Thursday, May 8 2008

Kindle play

So, my mother has a shiny new Amazon Kindle, and before they continued on the next leg of their vacation, I helped fill it up with free e-books from Mobipocket’s web site. I also played with it for a while.

Notes:

  1. Every time I picked it up, I hit a button by accident.
  2. There’s no reliable way to void a pending button-press, and it keeps a queue at least five clicks deep.
  3. The “like a book” way of holding it with the cover makes the “previous page” button awkward to use.
  4. Western European/American font support only. I didn’t really expect it to have kanji, but I was surprised that it was also missing things like “ō”, affecting things like the English-language Wikipedia entry for Toshirō Mifune.
  5. Web sites that can’t be rendered are falsely reported as down. I was all set to rush into the co-lo to reboot dotclue.org when I checked from my laptop and discovered that it was fine. The Kindle just refused to render it, because of the Japanese text.
  6. It always took a long time to connect to Whispernet, leaving me wondering if our hotel was in a cellular dead zone. No, it’s just that slow.
  7. Frequent ghosting on the display, something that’s less of a problem with newer e-paper displays and ones that do a full erase before a full redraw.
  8. Unlike the early photos they showed off of it, it’s not hideous to look at. It definitely needs some work in the human-factors department, but it looks much cleaner than I expected.
  9. The sidebar-slider UI is a reasonable compromise between clarity and responsiveness, but takes some getting used to.

Net result: I’ll hold off until Kindle 2.0, at least.