I am an inveterate consumer of electronic books. They're cheap and they appear right on your screen - Microsoft's LIT files even have a rudimentary bookmark system - what's not to like?
So you can understand I've been watching the progress of Amazon's Kindle gadget for a while now. They've just released a new version, and I have to say I don't understand what they're doing.
For one thing, it costs over £200. And then they expect you to buy a books to read on it as well. Fail.
There's no backlight - allegedly to replicate the feeling of reading an actual book. So you can also replicate the feeling of not being able to read a book because of low light levels. Furthermore, they don't seem to appreciate that consumers aren't buying this item to read books, they're buying it to read e-books. Bearing this in mind, the dry, dumbed-down aspects of this gadget doesn't inspire - where's the ability to highlight and e-mail text? Where's the comprehensive cateloging feature? Fail.
There's no Wi-Fi capability, only some 'Whisperware' Amazon-only horseshit. In a device that costs what it does, this is unforgivable. Fail.
The Kindle doesn't support PDFs, Docs, or HTML files. But Amazon apparently offer a service that will convert all these files to the Amazon type. For me, this will mean having a duplicate of the, oh 10GB of PDF and LIT documents I currently have in my library. This will seem eerily familiar to anyone who bought a Sony audio player way back in the day - and found themselves having to convert all their MP3s to whatever shithouse format they were using. Fail.
Do I want to read newspapers using a device as fuck ugly as this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8037058.stm ? I saw a lady using one on the train the other day and it didn't look that bad. But neither did it look especially 'street'.
Worst of all, it looks like this is the best we can expect for the forseeable future. A step in the right direction, but at the moment, not enough.
But I'm going to get one anyway.