AmazonKindle: Wireless Reading Device

I just aware that this design entered the market in this month and is currently sold out. This is not an innovative idea. Similar concepts like iRex Technologies’s Iliad and Sony PRS-505 has come in before. There is more information about Kindle here.

The product makes me think of what Marty said about the website which is designed by imitating the experience of reading a book. He has negative attitude toward that. I did not really understand the reason then because it looks kind of cool to me. When reading an article about Kindle released now, I think I might know what he meant. Kindle is similar to those website: it intend to copy the experience of reading an actual book, but it is not a book in fact.

Trying to use post-structuralism to analyze the “constructness” of this artifact (which means I am killing myself), I think Kindle is a hybrid of book and computer. I imagine myself using the design and feel the breakdown which might happen. It seems the design confuses me. Why designers choose to make the interface looks like real paper, rather than to make it just be the interface of computers, PDAs or mobile phones which we are familiar with? Kindle would like to keep the experience of reading a book but it can not provide the feeling of touching the cover and the texture of a paper. Why designers choose to add keyboard and scroll bar applications, rather than using touch screen to navigate? I did not mean the latter one would be a better solution. But the existing one will make me eager to buy a mouse, instead of using the scroll button to highlight a paragraph and add comment.

There are still lots of points which could be discussed. Personally, I still like to go to Barnes and Noble, looking around, and picking a book from shelves. Maybe I am not the person who is used to read text on the screen. But if it is possible, I still would like to use the design and see if it can change my reading habits. 400 bucks, is it a reasonable price? what do you think about the design?


  1. Tyler Pace

    Kindle was released on Amazon with a big, long fancy letter from Amazon’s CEO on the front page talking about how amazing and cool Kindle is and how it’ll change your life. That has to have a major effect on the sales. A lot of mediocre designs will do well, at least short term, when they get a launch like that.

  2. airlee

    one thing I like the Kindle is the concept of keeping the device simple, or I say uniqueness.
    I mean, as a book, the only way to use it is reading it.( yes you can use a book as a pillow to sleep, or use it in other “normal “ways, but still, it is a book) We use PDA, cell phone, or laptop to read electronic books sometime, but we also use them to do other things, like surfing online, play games, drawing.
    But this Kindle, it is only used to read. it has Wi-Fi, but not for online browser; it has black white screen, not color, because it only used as reading black text book, paper.
    the CPU, memory, only serve as parts of a pure reading device. In this world, you won’t worry about fun with game, checkin e-mail, cellphone ringtone, you only interact with knowledge creaction, the world created by author’s experience, language, and your understanding. That is the similarity I found the book and Kindle.

  3. jimmypierce

    the fact that Kindle is ONLY for reading is very interesting. most of our digital devices try to do it all, to act as universal media machines. i wonder if we will see more of these specialized digital devices like the kindle that only try to do one thing really well. i wonder what affect this will have on longevity of use.

  4. datrushurtz

    Yeah I agree with Jimmy, featuritis does seem to be a technological trend and its interesting that the the Kindle takes a completely opposite approach. The problem I see is that when you think about it, they are charging $400 for a good looking text reader. These days, you can get a full laptop for not that much more.

    It seems like the kind of thing which curious enthusiasts and early adopters may purchase, but its really hard to justify spending that much money for something with such limited usage.

  5. yenning

    Yes, Jimmy! I like your point.

    I am surprised that Amazon did not include AmazonMP3 in Kindle. But if they did, I would do what Andy suggest: using this $400 to buy a laptop which has similar and more features than Kindle. If Kindle focus on the reading feature and make it attractive, it might be a success.

    Tao, to me, what you are saying is a new reading behavior which might be what Kindle wants to provide. Using Kindle to read gives people opener environment and choices(Wi-Fi) than read books, and it also has less distracting features than a laptop does. Maybe this is what I want but I am not sure.


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