Things I’ve Missed Commenting Upon While the Urge to Blog Has Been More or Less Absent, Part 1

Amazon Kindle: My Writing Machines class spent a fair chunk of the week of its release discussing the Kindle, the things that make it cooler than the Sony Reader (wireless connectivity; rudimentary search and annotations), the things that make it as dumb as if not dumber than the Sony Reader (boneheaded DRM; a device so single-use that its EVDO can only be used to interact with one website; very restricted ability to interact with/comment upon/discuss texts; a pay model for delivery of material freely available on the web; and perhaps most superficially, but extremely important, an ugly design with counter-intuitive button placement that leaves no way to casually hold and interact with the device), and what we’d like to see in the future.

On that last, I’ve heard whisperings about of a sub-notebook Apple computer, to be announced at MacWorld in January; some of those whispers have even used the word “tablet.” A super-portable machine such as that with the full spectrum of network capabilities seems to me far more likely than the Kindle to be the preferred digital reading device of the future. Amazon may well have wanted to emulate the iPod in releasing a dedicated book-player, but they might have done better to consider the ways that the iPod has developed into the iPhone and the iPod Touch, and the ways that the highly wired users that they’re after have responded.

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