Has Kindle Reached a Tipping Point?

Here's how I evaluate tech items: I evaluate them based on a number of factors such as functionality and features, reviews, hypothetical projections about how I would or wouldn't use an item and, if possible, the real experience of people I know with regard to the 'thing' in question. It's not entirely personal for me-it's about information gathering if I have an initial interest in something. My guess is this is the same for many who are involved in work at the intersections of education and technology. I will more likely want that something if criteria in all of the above categories tip in favor of owning the item. Since there's so much data gathering involved, I'm not often at the point of 'wanting' something----yet. The other problem is the data gathering isn't necessarily a formal process either. I do it when I have time or the inclination. I believe that a tipping point has been reached for the Kindle.

Here's how receiving an Amazon Kindle e-Reader fared:
Functionality and Features
I've always been impressed with the Kindle. Kindle functionality has always appeared to be right in line with what would be expected of an e-reader. Sony didn't see what was coming and lost the e-book market they should have dominated (the Sony Reader beat the Kindle to market by a full year).

  • Kindle E-ink allows reading in bright light, the weight of the divice and side page turn buttons allow it to be held with one hand.
  • 750,000 books and growing-includes free downloads for books out of copyright.
  • Free book backup (Amazon keeps your books on file and ready for download at anytime, should you need them).
  • The battery lasts for a month with wifi off. Wifi allows connection to the internet and whispernet technology delivers books within 60 seconds.
  • Newspapers can be downloaded and read on it.
  • PDF reading is built in.
  • The latest Kindle has Twitter and Facebook Integration so book passages can be 'tweeted' and shared.
  • Music can be listened to while reading (if desired)

As for customer reviews (as of this writing): of 6,099 reviews, 5341 of those reviews are rated at 4 or 5 stars. As for commercial reviews, here are a few for the latest Kindle:

"New Kindle leaves rivals farther back." - New York Times

"Amazon's newest Kindle is the best ebook-reading device on the market. It's better than the Apple iPad, the Barnes & Noble Nook, the various Sony readers…" - Fast Company

"Battery life is long enough for space shuttle missions." - Wired

"What's clear, however, is that if you're looking for a standalone e-reader (i.e., a portable replacement for physical books), this is the go-to, standard-setting device." - Engadget

"Its solid build quality, along with its improved design, integrated store, and cross-platform transportability… all add up to a winner that shoots to the head of the pack."- PC World

Hypothetical Projections about how I would use the Kindle
This is where it becomes more subjective. I do read constantly. Usually I have several books going at once--both printed and e-books. I have been using the Kindle app for i-phone and read books on that device. This is where it has become difficult to 'imagine' how things would change if I were to suddenly to own an actual Kindle. I've actually grown accustomed to reading on the i-touch. I can hold it in one hand and I like the ability to leave the app momentarily to check e-mail, or the weather or my twitter feed, etc.. But, lately, I have been coming around to the idea of owning an actual Kindle for the following reasons.

1-I would be able to read it comfortably at the gym while cycling or using the treadmill. I have tried to read the i-touch while running (on the treadmill) and it is somewhat a comedy of errors-the screen is small and I have to touch it to turn a page every few seconds making me lose my stride (and balance). The Kindle would be a bit easier for this purpose.

2-The capacity of the latest Kindle is now around 3500 books.

3-I like the aforementioned Twitter and Facebook integration comcept because I have actually had the thought while reading on the i-touch, "I wish I could share this with....". To do this I have actually taken a screen shot of the page in question with the text highlighted. Now saved as a photo, I have uploaded this to Facebook. Pretty round-about way of sharing text.

4-I can actually use my i-touch for other purposes while reading on the Kindle itself.

5-It's actually attractive. It's sleek and stylish and the e-ink is easy on the eyes.

6-I trust that Amazon is going to continue to improve the Kindle with new services.

Real experience of others
Everyone I know who has one, loves it. A Kindle of someone I know died after the warranty had expired. The screen just showed lines instead of text and nothing she did (recommended at Amazon) would fix it. A single phone call explaining the problem resulted in a NEW KINDLE being mailed overnight for free, no strings attached.

Final Analysis
I think the Kindle has reached a tipping point and as one evaluates whether or not to buy an ipad instead, I think price will further tip in the direction of the Kindle. Is it a Kindle Christmas? I'm reading: Has Kindle Reached a Tipping Point? Tweet this!

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