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Retailers, consumers and prices

Is Amazon’s Kindle DX e-reader hype?

May 6, 2009

The new Kindle DX is bigger, but is it better?” asked one headline as gadget reviewers examined the latest electronic reader from Amazon.com.

The verdict: “It isn’t as revolutionary as its promoters might like us to think.”

Amazon’s brand of Kindle e-readers now has a new addition, the Kindle DX, and despite the company’s hype, the $489 device may remain a niche product that appeals to a limited few.

The Seattle-based online retailer says the Kindle DX is optimized for newspapers and textbooks, and touts its large memory — 3,500 books — and auto-rotating screen.

But Amazon is not alone in the e-reader space — remember Sony? — and its new version will face increased competition from a host of rival products due on the market in the near future.

A smattering of reviews online spoke favorably about the DX’s larger display that makes viewing documents easier, but some cited an awkward browser — still labeled experimental by the company — lack of color and large size that makes it inconvenient for commuters.

As for price? The new version is $130 more than a Kindle 2 — the updated version that came out earlier this year — a fact that has caused many raised eyebrows.

“The DX would have to come at a considerable discount to motivate the public at large to invest in one,” wrote one reviewer from IDG News Service in a story published on Computerworld.com.

Gizmodo was impressed by the Kindle DX’s ability to rotate from landscape to portrait but did a doubletake at its price, saying it could be justified for certain specialized fields.

It called “shaky” Amazon’s relationship with newspaper publishers and wondered how the newspaper industry could subsidize a new tech product when it is already publishing for free online.

As for the opportunity in textbooks, which some analysts have called golden, Bezos did not convince that blogger that he could get all the major text book publishers to come on board.

“The real way to move Kindles is to sell them to every college kid with the software equivalent of 200 backbreaking pounds of textbook,”Gizmodo said in its review.

A smattering of blog comments included:

  • “I really think the Kindle is going to go the way of the digital photo frame. Sounds like a good idea, but meh.”
  • “I would buy one of these in a heartbeat if I thought my textbooks would be on it.”
  • “No thanks. I’ll stick to reading news online,” said another.

(Photo: Reuters)

Comments

I love it and the technology it offers, but I won’t buy it at that price until the print can be seen in color. We have many “visual” learners out there now who thrive on video learning and changes in color to learn, so in that respect, the technology is awesome, but for me to buy it, I would want to see it have the capacity for both color and font size change.

Posted by Michele | Report as abusive
 

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