Its just 3 short months since the intro of Kindle 2 and Amazon has already launched a replacement - Kindle DX which coincidentally is also the White Knight that will rescue America's ailing newspapers and magazines plus help lower high school and college costs by making textbooks available on Kindle DX for less. So, for $130 more here is what you get for the Kindle DX over the smaller Kindle 2:
1)Bigger screen which is nearly double the size. From Kindle 2's 42 sq inches viewing to Kindle DX 75 sq.inch screen;
2)More than double the storage from 1500 books to 3500 books or other material;
3)Adobe PDF support built in so you can move PDF files directly to Kindle DX, where as PDF on Kindle 2 must be dowloaded as other images and documents from Amazon Servers after upload to your Kindle account there;
4)Rotate the Kindle DX from portrait to landscape view and the display adjusts automatically to the new viewpoint;
5)Longer battery life from 1 day to 4 days with Web usage; 1-2 weeks without web usage;
6)New keyboard - not sure it is better.
Correct me if I am wrong but these are the big Kindle DX value adds. Certainly Kindle DX addresses one of my major concerns for Kindle 2. See the earlier review - Kindle 2 : The Book that can run out of Power.
The Value Proposition
I look at Netbooks, Laptops, and Smartphones and their rapidly improving capabilities and I ask myself what does Kindle bring to the table that is unique and worthwhile to me?:
1)Black and White books instantly delivered at lower cost ($9.99 and up for some 270,000 books) plus faster delivery than ordering online and waiting for shipping to be consolidated, etc
2)the ability to have those books read out loud or have type enlarged so I can reach elder population and/or people just learning English(there is a built-in dictionary but no foreign language translation yet);
3)Connect to the Net using Sprint/Nextel 3G network for a flat fee per month but subject to fee change and download/upload restrictions at some future date;
4)Connect to the Net for some sort of web browsing beyond ordering new books and downloading Word documents and images (but not Flash or Silverlight or Powerpoint media among the most prominent);
5)Access to newspapers and magazines that are also delivered directly to the Kindle ready for use;
I then ask what do the smartphones and Netbooks bring to the market which the Kindle DX does not:
1)Thousands of screen colors plus touch screen operations; same size if not bigger screens in case of Netbooks versus Kindle DX;
2)Keyboards in the case of Netbooks that are close to laptop size and comfort;
3)App stores with lots of additional apps plus an API for building both native and Web apps;
4)more USB/BlueRay ports for attaching additional devices and peripherals which are mutating and adapting very quickly to the new smartphones and Netbooks;
5)Ability to expand memory and hard disk space through these ports or directly;
6)Phone connections and services; GPS positionaing as well;
7)Equivalent Web connectivity to Kindle but you can go out and get your best rates with providers;
8)the ability to program the smartphone or Netbook in any of several languages and devellopment tools;
9)Ability to run a wide range of popular programs and apps free and right out of the box;
10)Choice of OS from Mac Snow Leopard through Windows XP or Windows Mobile to several flavors of Linux including Google's Android - so you can find some OS you are comfortable with.
This list appears to be tilted to the advantage of the smartphones and Netbooks.
At first gllance it appears that smartphones and Netbooks both can do a lot more than Kindle for prices less than or comparable to Kindle Dx. The Kindle value add that appears to be truly unique is $9.99 books for immediate download and reading. Hence I ask myself- can say Apple with its upcoming Media Tablet or Dell with its rumored Google Android-powered Netbook emulate all of the capabilities of the Kindle right now or with some simple programming effort? I think so except for the ability to download Kindle-like readable books for $9.99. But maybe Apple or Dell can strike a deal with Barnes and Noble or Powells. As for magazines or 3 major newspapers (Boston Globe, NYTimes, Washington Post) for subscriptionfees - well wait now, I can get at most newpapers and magazines for $0 . And the rumor is that Amazon will make Kindle download facilities and readability available to some laptop and PC vendors. Once it is there Kindle appears to lose most of it unique and most important value adds.
Jeff Bezos has sold the Kindle partly on the basis of being a first-aid vehicle for lower textbook costs and more newspaper subscriptions - a rescue for the major dailies which have seen a big downturn with the Credit Crunch. But as rescue vehicle Kindle Dx appears a little suspect both technically and business model wise. But as a way of establishing Kindle as the book-selling format of choice Jeff has just about managed to do it with only 16 levels of gray and supplanting the natural choice, Adobe PDFs which are so much more capable. Now that is brilliant marketing!!