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Kindle 3

BooksThe new Kindle 3 — “Smaller, Faster, Cheaper“” — arrived on Friday morning, a few days earlier than Amazon had promised. I would say that the new device will assure Amazon’s lead for some time. It is really fantastic. I had no complaints with the Kindle 2 — in fact I love it — but the new one has a nicer feel to it. The slightly smaller size allows you to truly read “one handed”. The power switch was moved to the bottom from the top and I find that much more convenient. The new color seems more with the times. A few other button changes but overall it is pretty much a refined version of the Kindle 2 which was a refined version of the Kindle 1. I am sure we won’t have to wait a year for the Kindle 4.
The Kindle 3’s new no glare screen has increased gray-scale contrast — it is clear as a bell and it loves the summer sun. The battery life is supposed to be one month. The migration from Kindle 2 to Kindle 3 was trivial. Took the new device out of the box, plugged it in, and turned it on. I clicked “register” and gave it my Amazon account id and password. I also gave it the SSID of my Wireless Access Point here at the Lake and that was it. In seconds I was reading the book that I had started on the Kindle 2 (and read parts of on the iPhone 4 and the Kindle app on the iPad).
I still love the iPad but when it comes to reading  books the Kindle is hands down better and with the Kindle 3 that advantage will be multiplied. The new Kindle comes in two flavors: one with WiFi for $139 and one with WiFi and 3G for $189. For most of us the WiFi model is more than adequate. If you are going on a trip you can download your favorite newspaper plus a book or two or more using your home WiFi and you are set. You don’t really need 3G for other applications because the Kindle doesn’t have other applications! That is what your iPad is for.
The magazine, book, and newspaper publishers still haven’t figured out what to do about the rapid adoption of e-readers. The iPad is great for reading news, but which news source is best to read?  The New York Times has the worst model. They offer a dozen stories and plan to charge if you want more. The Wall Street Journal charges $3.99 per week for their news on the iPad but if you want to read a WSJ story on the web or your iPhone they want you to take out another subscription. Wired and Time want you to pay $5 per issue of their magazines.  I believe people will be willing to pay for good content but nobody yet has the right model. I have experimented with quite a few news “readers” that display the RSS feeds of just about all publishers. I currently like NewsRack the best. None of the news readers are perfect but they are all getting better.
Meanwhile the Kindle DX has found a temporary home on eBay. The auction began Friday evening and already has 13 watchers and eight bids. The Kindle DX has been in use for airport and approach charts on the airplane but is no longer needed now that the pilots have iPads. This is a good example of where a “multi-purpose” device is better. There are many applications that are very handy in the cockpit and the iPad becomes an EFB (electronic flight bag). Hopefully, the pilots are not reading books while flying!