Sunday, March 1, 2009

Now That Kindle 2 is Here, What Happens with Kindle 1 "Experimental"?

When I got my Kindle 1 last year I was curious to see how Amazon would add to and enhance the "Experimental" feature set of the device. (The Experimental main menu option is how you access the Kindle's web browser and music player, btw.) More than a year after Kindle 1 came out, Amazon has added zero functionality to the Experimental options. Zippo. Nothing. Nada.

Now that Kindle 2 is on the scene I can't help but think Amazon will completely abandon new features on Kindle 1. What a sham, er, shame. Early adopters flocked to Kindle 1 with the hope that Amazon would treat this area much like Google leverages their Labs. Take a look at Google Labs to see all the cool stuff going on there. It's a terrific place to preview the next tool Google has lined up in their plan for world domination. Amazon had the same opportunity with Experimental but they've laid an egg.

It's one thing to allow cobwebs to collect in this space, but I'm even more concerned about the features on Kindle 2 that could easily be made available on Kindle 1. Text-to-speech is a great example. Will Amazon ever offer that feature to Kindle 1 owners via a software/firmware update? If not, why not?

Come on, Jeff. Reward your loyal early adopters who sprung $360 for the homely Kindle 1. Are you really trying to force us to spend more than $700 total for two generations of the same device in about 12 months, just to get a couple of new features?

In all fairness, I really think Kindle 2 should have been called Kindle 1.1. Give me an open architecture where third-party apps can be added, where I can buy and download content from a variety of resellers, with great social networking functionality built that would be a second generation Kindle!


Fran Toolan said...

Agreed, Joe. I can't see spending the money AGAIN. Too many other things to spend it on this year!

Mary said...

The form factor is way better on the K2 than on the K1 and I am very happy with it. Also, the "experimental" web browsing is a lot zippier on the K2. There are lots of little things just making the K2 a better experience. Each person has to decide for himself/herself whether the K2 is worth it. To me it was.

JimK said...

If amazon abandons the K1 as I suspect they will, I will have purchased my last Kindle.

I'm not going to take that crap off another company. I just won't. I will spend my money elsewhere. the E-ink space is going to be very competitive in the next few years. I will have options.

odanrot said...


Why get wrapped around the axel about something that hasn't happened yet? Amazon hasn't abandoned the Kindle 1. Let's save our angst until if/when that happens.

It's interesting reading the different web sites and having everyone chime in....if they had done this and added this then it would be perfect. I didn't buy this for the experimental section, I bought it to read books, magazines, and newspapers. It does this very well. Why does everyone want it to be basically a small netbook with e-ink?

Olivia said...

Amen to this, Joe. I agree 100%!

Timothy said...

Well... for one thing, Kindle 1 has 1.2 firmware now, so if Kindle 2 had been 1.1, that would've been going back a bit. ;)

Amazon has said that they were going to keep up with updates on the Kindle 1, so it's not being abandoned yet. They aren't Microsoft, who abandoned original Xbox immediately in favor of 360.

1.2 has shown that they were going to be keeping up with Kindle 1 -- released right before Kindle 2 announced, gave a bit of preview of some of the features that they had announced with Kindle 2 (like the syncing feature).

I had been wondering about the text-to-speech feature. If Kindle 1 gets it, it might be a few months in order to promote Kindle 2. I expect it'll be in the next major firmware if it is released at all. But that's just guessing...

Anonymous said...

Does K1 have as much "horsepower" as K2? Maybe T-2-S won't run satisfactorily on K1.

Since Amazon has backpedaled on T-2-S now perhaps in the not too distant future there won't be any books allowed to use that feature anyway.

Anonymous said...

About some concerned there not being any books for T-2-S if authors all opt not to enable it for their books, you might be forgetting about the several thousand $0.00 public domain classics Amazon "sells".