Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Amazon Kindle

Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com offers a new digital book reader tool. It is called the Amazon Kindle. Just by looking at the descriptions and videos you get quite a good idea about the design. I think this is a design that deserves examination. The Kindle has some new technology, such as the use of e-ink. I have no idea if and how the Kindle will work as a reading tool. But from a design point of view it raises some interesting questions. It is for instance clear that the design is intentionally not aimed at adding as much functionality as possible. There are several serious limitations, but they are all intentional and based on a clear design idea, which is that this is first of all (and maybe only) a reading device. It is not a phone, a pda,it does not contain a browser, etc, it seems as if it is not even a calculator! Does it have a clock :-) It comes with free wifi but only to the Amazon e-bookstore and Wikipedia. Anyhow, is this a sign of what we will see in the the coming years of interaction design? Devices and tools that are designed for very specific purposes, ignoring opportunities and features that would be so easy to add? Well, we'll see. There are no real good reviews yet of the Kindle, mostly descriptions, so we will wait and see....

4 comments:

cctw said...

There is a short critical review just up by Adam Greenfield (Speedbird):

http://speedbird.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/kindling/


Cameron

cctw said...

And this is a nice critical review of the form/function:
http://well.thsy.org/2007/11/bookishness.html

Erik Stolterman said...

Hi cctw

thanks for the links!!

Erik

Richie said...

I've seen some of the E-Ink Readers. They have a really impressive display. It does not feel like you are reading from a screen, but not exactly like reading from paper. But its still surprising how close to paper it is. I'm looking at buying one myself, but that darn kindle is just toooo expensive at $400.

I think the best implementation of this device will be to NOT make it an multi function device. I'd hope they just get it to work well as a single book replacement before adding another calendar for me to keep updated :-)