Monday, September 14, 2009

The Asus Eee-Reader: I Don't Get It

Have you seen the leaked photos of the upcoming Asus Eee-Reader? If you missed it, here's a short article on CNET with a picture. OK, I get the lower price. Sure, that's something the market is clamoring for as the Kindles, Sony Readers, etc., are destined to be nothing more than nichey luxuries as long as they're $300+.

But what's with the 2-panel hinged display? Why take a relic of the print book and force it into an e-reader? Think about it. There's not a single time in the past year where I've said, "gee, I really wish this Kindle had a second display that hinged onto this one." Never.

Why? First of all, I can only read one screen at a time. OK, things get more interesting when you can have full color with hi-res so that images pop. Um, that's not the current state of the Kindle (or Sony) technology though, is it? So a second screen is just there, waiting for me to get to it. Oh, and btw, it costs more to make. And since this new device won't be using eInk display technologies, it's basically a pair of LCD screens that suck more juice from the battery. What's there to like?

They talk about using the second screen as a virtual keyboard. Anyone who owns an iPhone will tell you the thing they like least about it is the virtual keyboard. Heck, even the chicklet Kindle keyboard is better than a virtual one. (Wow, did I just say the Kindle has an interface feature that's better than the iPhone's?! That's the only one, btw.)

The article goes on to talk about how the device will have speakers, a webcam and a microphone built in. Sounds great, but isn't this starting to smell a lot like a netbook? Asus has been in the netbook space for a few years now and they're just tweaking their product a bit and calling it an e-reader.

I'd rather just have a netbook. And if there's one thing I've learned in 2009 it's that the dedicated e-reader doesn't have much of a future. Sure, they'll still be around in a few years but the real action will be with the multi-purpose devices like mobile phones and tablets.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Managing Stolen/Lost Kindles

It should be so much easier than this. I'm talking about Amazon's policy regarding lost/stolen Kindles, as outlined in this article. I can't imagine losing my Kindle and having Amazon tell me they won't disable it.

Come on. That's an almost $400 device and it would be so easy for them to deny service to the person who found/stole it. If England can do this with cell phones why in the world can't Amazon do it with Kindles?

Whatever happened to this company that built its reputation on a foundation of outstanding customer service? Anyone who accepts this policy and then buys another Kindle to replace their lost/stolen one is a sucker.

Dear Mr. Bezos, can you please just implement the oh-so-simple solution outlined at the end of the article?!