Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Amazon.com will unveil the Kindle in october

The New York Times reported that in October, the online retailer Amazon.com will unveil the Kindle, an electronic book reader that has been the subject of industry speculation for a year, according to several people who have tried the device and are familiar with Amazon’s plans. The Kindle will be priced at $400 to $500 and will wirelessly connect to an e-book store on Amazon’s site.

That is a significant advance over older e-book devices, which must be connected to a computer to download books or articles.


Hopes for e-books began to revive last year with the introduction of the widely marketed Sony Reader. Sony will not say how many it has sold, but the Reader has apparently done well enough that Sony recently increased its advertising for the device in several major American cities.

“Digital readers are not a replacement for a print book; they are a replacement for a stack of print books,” said Ron Hawkins, vice president for portable reader systems at Sony. “That is where we see people, on the go, in the subway and in airports, with our device.”

Amazon has been showing the Kindle to book publishers for the last year and has delayed its introduction several times. Last fall, a photograph of the device, and some of its specifications, leaked onto the Web when the company filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to get approval for its wireless modem, which will operate over a high-speed EVDO network.

Several people who have seen the Kindle say this is where the device’s central innovation lies — in its ability to download books and periodicals, and browse the Web, without connecting to a computer. They also say Amazon will pack some free offerings onto the device, like reference books, and offer customers a choice of subscriptions to feeds from major newspapers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the French newspaper Le Monde.

The device also has a keyboard, so its users can take notes when reading or navigate the Web to look something up. A scroll wheel and a progress indicator next to the main screen, will help users navigate Web pages and texts on the device.

People familiar with the Kindle also have a few complaints. The device has a Web browser, but using it is a poor experience, because the Kindle’s screen, also from E Ink, does not display animation or color.

Some also complain about the fact that Amazon is using a proprietary e-book format from Mobipocket, a French company that Amazon bought in 2005, instead of supporting the open e-book standard backed by most major publishers and high-tech companies like Adobe. That means owners of other digital book devices, like the Sony Reader, will not be able to use books purchased on Amazon.com.

Nevertheless, many publishing executives see Amazon’s entrance into the e-book world as a major test for the long-held notion that books and newspapers may one day be consumed on a digital device.

“This is not your grandfather’s e-book,” said one publishing executive who did not want to be named because Amazon makes its partners sign nondisclosure agreements. “If these guys can’t make it work, I see no hope.”

Labels: , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home