This week’s Newsweek magazine features a cover article on the new Amazon Kindle, an ebook reader that is so much more.
Not only does the Kindle improve upon the problem of reading electronically with its use of E Ink, which mimics the readability of the printed page, but the reader itself also mimics the feel of a book in its dimensions and weight. The Kindle will hold approximately 200 books on its own internal memory, plus you can store as many books as you like on as many memory cards as you care to own. Aging baby boomers can increase the font size for easier readability; researchers can search for specific words or phrases within a book; the battery will last 30 hours and completely recharge in only two, and you can write notes on the screen or highlight passages.
The biggest feature is that Kindle allows wireless connectivity through WhisperNet, an EVDO broadband connection service offered by cell phone carriers, which means connectivity anywhere, not just in Wi-fi hotspots. You can use it totally independent of your personal computer. Downloading a book is a one-touch process and Amazon currently has 88,000 books in digital format and ready for downloading, with more, including new and past bestsellers, being offered in the future.
You can also subscribe to newspapers (the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Le Monde) that are automatically beamed to your Kindle as the print issue goes to press, magazines (The Atlantic) and selected blogs. No doubt that as the reader grows in popularity, so will the list of daily and monthly publications available for the Kindle. You can also get on the Internet to check out Wikipedia, Google or to follow links on subscribed blogs. If someone sends you a PDF file to your private Kindle e-mail address, the file will appear in your library and be just as readable as a book.
The Kindle will initially retail for $399, but that price may well drop if it turns out to be the iPod or iPhone for the literary customer.
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