Amazon reader deviceNot content to drive people to its Mobipocket format, Amazon reportedly will sell an e-book-reading device called the Amazon Kindle. From Engadget:

…comes equipped with a 6-inch 800 x 600 display (which we can only assume is e-ink), 256MB internal storage, smallish two-thumb keyboard cursor bar, scroll wheel, standard mini USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, SD slot, and get this: EV-DO data! (Don’t believe us? The spec sheet is after the break. Why do you think it was in the FCC?) The user manual also outlines the Kindle Store on Amazon (though doesn’t spec out too many details), but we’re a little less concerned with how we’re getting these supposed e-books right now, and a little more curious about the price and launch…

So what’s next? Amazon as a big-time publisher? And then Amazon hatching and raising authors from birth—Brave New World fashion? Oh, here’s to vertical integration and profit maximization! And better photography, too. Sorry about the quality of the photo.

Update, 4:01 p.m. Washington, D.C., time: See Relevant Google News links to Gizmodo and, which is picking up on the scroll wheel, already noticed by Engadget. Nice, like the Pepper Pad’s wheel! I may dislike Amazon’s biz model but will take care to give the hardware its due.

Related: MobileRead pickup of Engadget, with some fun speculation added, plus a Gizmodo report. Also see Wikipedia item on EV-DO. Hey, how about plain old WiFi? Just what service, EV-DO gizmos, etc., will Amazon try to drive us, too?

Live by proprietary formats, due by proprietary formats: So what does the Kindle mean to Sony’s grand vision of a BBeB-enthralled universe for its Reader? Duh. And now there’s talk of Apple getting into e-books, too. Sony, you just can’t win with the closed approach.

Amazon Kindle reading device


  1. Hey David!

    You certainly put the Amazon reader in a gloomy light…:-)

    I usually agree with you when it comes to DRM bashing, but with Amazon I’m a bit more hopeful…I’ve been a fan of Amazon for ages, their huge database of paper books, their good customer support (at least in Germany) and their innovative “book-recommendation-advertising” really work for me.
    I can’t really say much about the device yet, apart from the fact that it looks ugly as hell…^^

    My take in this case is the following:

    If Amazon makes their whole (or at least a big part of…) book-collection available at discount prices for its proprietary reader and if the reader also works with the public domain books already around, I’d gladly put down my money this instant, dump the Iliad and be happy for the rest of my life…okay…slight exaggeration there…:-)
    They probably won’t do that though, they’ll try to sell the books at about the same price as the paper books and they’ll only offer a small selection of titles…so I’ll probably be back and join David in opposing the new device and its attached book-delivery…^^

    One thing that is undoubtedly good is the fact that Amazon can put enormous pressure on authors and publishers…that could finally be enough to break the dam and start the ebook flood…

  2. Many thanks for your thoughts, Roland. Let’s see what the prices of both the device and the books end up being. Like you, I do think it’ll help to be able to read public domain books, but it’s still scary having Amazon with such influence re copyrighted books. Remember, low prices can be raised later on when Amazon has enough market share. Publishers and authors can be squeezed.

    As for the number of books, I’m expecting they’ll be at least the same number as in Mobipocket.

    So I wonder what Sony’s response will be—if any. Here’s a thought. Will Sony decide not to go ahead with the Sony Reader, now that Amazon is taking away its content advantage?

    About the iLiad. I sure hope they can solve their problems and lower the price and do well with their open approach. Since I last posted, I’ve heard from someone else with a set of problems very similar to Genene’s. Any interesting info at this point on the actual builders of the Amazon device?


  3. I too am hoping that the Iliad will pull through…
    So far we have little to no info about this Amazon device.
    DHer at the forums said it’s manufactured by “Hon Hai Precision Industries.” Seems that the company is better-known under the name Foxconn.

    I guess we’ll know more soon. One thing that really strikes me as odd is the design…what do they think they’re doing??? I don’t need highly polished design for my gadgets, but this thing is just..ugly…at least that’s the way it looks on the blurry pics we’ve seen so far…

  4. Oh, how I agree with you about the design, Roland! It doesn’t make e-books look very inviting. Of course, I like elements such as the scroll wheel.

    Just as with the Pepper Pad, I could do without the keyboard, but others may disagree. As I said, it’s to Amazon’s credit that it did go with the scroll wheel.

    Needless to say, as a follower of E Ink, I’ll be very interested in the page-changing speed.


  5. i for one think the device looks retro-cool. after a weekend of
    watching star trek for its 40th anniversary, i think it looks
    like something spock would glom onto. or maybe it’s tech
    design circa star wars, episode IV — like something a
    strategist at the secret rebel base would be using.
    : )

    but in all seriousness, i hope this starts the floodgates opening for ebook readers. i desperately need one!

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