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Amazon Kindle's' my literary tastes!!!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 10:50 AM in , , , , ,


Prologue
If you're one of those people who grew up reading good books and still can’t live without a good title on your bed-side table, then this might interest you. Amazon has come up with a new E-book console called the Amazon Kindle. It is a gadget by Amazon.com for reading e-books as well as other digital media like newspapers and magazines.

Advantages
Several things about this device impress me. First is that it is simple and sleek to use. Make an account on amazon.com and punch in your credit card details with it. Order your kindle online and once you get it, just plug it in and order a book. It downloads in under a minute. Kindle's 6-inch screen and e-ink format makes the reading experience almost like a real book. Its 2GB memory can hold nearly two thousand titles. At just 289grams, it is the lightest console in its category. The Wireless internet is called WhisperNet, and it works in most countries including India via AT&T's partner mobile networks. Amazon claims a two-week battery life with wireless off. The new Kindle also has a "text-to-speech" which reads out text loud. This feature makes it useful for the visually challenged or simply lazy!

Shortcomings
Although the Kindle is good in most aspects, some glitches would make you reconsider a buy. Priced at over Rs.19,000 including device cost and shipping, it is a little overpriced for Indian buyers. Upon subscription to various magazines and newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, there is an additional monthly charge that has to be paid. On international roaming, a charge of $4.99 per week has to be paid despite non-usage. That fact alone makes it an expensive buy. Another shortcoming is the absence of any back-light. This makes it impossible to read from the Kindle in the dark. There are no Indian newspapers on Kindle yet, but I hope that would be sorted soon. Also, there are no Indian authors in the over 3,00,000 books available online on Amazon.

Technology of E-Ink
The display of Kindle is almost zero-power and lasts for 15 days. It is made possible by a new technology called E-Ink. It makes displays that are low on power usage flexible and readable in most of the lighting conditions. While it may look like normal ink on the display, it works by filling millions of micro-capsules or cavities. By using 5200 times less power than liquid crystal display, electronic ink only needs power when changing its display. Infact a digital book can display the same text for weeks without any additional charge applied to it. This makes it the closest thing to a printed book.

Competition
The e-book market is heating up. Amazon faces competition from several quarters to retain the top-spot. Sony introduced the E-reader in the market before Kindle. After staying on the second spot for a long time, it is now launching two new models - Reader Pocket and Reader Touch - to take over Kindle. Barnes and Noble, Amazon's biggest rival, has come up with its own e-book reader device called Nook. It sports a touch screen feature and allows book-sharing option too. The Korean major LG has also introduced the world's first solar power book reader. Its 6-inch display incorporates a thin-pin solar cell which minimizes the risk of running out of power during an engrossing read on the beach. And with rumors of Apple and Microsoft joining the fray by 2010, consumers are going to be spoilt for choice.



Epilogue:
With the ease of use and portability, some people like Prasanto Roy of Cybermedia are calling this ‘the future of the book’. Whether that holds true or not, only time will tell. Meanwhile, if you’re planning to make a purchase… let me know and I will assist you with the formalities!


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