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May 06, 2009

Kindle DX: the ivory tower gets a silo

Kindle DX The Kindle DX is now listed on Amazon.com for $489. It's using Amazon's WhisperNet based on Sprint's EVDO for wireless connectivity.

I checked out both the NYTimes ("Mr. Bezos is summarizing the features of the Kindle DX.") and Engadget for their live blogging of this release announcement.

While the coverage by the NYTimes seemed as gray as this Kindle's screen, the Engadget blogger noticed a slow refresh rate as well as search function.

"It's a great life had at sea, when you're not in the Navy," goes the Harrisong. While the idea of using this device as a way of managing textbook material, the commitment you make to Amazon is forever. Sure it makes perfect sense to have a device that eliminate carry around pounds of dried pulp, but the books are not really yours, as in possessing them, but rather you are promised them by Amazon as far as it can.

I remember trying to redownload Branagh's Hamlet which I purchased from them, only to be told that their contract had expired with the company that held the rights. I was offered another. Maybe Mel Gibson's version? (I see now that it's relisted.) Others report how Amazon can prevent further purchases for your Kindle if you return too many items.

"But you're getting free wireless without a monthly service contract!" What would impress me more would be a plan that would allow students to rent textbooks at a reasonable rate with the option to "buy," and allow the instructors to push PDFs of other readings to the device. I don't know if that's part of the plan.

Wireless devices will only be truly innovative if they can escape the high walls of the silos built with contracts, TOS, and lifelong commitments. Someone's has to open source this, and really make some news.

UPDATE: Here's a useful review comparing the Kindle 2 to the Kindle iPhone app by Nicole Lee. For me reading text on a iPhone or iPod Touch is not a problem. I'd be willing to go with this solution (and enjoy the color screen) if I could actually download, and store the books I bought.

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