Today I head to downtown Houston for Jury Duty. I don’t mind doing my civic duty as long as I am not bored to death waiting for all of the juries to be empaneled. In the past I have taken books, magazines and my laptop to keep myself occupied, but that was before I received an Amazon Kindle for my birthday.
When my Amazon Kindle arrived, I felt like I was holding a piece of Star Trek tech in my hands. The unit is small, light, thin and beautifully designed. It is not much bigger than a hardbound book. The screen is unbelievably sharp and crisp using a technology called electronic ink (E-Ink). This technology enables the Kindle to display a page without using battery power like with most LCD screens. The only time the Kindle uses power from the battery is when the Kindle draws (renders) a page or the wireless connectivity is on. Once a page is displayed, no power is used to maintain it. This is why it is called “ink.”
There are so many things to like about the Kindle. For those of us who need reading glasses, the Kindle has adjustable font sizes. You can read the screen without your reading glasses! The wireless connectivity, called Amazon Whispernet, is provided through a joint partnership between Amazon and Sprint. It costs the user NOTHING. This usually makes people stop and stare at me with their mouth hanging open. Let me repeat. It costs you NOTHING. The only thing you pay for on the Kindle is content (i.e. books, magazines, blog subscriptions.)
There’s even more to like about the Kindle. For example, I have several novels, all of the Reuters RSS newsfeeds, and some MP3 music downloaded to my Kindle. I have plenty to keep me occupied during Jury Duty. Thanks for Amazon Whispernet, the Reuters news feeds will continue to be updated during the day. Who needs a newspaper?
The Kindle remembers where you left off reading in all of your stored materials. It can even read to you using voice synthesis. I thought it might be quite bad; however, it is quite good! It does sound a bit robotic, but the voice is clear and easy to understand. So you can just put earphones in and let the Kindle read to you. Fantastic!
There is even more to enjoy. Browse the Amazon online Kindle store for new content if you happen to finish that book you are reading. Browsing the web is also possible (Free, remember?) although the eInk makes page display sluggish; but it will work in a pinch.
The Kindle has several competitors, including those from Sony and BeBook, but the Amazon Kindle gets the award in my book. It’s beautiful designed, easy to use, lighweight and portable, has great battery life, sharp and easy-to-read screen, and the price just dropped again to $259.
If you are an avid reader, you will love having an endless library of material at your fingertips, ready to be transmitted over the airwaves. If you are travel for a living like I do, and cut back on your reading because you didn’t want to carry around books or take out your laptop and try to read on the plane, this is the answer for you. I’m reading voraciously again and I am loving it.
Finally, don’t forget to protect your Kindle from scratches and drops by getting a cover and even a skin for it. Amazon did build these to take a beating and tested them being dropped from 6 feet in height, but I prefer not to test it myself.
The cover I use is a beautiful slip made by JAVOedge that protects the Kindle and also acts as an easel. I can stand it up on the aircraft tray table and read easily. Also, the skins provided by GelaSkins and DecalGirl are some of my favorites. I have the Bookshelf GelaSkins.
Trust me on this. If you love to read, you’ll love the Kindle. Everyone who sees mine falls in love, including me every time I open it.