It's not just us - New Yorker Pans the Kindle; While TechCrunch Touts the Apple Tablet as the Kindle in Technicolor
We've bought and returned three Amazon Kindle book readers. Each time we ordered the gadget with much excitement. We bought into the hype and bought the readers.
The first one was just disappointing. We read two books on it and then read that they were in such short supply that people were paying up to $1000 for one on Ebay right before Christmas. We got $950 for ours.
The second one was just disappointing. We tried sending some books and texts to it and just got exasperated. The technology was starting to look to us 25 years old. It couldn't recognize Hebrew. We sent this one back to Amazon.
The third one was the DX - the big sized one. Yes, it was starting to sound better and look better - but not by that much. It could read PDF files - so the foreign language problem was diminished. But at nearly $500 for a one function book reader with a really clunky browser - when full functioning laptops were starting to sell for $300. Nah. Back it went to Amazon, yet again.
We love Amazon and buy lots of products from them. They ship fast and they are reliable to a fault and they take stuff back without a question most of the time if it is broken or if you just change your mind. You pay to ship it back in the latter case.
Amazon is a great retail sales operation. It revolutionized online ordering. It's a great software company too. It makes its own customer tracking and product matching algorithms. It is a great book selling company. The world's best.
But we are not yet ready to declare the Kindle and its technologies for book reading an unmitigated success.
So we wonder if the deal here is the old story of the oil company that buys up all the alternative energy companies - wind power, electric car batteries and the like. Why? So it can give the impression that it is exploring the next generation of energy technology when all it is doing is slowing down the alternative industries.
It could be called the T. Boone Pickens Gambit. Pickens, the natural gas magnate, announced his commitment to wind power just last year. And now, well he is so sorry that it did not work out.
Has Amazon bought into the e-book market in order to slow it down?
Makes a lot of sense. They would not want to cannibalize their own bread and butter business of selling real live hard books, would they?
Anyway, that is not what Nicolson Baker says, writing in the New Yorker this week. He is not into conspiracy theories. "Amazon is very good at selling things, but, to date, it hasn’t been as good at making things," the picture caption of his article reads. He doesn't like the Kindle. He pans the device, the technology and he clobbers Amazon for its failures. In a nice New Yorker manner, of course.
TechCrunch predicts meanwhile that the anticipated Apple Tablet will be the Kindle in Technicolor i.e., "Apple’s Tablet Is The Kindle In Technicolor (With Laser Beams)" with the touch screen that we expect to find on our 21st century devices.