Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ian Freed, Amazon's VP for Kindle, Interviewed in TechFlash

Despite the Kindle's success to date, interviews about it with senior level Amazon execs seem few and far between. That's why I was delighted to see this recent Q&A with Ian Freed, Amazon's VP for Kindle, on the TechFlash site.

Here are some of my own comments on what Freed had to say:

The notion of discovering a book and getting it in under a minute remains one of the killer features for the Kindle, IMHO. I'm still amazed that Sony hasn't implemented a wireless option. Heck, the Kindle has been available for almost a year and there are still no signs of a wireless competitor! I benefited from this again last Friday. My wife e-mailed me the title of a book she thought I'd like and I saw it as I was hopping aboard a 2-hour flight home. I managed to buy and download the book in the time between buckling my seatbelt and hearing the announcement to turn off all electronic devices. Let's see you do that with a Sony Reader!

Interesting that he notes the unexpected success of the periodical products. If that's true, why the heck can't they add more magazines to the list? I just checked again this morning and they still only have 18 to choose from. My guess is Amazon has been unable to get the big magazine players to agree to their terms. Bummer.

Freed also claims blogs are working well on the Kindle. That's surprising, given how low the blog product rankings are. Also, I'll never understand why anyone would pay for a blog feed on their Kindle when a totally free wireless service like Kindlefeeder works just fine.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Amazon to open the platform up to third-party developers. Freed talks about how "supporting a wider ecosystem for applications is nontrivial", but he also notes that Amazon might be open to it down the road.
Be sure to read the entire interview. It offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a device we've all come to know and love.