Book to the Future
2:00 PM -- Stop me if you've heard this one before. Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. today unveiled a $400 eBook called 'Kindle' that will allow users to carry up to 200 books in a device roughly the size of a large paperback novel.
The Kindle has some nifty new twists on the eBook theme. Amazon's first-ever hardware device allows books to be downloaded over 3G CDMA EV-DO (evolution, data only) and never needs to be connected to a PC. The company isn't charging for these data downloads
It is, however, charging $399 upfront for the device and around $10 for its digital bestsellers. Like other eBooks before it, I suspect that the cost of the device will be a stumbling block towards adoption. The most recent flop was the Sony eReader, but Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and many startups have tried to get the digital ink concept off the ground and largely failed. After all, $400 will get you a pretty sweet iPod.
In fact, I suspect the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPod may finally bring eBooks to the masses by bundling the application with other multimedia content. Plenty of people already listen to audible books on their iPods. Apple would need to improve the display to make eBooks more viable, but the company keeps doing that anyway with devices like the iPhone and the iPod touch.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung