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Former Amazon Exec on iPad: "Amazon doubling down, can't afford to lose" (techflash.com)
26 points by cwan 2198 days ago | past | web | 19 comments



I'm sure Amazon will be more than happy to sell its e-books for viewing on "Kindle for iPad" (provided Apple doesn't try to shut their app down as "duplicate functionality"). If we consider the Kindle hardware device as a way of priming the pump for digital book adoption, it seems to have worked.

It will be interesting to see what pricing looks like between iBooks and Kindle books (I noticed a number of $14.99 options in the presentation when most Kindle books are $9.99). Even though I'm a Mac/iTunes user, currently Amazon gets the bulk of my digital music money, because they offer better deals than Apple and have made the download to iTunes process pretty painless. My guess is they'll find numerous ways to operate within the new ecosystem the iPad creates.

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Aw. I can't believe he didn't explicitly mention the e-ink used by the Kindle. It really, really makes a difference. There are a million annoying, awkward things about the Kindle. But they're all worth it just due to how dang readable it is. I can use an LCD all day long (and do). But for reading documents/books of some length, linearly, for long periods of time, e-ink is really nice.

(I'm sure i'll eventually have an iPad, or something like it, i just don't compare it to a Kindle.)

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Chiming in to agree. I forget I'm not reading paper. Literally. I physically flip the machine all the time to get to the next page. 50 books in 3 months and I've never once gotten eyestrain.

I'm generally not a hardware fanboy, but the Kindle is to me as guns are to the NRA: if you want to separate me from it you had better be prepared to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

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That's so cool to hear. I haven't even had mine that long, and I'm already an admirer. Sound like I'll dig it even more as time passes.

(Note to those on the fence. I'll give you some background info about myself: I'm NOT a big book reader. Pre-Kindle, less than 5 a year. NOT a big gadget person. Software and virtual servers w/too many providers? Yes. But gadgets no (i hate "stuff." Have no printer, a bad, simple cell phone, no dvr, cable box...). I just really like studying and reading, and the Kindle helps a lot with that. I'm not saying, "get a Kindle!!" I'm just saying if you're trying to map your needs + interests to people who have one, those are some things about me...)

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I'm pretty much the same hate stuff kinda mindset. So I'm curious did you get the DX or the original. DX seems more useful for pdfs/studying but less pocketable.

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I got the regular size Kindle 2.0. It does suck for unmodified PDF's, but i have yet to try: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1089068

That said, I "bought in" intellectually accepting that I shouldn't expect to straight up enjoy all my PDF's on this thing. I decided e-readers would be something that would be worth it (for me) to take a hit with the early adopter tax.

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There's also the Pixel Qi screen, originally developed for OLPC and looking to be launched in actual products this year.

It has a mode that switches off the backlight and becomes a high-res monochrome screen perfect for reading and use in sunlight. It can even emulate the e-ink capability of turning off the power and the screen stays on with static content to some extent, though this requires more engineering to support than just plugging it in the place of a standard LCD.

I find the B&W mode charmingly retro (particularly when showing 1080p video) and would very much like to buy a linux&arm based tablet or netbook using it.

Recent demo videos:

http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/mary-lou-jepsen-shows-pixel...

http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/charbax-tests-pixel-qi-at-c...

http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/notion-ink-pixel-qi-tablet-...

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Thanks for sharing this. I didn't know about this project.

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The Kindle has 3G (current iPad doesn't, but apparently a version with it will be announced in 30 days).

Kindle 3G is free.

Kindle has 1 week battery life (iPad has 10 hours) - but probably doesn't matter, because people are used to recharging daily.

Kindle has an e-ink display.

Kindle weighs 290 grams (iPad 680 grams).

Kindle costs $260 (iPad costs $499).

The iPad, unlike the Kindle (or the iPod), is a general-purpose machine. It's packed full of ideas and features - instead of uses. Yet it's aimed at the mainstream (who value uses), instead of us techies (who value ideas and features).

I can't see it going anywhere, unless someone finds a specific compelling use for it. I think it's more of a stepping stone to something else, perhaps to discover specific uses, or for Apple to get familiar with the new tech (and to stake a claim in the marketplace). .

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Kinde 3G isn't free. It is priced into the distribution costs of the media.

iPad allows unrestrained surfing - which is why it requires a monthly plan.

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This really is an amazing opportunity for Amazon.

If they were to drop DRM and allow third party applications on the Kindle, they could blow Apple out of the water.

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I doubt it -- the display prevents the platform from accommodating any kind of meaningful application ecosystem. An "open" Kindle would basically be a Palm III with a chiclet keyboard and a bigger/clearer screen. I would have wet my pants for that ten years ago, but who on earth would want one today?

(You wouldn't even get API access to the network connection; Whispernet is only financially viable because the apps on the shipping devices are incapable of consuming any meaningful amount of bandwidth.)

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They are releasing an SDK soon. It remains to be seen how successful or popular it will be. http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?ie=UTF8&docId=100...

One of the biggest issues with it is that you have to figure out a way to get users to pay for their own bandwidth - this issue doesn't surface on other devices.

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For me the kindle is not so much about the hardware. It is more about the ability to buy most of the books I want for less that I would pay for the paper version, get them within 60 seconds, pay less than the paper version, and not have to stack and store them for the rest of my life. I don't really care that much about the hardware. iPad, kindle, computer - they are all fine for reading to me. The real breakthrough here is the electronic distribution.

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The iPhone has a Kindle app. Several of my friends and coworkers have it and read books on it. Given that all iPhone apps are supposed to work on the iPad, I assume this one will.

Amazon almost certainly doesn't care about the hardware market as much as they do about the market for media for e-readers. I'm sure they care about this, but it's not that serious for them as a business.

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The iPhone has a Kindle app at the pleasure of Apple.

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If Apple switches its pleasure to displeasure and blocks the Kindle app because they don't like the competition, I'll be right there with you at the front of the crowd, carrying my torch and waving my pitchfork.

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I have a K1, and a K2 Kindle, and played all sorts of games with book lights trying to figure out how to read books on my Kindle in low lighting. One of the hidden warts of the Kindle, is that while it's performance in bright sunlight is superb (actually, the brighter the light outdoors, the better the performance) - It's performance with a direct book light is horrible. You end up always having to try and read around the glare of the book light. Enter the Kindle App for the iPhone. I've read about a twenty books on that application. Devour Science Fiction - nobody I know has been more eagerly anticipating the iPad for book reading.

For Outdoors, Bright Lights, Beaches, Camping, Burning Man (really!) - Nothing beats the Kindle for reading books. But, in dark offices, in bed at night, on the subway - Apple wins the day.

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not sure I'd want to take a computer/ebook reader to burning man, too much sand

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