Thursday, July 09, 2009

Kindle - why I still don't want one

First of all - I absolutely love the Amazon Kindle. I've held them and read on them, and I think the current generation is a terrific device. Battery life is outstanding, the screen is a marvel, and the form factor is lightweight and easy to work with. Now that they cut the price, it's even better.

But I won't buy one. Still. And the reason is simple. The feature set of the larger model (the DX) has a real PDF tool (so I can sync up books and materials I already own), can auto-rotate the screen, and is just big enough for me to read as well as a book. But the price is just way too high (almost $500) and the keyboard isn't as good as the one on the smaller Kindle. So that's blocking me.

The other problem is the way Amazon implemented their book DRM. I want to know I can either back up the contents and restore them using my computer or automatically re-download them on a replacement Kindle at any point. Amazon has download limits that vary by the title. I'm not 100% certain enough about the fate of my e-books to completely buy in.

The last major issue is the screen. It's beautiful, but 16 levels of gray isn't quite enough for me (give me 32 and I'll be happy), plus I want low-level backlighting that will let me read in darkened places. I'm happy to turn it off to save battery life most of the time.

But mainly it's just still too pricey. When the DX is selling for $200 (and the smaller model is $100) then I may think about it. But given the price of content I can't justify it.

The only compelling, overpriced technology I still want anyways is a Segway. Amazing I've been able to hold out all these years.