Kindle 3G: The Long Saga How I Bought Kindle 3G and Some First Impressions

Last weekend I spent in Best Buy, waiting for the world’s slowest customer associate to bring me Kindle Wi-Fi.  During the [insert a large number here] minutes of me standing near the Kindle display, and the associate going back and forth: writing down, re-writing and double checking the code in order to check if they have any Kindle Wi-Fi’s in stock, I pondered about the world’s slowest turtles and the meaning of life.  After the eternity, I learned that they do not have any Kindle Wi-Fi’s left in stock.  A logical person would leave the store and perhaps, order the damn thing online.  An irritated person, however, grabs the available box with Kindle 3G with one hand, and holding a sweaty (by this time) Best Buy’s get 10% off coupon (the original reason, why I ended up in Best Buy) with another hand and heads over to the cashier.  Well, the coupon does not apply to Kindle, which says so (the cashier points into the tiny card) in very fine print.  Perhaps, a logical person gets pissed and walks away.  But not me, I like sticking to my plans and that is how I ended up getting Kindle 3G.

So here are my first impressions.

Impression #1: (as I unwrapped my purchase immediately in the car) OMG, it fits in my purse!!!

Impression #2: (as I got extremely hungry, while waiting for the world’s slowest customer associate, I went straight to the restaurant.  I started playing with my new Kindle and accidentally pressed the text to speech button) OMG, how do I turn off this Robocop’s voice reading Jane Austen?

And now, to the serious business.

Pages.  The page-turning buttons are extremely comfortably located.  Flip.  Flip.  Flip.  Ah, it feels nice.

Keyboard.  The arrow keys are hit and miss.  Sometimes, I click and nothing happens.  Sometimes, I do not click and the unwanted things occur.

Also, there is plenty of unused space between the keyboard and the screen: why not have a full keyboard (i.e.  include the number keys)?

Normal headphone jack instead of those annoying custom ones – awesome!

Text to speech feature: nice to have it, but I don’t think I will be using it at all.

Integrated dictionary: priceless!

Kindle 3 Review Update

Even now, weeks after the initial release of the Amazon’s(NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle 3 began to arrive on peoples’ doorsteps, there is certainly no unanimous opinion on the quality of the release.  It’s worth taking a closer look at what precisely is being said, in both the highly positive and highly negative reviews, to determine how much they are likely to effect you.  As is my habit when shopping for new products on my own, I’ll start with the negatives.  After all, it’s always nice to know the potential pitfalls in any device, no matter how unlikely!

Kindle 3 Negative Reviews

Beginning at the bottom and working our way up, there are clearly some trends.  One-Star reviews on the Kindle page seem to center on just about three areas, assuming that we’re safe in skipping the complainers who write negative reviews for a product based on it taking too long to get to their house or the fact that they forgot to check to see how much international importation would cost in customs.

1.  Defective Units

As with any product launch, we can expect some problems.  The most vocal will always be those who were the most disappointed.  In this case, it is definitely true that dozens of people received their Kindles in only semi-functional condition due to broken antennae, battery issues, and even broken screens.  What seems to be universally true, however, is that reviewers who have taken the time to follow up have confirmed that Amazon gladly took the bad units back for either refunds or replacements after walking through a small number of steps to troubleshoot and confirm the problems.

2.  Korean Font Issues

It seems that Amazon didn’t choose the best possible option in its default Korean font.  It has been described as blocky, childish, hard on the eyes, difficult to read for any length of time, and just plain ugly.  To the best of my knowledge, this complaint has gone unaddressed as of yet.  It seems likely that it will take at least until the next software patch to get any work done here, so Korean users might be sadly out of luck for the moment as far as default Kindle software goes at the moment.

3.  Software Shortcomings

I’ll be honest, most of this could well come under the category of defective units.  There are a number of users, though by no means a majority, who have been experiencing issues with frequent locking and rebooting for no apparent reason.  These are likely unit failures, given how many reviewers have been offered exchanges, but it’s a pattern to be aware of just in case.  Also, many seem to feel that the PDF support remains insufficient.  Long load times of image-heavy and/or large files have been reported, as well as unwieldy navigation of zoomed documents.  My personal experience does not bear this out, but different people have different expectations or even perhaps still more malfunctioning units given that many of these reviewers simultaneously complain of frequent reboots being required.

Kindle 3 Positive Reviews

In spite of these issues, there is no shortage of praise to be found.  Even without filtering out the many people who have marked down the product for simply not shipping fast enough, the Kindle‘s favorable(4-5 Star) reviews stand at just short of four times the number of all the rest put together as of my writing this.  We’ve already touched on some of these here on the site in our earlier “Kindle 3 Positive Reviews Summary“, but there are a few things to add that really bring it home for a lot of people.

1.  Advertised Features

Yeah, I know, they were right on the packaging.  What did we expect?  The fact is, however, that many people have been taken aback by how much better things like the new screens and WebKit experimental browser are than were originally expected.  I won’t go into this, there are enough ads floating around to find out many details and we’ve certainly talked about new features here enough so far, but these reviews bear out the idea that exaggeration was not a problem on the new Kindle.

2. Setting a New Standard

For many eBook enthusiasts, especially among the early adopter crowd, the Sony PRS-505 set the standard for eReaders until this time.  In terms of weight, durability, screen quality, software, etc, it was simply the best to be had.  Ignore later Sony models, seriously.  According to many reviews, including at least one very well written direct comparison, the only remaining point of shortcoming for the Kindle is the lack of ePub compatibility.  These sorts of comparisons are amazingly valuable for both eBook fanatics and newcomers since they tend to pare down the block of seemingly new and amazing features to what is really going to end up being important over the course of years of use.  If a functional Kindle is now noticeably better than the device that has long been the fallback for users “in the know”, it’s impressive.

3.  The Feel

Now that it’s shrunk down, in terms of size and weight, the Kindle is even more like your average paperback in terms of size and experience.  People are noticing.  If you’ve been on the fence because you’d miss the feel of your favorite book too much, it might finally be time to give it a try.  No more wrist strain, page turn delay that is far less than turning an actual page would be, and a screen that is no longer significantly distinguishable from a paper book in terms of contrast?  Little room for complaint.

Final Verdict

Honestly, I’ll leave that to you.  It is definitely possible to say that this is the best time yet to be buying an eBook reader.  Is the new Kindle sufficiently great to be worth upgrading from the previous generation or your Nook?  Dunno.  Is it good enough for a first eReader?  I’d say it’s an obvious yes, but I’m writing a blog about eReaders so there’s an implied partiality in what I have to say anyway.  Click a link, check the reviews for yourself, maybe ask a few questions if you need to.  I think most people will be pleased.

Warren Buffett told CNBC that he’ll “probably” get a Kindle as he “edges” his way into 21st century technology

Today Warren Buffett told CNBC that he’ll “probably” get a Kindle as he “edges” his way into 21st century technology. Warren Buffet said he was impressed with the Kindle after hearing “wildly enthusiastic” reviews by attendees at Herb Allen’s annual gathering of the rich and famous in Sun Valley, Idaho. He would have been even more impressed if he discovered the number of books about him that are currently available in Kindle Store

Below is part of the transcript.


Julia Boorstin: I should start off with a question about this conference. I heard this morning that the Kindle is a big topic, talking about the publishing industry changing, and (Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos made a presentation. I heard you don’t even have a cell phone. What do you think of the Kindle?

Julia: You do!

Buffett: It’s an 1893 model, I think. Alexander Graham Bell gave this to me personally. (Laughs.)

Julia: Does this mean you’re going to be getting a Kindle?

Buffett: I probably will, after hearing about it today. And I ran into a number of people that have Kindles and who are just in love with them. In fact, a woman that is the wife of another attendee here, came in on the plane with us, and she was using a Kindle and was wildly enthusiastic about it.

Julia: So this is going to be your new technology?

Buffett: Well, who knows? I mean, I kind of edge into technology. I’m just getting into the 20th century. I’ll be working on the 21st century pretty soon, yeah. (Laughs.)

Julia: What is the mood at this conference this year?

Buffett: Well, the mood .. I would say that people just love being here. That’s what happens. I was at a barbeque last night and everybody had such a good time. So I have not yet heard a discouraging word, as we say in Wyoming. (Laughs.) But, I’m sure some of the people have got their own problems in their own businesses, but nobody’s talked about it yet.

For the complete story and transcript go to the story on CNBC.

Save the Planet with a Kindle

save the planet

Have you considered that in this digital age we live in how much paper mail you receive and throw away every day? from invoices, receipts, newspapers, junk-mail, bills…. Imagine how many acres of rainforest we could save if we moved completely digital. Theoretically your Kindle (or a Kindle like device) could be used to pay your bills, receive and send invoices and receipts all this would add up and reduces our waste saving precious trees.

Could Kindle become a planet saving device?

Sunday Night Links #2: 30 December 2007

Welcome to the second instalment of Sunday Night Links! Every Sunday night we will bring you Kindle links from around the web. Compiled form blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope this link list will give you a definitive overview of what’s new regarding Kindle and what the ever growing Kindle community is talking about.

Kindle Crashed, No One at Customer Support? – Kindle Customer Discussions Forum

Can e-books finally take over their printed counterparts? – Today Publishing

Andy Ihnatko is Amazon’s Worst Nightmare – David Dougan

Mitchell Unboxes the Kindle and Complains about it! – Youtube

Kindle Unboxing Gallery – Gearlive

Kindle Self-Publishing – zuleikhajami @ livejournal

Don’t let DRM get between you and a good book – semabooks

Anyone find an aftermarket case for the Kindle – Google Groups

Kindle: Those Ubiquitous Page Control Buttons – The Kindle Reader

Get Kindle format books by trading in Adobe titles? Or Mobi or others? – Teleread

Another Perspective on the Kindle – Law School Innovation

Sunday Night Links #1: 23 December 2007

Welcome to the first instalment of Sunday Night Links! As the week draws to a close, every Sunday night we will bring you Kindle links from around the web. Compiled form blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope this link list will give you a definitive overview of what’s new regarding Kindle and what the community is talking about.

15 Things I Just Learned About the Amazon Kindle – BoingBoing

The PR Revolution Amazon’s Kindle May Be Bringing – Influential Marketing Blog

Kindle Gaming? The Hidden Game – Kindle Reader

Amazon Kindle Real-Life Review (Verdict: Lightweight, Long Lasting and Easy to Grip… In Bed) – Gizmodo

Which eBook Reader is the Best?
– Slashdot

10 Lessons in Innovation from Amazon’s Kindle –

Kindle can light up your life – Chicago Sun Times

And finally on a more festive note, Merry Christmas to all our readers! So here is an amusing video for you to watch…