuff like romance novels, crime novels, sci-fi, etc.

Now they want to sell you a "jumbo" paperback that

a) you can't hold with one hand
b) you can't fit in your coat pocket
c) costs $18.00
d) offers nothing more than a normal sized paperback.

For example, none of Kurt Vonnegut's books are available in either a normal sized paperback or a hardback so far as I can tell. Just this stupid giant paperback size.

On the other hand, I've never been able to read an e-book. It bothers my eyes reading on the computer screen for that long. I can't see spending $400 on something like this though. It looks like I may be renewing my library card soon.

RE: Too Pricy
By KristopherKubicki on 11/19/2007 10:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to give the current gen a try. It's e-ink instead of any sort of backlight. Very easy on the eyes.

This will fail
By mcnabney on 11/19/2007 10:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
$400 for a device that allows you to purchase 'select' books/periodicals at inflated prices that can only be played on the same $400 device. Since the device is likely made in China, when it dies, so do the books in the internal memory. And if it is on a memory card you will likely have to buy another one of these things to read it. This business model has fail written all over it.

Now the Netflix model might work great. A set monthly fee to have X number of books or periodical subscriptions at any one time. When you finish a book, "return it", and download another. Now that would find a market.

RE: This will fail
By djc208 on 11/19/2007 11:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
With Amazon backing the media library and the "anywhere" EVDO access I'd say it has a chance. As TomZ said not having PDF support is a big issue but it can be converted to HTML with Acrobat so it's not a deal breaker. The $9.99 price seems a little high if there is DRM so you can't "loan" it to someone else. People who travel a lot are going to love this.

Someone is going to get this right, the initial tries are good but still a little to limited and expensive, but when the right device hits the change could make the iPod look like a passing fad. A small, flexible device like these (with touch screen) could easily replace forms and printed documents in most offices, text books in schools and colleges, as well as for stuff like this device. It would be perfect for my work, all those bulky, beat up, ratty, illegible work documents replaced with one of these.

RE: This will fail
By borowki on 11/20/2007 2:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
Regular newspaper readers will probably make up the bulk of the initial userbase, I think. Getting rid of old newspaper is such a hassle that, according to a survey done by Washington Post, majority of people do not want a subscription even if it were free. A typical broadsheet is so full of rubbish that a week's worth could weight like ten pounds. Hard to carry around too.

College Texts
By Omega215D on 11/19/2007 10:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
If they made college text books available for machines such as this or Sony's reader then I can actually not have to haul 2 giant books around in my backpack. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like their books with them for whatever purpose and xeroxing will create such a waste.

RE: College Texts
By NickWV on 11/20/2007 12:05:43 AM , Rating: 2
the college bookstores (many backed by publishers) would never allow that, they make a killing off college students, such as myself, who buy the textbook at full price and try to sell it back for peanuts.

Its funny cause there are sites that scan and post full versions of college textbooks ;)

RE: College Texts
By Omega215D on 11/20/2007 12:31:40 AM , Rating: 2
I was actually thinking of just buying the digital version of a text book for a somewhat cheaper price not a massive reduction. This would allow me to bring all my books with me but without the hassle.

By Screwballl on 11/19/2007 5:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
So what are the proposed DRM measures for this system and the files? Will people be able to save them to the computer or will some be device only???
Will be neat to see if this helps usher in a new generation of books never released on paper.

By fic2 on 11/19/2007 7:00:10 PM , Rating: 2
I think my big problem with these type devices is the DRM type stuff. If I buy a book and read it I can give it/sell it to someone else. If I buy an ebook can I give it/sell it to someone else? Doubtful.

Since it has an SD slot I would think that you could back up to a computer. But I would also bet that the book is locked to the devices hardware key.

Missing PDF Format
By TomZ on 11/19/2007 6:07:36 PM , Rating: 2
The omission of PDF is a problem, I think. I've got tons of PDFs already and I wouldn't even think about buying such a device unless it supported PDFs.

By BigToque on 11/19/2007 10:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
I believe there are somethings the computer just can't replace. I believe that paper books are one of those things.

Unless what I'm reading can be finished in a relatively short period of time (say 15-20 minutes max), I want to read it on paper.

Missing functionality
By wordsworm on 11/20/2007 1:22:50 AM , Rating: 2
What would make this device worth having is if you could access a library, such as Questia and Gutenberg. Furthermore, it lacks certain functionality that might make it worthwhile - at least nothing in the article suggested it was possible. The functionality that Questia has is really quite good, even if I find their selection is lacking (still far from as impressive as what my university has to offer) The ability to highlight and write notes are integral parts of reading for me. As others have said, the high price of each unit are a major detraction. They should offer more functionality and include a free library.

By Gholam on 11/20/2007 1:57:23 AM , Rating: 2
There seems to be a surge in ebook reader market lately. Sony released PRS-500 and updated it with PRS-505, several other companies have released their own devices too, all apparently using the same e-ink display:

Price is also pretty much a constant for all devices, hovering in $300-400 range.

By Hafgrim on 11/20/2007 3:44:02 AM , Rating: 2
hmmm. I hope those have built in text to speech software right out of the box for all the books you download. Because without built-in text to speech what is the point of an ebook "reader", ? lol!

By the way cool text to speech voices like AT&T's Audrey & neo-speech's Kate are awesome if you havnt heard them lately they sound so life like! I have um both on my computer.

For Kate just type something & hit the play button there to hear:

I like the read please program best though since its so tiny and reads anything you can highlight with a mouse cursor instantly and automatically without pasting or anything.

I have mine speed reading for me all the time since you can even adjust how fast they read too. The examples shown were at a reading speed level of around 4 of 10 but they still sound great at 9, and even at 10 when ya get used to them. =)

Finally! The portable book!
By Icelight on 11/21/2007 4:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
I've been waiting forever for a good, portable book format to come out. Finally I can carry a book with me for only a small premium price!

By Souka on 11/19/2007 6:06:48 PM , Rating: 1
network in this device isn't slow like the iPhone... har har


Useless comment, but it came to mind when I saw this book-device had EVDO connectivity.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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