Posted by: hmchang | April 17, 2009

Gadgets: Amazon’s Kindles

Amazons Kindle

Amazon's Kindle

I was having brunch in a student cafeteria with a group of friends two weeks ago — it happened to be the first time I bumped into this gadget from Amazon: the Kindle 2. It was held by an college girl and she was using it to read novels. According to her, that Kindle cost her a little bit more than 300USD and each book is roughly 6-9 USD. Amazon pays for the Internet connection (perhaps 3G?) so there’s no subscription fee for now.

I asked to get a feel of it – it was quite light! I would say it doesn’t add much weight to the backpack. I am not sure why the keyboard is necessary in the design but the left and right browsing buttons seems convenient. Note that the screen is not an LCD screen. It is a special type of display that can show clearly the words without using much energy. This is one of the most important feature for the Kindle to be a portable reader. The battery life is said to be about a week without using the network function.

It is said that Kindle 2 have sold 300,000 sets to date in TechCrunch. I would say that this is really an impressive number. I didn’t expect that much sets being sold but apparently, people are starting to getting into the idea of electronic reading.

There’s a long time argument about whether books will still exist in the next ten, twenty years. Although I still prefer to read and touch books physically, thinking about taking it back and forth, and especially if I were to move a lot, would be a headache. For the past three years, I have been doing summer internship in Taiwan and carrying books overseas is no fun at all. On the other hand, electronic versions add no weight and the content is search-able.

As there are more lightweight readers such as Kindles, or even the growing popular netbooks, or even iPhones — books is sometimes really unnecessary. One day I might need to sell the old books that I would never use again, or simply donate them to the libraries. Moreover, I should consider printing less papers and read them on the computer to conserve more energy and earth resources.

For the sake of environmental protection, less printing and more e-reading is perhaps one of the solution to go. I should get use to e-reading more.


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