With the arrival of Kindle II: Electric Bugaloo, I’m pleased to announce the E-Reader Olympics, sponsored in part by Sony, who wants to lure me to the Reader side, and by the letters O, M, and G.
Since Sir Kindle I and I aren’t having the best of relationships right now, and since I’m curious, I’ve decided that the best way to figure out which reader is the right one for me is to force each of them to complete against one another. The four devices facing off are:
The Sony 505, The Sony 700, Sir Kindle I, Baron of Fusspot, and Kindle II: Electric Bugaloo.
First, I’m going to look at the packaging. I don’t have my packaging from Sir Kindle I, and the Sony 700 I have was a demo model, so it wasn’t packaged exactly as it would be for the consumer. But I do have Kindle II, and the packaging for the Sony 505.
But why are you looking at the packaging, you silly woman? It’s the device that matters! I disagree, for the following reasons:
First impressions are everything.
I’m specifically looking at these readers from the perspective of an avid reader who is female and extremely busy without a lot of time to futz with technology to make it work for me.
The packaging makes a difference in brand reputation. Take a look at Apple: when you buy an iPod or a laptop, it comes in a branded, custom-designed package that’s recyclable for the most part and intended to treat your purchase as if it were a gift to be opened. From the flippy top box for the iPod to the case design for laptops, the box is key (pun intended).
Plus, as a user who is eagerly and addictively into reading, you can guess that what I want to do is… open the box, plug in and Start Reading. How the device is presented to a user, particularly one who has little time (me) or who might not be technologically savvy (not me) is crucial in establishing that all-important first impressions.
But rather than describe the the process, here are some videos that detail the experience of opening a Kindle II: Electric Bugaloo package, and the packaging for the Sony 505. Special guest appearance by one of my cats.
First: The Sony Reader 505
Then: Sony’s User Guide
Contrast that with Kindle II – Electric Bugaloo which arrives packaged very differently:
And: the Kindle II User Guide – full of Win.
I was incorrect in stating that the 1-2-3 guide is a sticker. It’s actually the e-ink protected by a sheet of plastic, and the step-by-step user guide continues after you turn the Kindle II on and plug it in.
So the first round of competition goes to Kindle II and the Amazon Family of Devices, because anyone who wants to get going already with the reading and who doesn’t want to set up and futz and read three feet of paper is going to love the ease of use of Kindle II and Kindle I, Baron of Fusspot.
Kindle: 1 Sony: 0
Now, the scoring for the E-Reader Olympics will be odd, because the two Sonys are different, as are the two Kindles. I’ll be evaluating and reviewing each device individually with video and text, but I’m also comparing how each company approaches marketing, usability, file management and end-user satisfaction (the end user in question being: me). There will be team scoring and individual device scoring, and in the end I’ll try to figure out which device is tops in terms of the major categories defined above.
If you have suggestions about which device you like best, or what types of competitions will be faced by each ereader, let me know.