The collective WTF? on Twitter in response to the debut of the KindleDX was hi-larious, and I’m cranky enough to admit I’m enjoying seeing Amazon make a big boo boo that echoes their earlier fail-some boo boo.
Don Linn writes, “Product page: 9.7” diagonal e-ink screen reads like real paper; boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and sharp images (Boasts?)”
Sarah Weinman points out, “Not getting over the $489 price tag. In a recession. Two months after Kindle 2 unveiled. Like reissuing bare-bones DVD w/ one or 2 extras.”
ljndawson: “$489 Kindle with 16 shades of grey and no discounts on subscriptions if you’re in the paper’s area = lead balloon.”
Ooh! And there’s already a hastag for it: get ready…wait for it… #dud
My response to Kindle-Venti: “Keep it coming, Amazon. I’m enjoying this a lot. I can has moar fail please? kthxbye”
If you check out the Kindle DX or Kindle Venti page, well, if you’re like me, the more you read, the more your brain says, “Hur? Wut?”
It’s slim. It has a 9.7” display. That reads like real paper?
Hold the phone a minute. I don’t read e-ink because it’s like paper. I mean, it’s a lot more comfortable to my eyes than backlit LCD, but it’s not like paper. So why would you want to create a device that’s large enough to be potentially impractical to anyone other than newspaper readers, and slim enough to be yet another incarnation of Kindle II: Matzoh Edition (references to oppression absolutely included at .15c per MB)?
So we have a big device that won’t fit in any bag I carry, is slim and appears to be as fragile as the Kindle II, and it “boasts” of 16 shades of grey in its display? Wow. Should I start boasting about how many of my tvs have rabbit ears?
There’s no shade of grey about it: this makes no sense to me.
After the announcement that Amazon was charging people for document conversion at a much higher cost without warning, which followed that whole pesky delisting thing, the decision to come out with a larger format Kindle at a higher pricetag, even if it is aimed at college students and newspaper readers, seems like a giant leap backward.
What bothers me most is the insistence that KindleDX Venti Size mimics the format of paper. Why is there an insistence that digital reading mimic or even emulate paper reading? Inherently they are not the same. Even the words “reads like real paper” bug me because it seems to ignore the fact that digital reading and paper reading are different experiences. I wasn’t seduced away from paper to read digitally while secretly longing for paper in a painful corner of my heart despite years of estrangement and misunderstandings.
Moreover, since when is “bigger=better” a standard in technology? It might be in a romance novel, but in the purse size of your average female romance reader? No thank you.
But, there’s always room for me to be wrong, and just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it’s not a hopping damn good idea for someone else. So in a casual survey among people who use the Kindle almost exclusively for newspaper reading, I discovered that, aside from the ridiculous pricetag, these anonymous folks think Kindle DX Venti is great – except for one thing.
The larger area for reading means more room for larger text to display, and fewer page turns. Reading charts, graphs, or even examining illustrations on the screen size of Kindle I or Kindle II: Matzoh Edition was not at all optimal or even feasible in some instances. So I get why bigger screen = yay. And certainly college textbooks fall into that audience of chart/graphics-heavy use. But if the Kindle DX is meant for educational audiences, I have to wonder at the profoundly limited and very exclusive group of students who get to test-drive it. (Thanks to Sarah Weinman for the link.)
The point of fail? I’ll give you one guess, and it starts with $. Four Hundred and Eighty-Nine Dollars?! I said the same thing when Apple delivered a keynote and unveiled a $3000 17” laptop with a limited life battery that you couldn’t replace on your own: “Pardon me, but have you seen the economy?”
I don’t see how any aspect of Kindle DX Venti is worth the $130 price increase over Kindle II: Matzoh Edition. Not having to squint at graphics isn’t worth that much, is it? I mean, at that price point, I’d expect color, or free conversion of any and all documents, or at the very least a memory slot to load external content. And breakfast. Every day.
As it stands, I wouldn’t be tempted to upgrade, even if I were a die-hard newspaper reader who thrived on graphics-heavy reading. It’s too big a price jump for to few feature upgrades. Pass me a Sony.