When the first Kindle was launched, I admiringly took a look at the features it offered and considered some ways it could be improved. Others had some of the same ideas. Although the next-generation Kindle that Amazon announced today doesn’t implement all of the suggestions, it improved in two ways that convinced me that I could really use this device to become more productive.
Kindle v2 improvements
Audiobooks – With Kindle, you are able to download and enjoy more than 50,000 audio titles from Audible.com, including bestselling audio books, radio programs, audio newspapers, and magazines. Due to their file size, audiobooks are downloaded to your PC over your existing Internet connection and then transferred to Kindle using the included USB 2.0 cable. Listen via Kindle’s speaker or plug in your headphones for private listening.
I should mention that a couple of my 2007 criticisms were off the mark. For instance, owners would be able to access their entire library online, so if they lost or destroyed their Kindle, their library wouldn’t be at risk.
Although I still recognize the social nature of discovery and therefore believe in the utility of temporary book sharing (peer-to-peer and library-to-user) the practical side of me says that publishers will never agree to it as long as they fear poaching, which is always. However, their Whispersync technology may eventually prove me wrong.
All said, even with a $356 price point, the Kindle may be the must-have device of 2009. Hopefully Amazon will be able to overcome the manufacturing difficulties that plagued the launch of their first device. – Cam Beck