Forget eBooks, Kindle offers free web access #
The Kindle is a swell eBook reader, but where it really shines is in offering free web access anywhere in the U.S. via Sprint's EVDO network. Most reviewers fail to appreciate just how cool this is, instead lamenting over the lack of support for streaming media, etc:
Mike Elgan is one of the few who gets it (Don't tell Amazon, but its e-book reader does e-mail, RSS feeds and calendaring), though the true potential is revealed by xkcd:
(Mad props to Josh Sommers for sending this in)
So what can you do with free, anytime/anywhere text-based browsing?
If Amazon ever decides to cancel or charge for web access, just tether the Kindle to your computer and you're back online (albeit without the same convenience).
- View all of your RSS/Atom feeds as a single HTML page with SimplePie
- Visit Google Mobile to access Kindle-friendly versions of Reader, Calendar, News, Docs, Blogger, and more.
- Browse FreeKindleBooks.org
- Surf the web with fewer distractions (goodbye annoying popups, advertisements, Flash, etc.)
- Roll your own or use free simple server-side apps for email, FTP, etc. (Just checked Mail2Web and Net2FTP on the Kindle 2 - both work great.)
- Check out the default bookmarks, like Wikipedia, BBC, CNET, Lonely Planet, etc.
- The e-ink screen is a joy to read, like a pillow for tired eyes. Yes, that sounds like really bad advertising copy, but it's true.
- The Kindle simply blows away the iPhone (and all backlit LCDs) for reading electronic text with minimal eyestrain (Photo of an iPod Touch and Kindle)
- Worst. Keyboard. Ever. It's hard to overstate just how mushy and unresponsive the keyboard is. In short, it makes the Treo 755P thumbboard feel like an IBM Model M. (Photo of the Treo and Kindle side-by-side)
- Touch screen desperately needed for better navigation, especially on the web. At the very least, allow scrolling to loop so that you can (for example) jump from the first link to the bottom by pressing up once.
- Replace "Home" button with "Prev Page". Virtually all right-handed people will understand this in a few seconds. Even better: make all of the buttons programmable.
- Text-to-speech still so poor that the recent fuss over Amazon caving to publishers is rather puzzling.
- Two free apps for converting PDF, HTML, DOC, etc to Kindle-friendly formats:
/eink | Apr 30, 2009
Subscribe or visit the archives