- Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets
Amazon Kindle eReader WiFi Reading Device
The New Kindle Wireless Reading Device from Amazon
The New Wireless Kindle Reading Device has arrived. It has been redesigned and is smaller, lighter and better looking than it's predecessor, but with a screen that is even easier to read (50% better contrast) using the same "E Ink" technology that makes the screen look like paper (i.e. less tiring on the eyes than a colour computer screen such as an iPad, a laptop or the new RIM Blackberry Playbook or "BlackPad").
There are now many different versions: from the Kindle (basic inexpensive book reader without a keyboard), the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G or if you want a keyboard the "Kindle Keyboard" and "Kindle Keyboard 3G" (as shown in the photograph here) There is also a Kindle Fire which is a 7" colour tablet and the new Kindle Fire HD similar to the Google Nexus 7 tablet also available as a larger 10" tablet to rival the Apple iPad.
Perhaps the Kindle's biggest advance is the addition of WiFi and optional 3G Wireless download capability using "Whispernet" to access books, newspapers, magazines and other periodicals in less than 60 seconds.
Here are some of the new features of the new Kindle from Amazon and some of the alternative eReaders, eBooks and tablets available from other companies: e.g. the Apple iPad, Sony e-Readers, Smartphones, Dell Streak and Palm PDAs. Also how to use your Kindle as a notebook, write and transfer your own PDF documents, MP3 music files and photos to the Kindle or translate Microsoft Word and Excel documents etc. and other file formats and how to surf the internet with a Kindle.
The New Kindle WiFi Wireless Reading Device
The New Amazon Kindle eReader
The Kindle Wireless Reading Device is here, and now has Wi-Fi and a 6" Display. It is Amazon's best selling item for the last two years. The price is Â£109.00 for the basic model and Â£149 for the full 3G version, making it a lot cheaper than rivals such as the Apple iPad, the new business oriented Playbook (or "BlackPad") from Blackberry or even the Sony electronic readers.
The incredibly long battery life of about a month means that you can take it away on holiday with you, without a charger (just like an old fashioned book) although if you use the 3G or WiFi the battery won't last as long (maybe just 10 days, but that is still very impressive) But, perhaps the most impressive thing is if you buy the 3G model you get free Global internet access: i.e. you can download a book in 60 seconds anywhere in the world (well, 100 or so countries around the world) or read your favourite newspapers and magazines. This service however, is to enable you to download and buy books while on the move, not to give you infinite free internet access. A lot of books can be downloaded for free: e.g. "Classics" from the nineteenth century.
New Features of the Amazon Kindle:New, High-Contrast E-Ink Screen with 50% better contrast than any other e-readerYou can read in Bright Sunlight - No glareNew and Improved Fonts - New crisper, darker fontsNew Sleeker Design - smaller body with the same 6" size reading areaLighter - Weighs less than a paperbackBattery Life of One Month (with wireless off)Double the Storage - Up to 3,500 booksBuilt-In Wi-Fi - Connect at home or on the roadDownload books anytime, anywhere in just 60 seconds using "Whispernet"20% Faster Page TurnsEnhanced PDF Reader - With dictionary lookup, notes, and highlightsNew WebKit-Based Browser - Browse the web over Wi-Fi (experimental)
Cases for Amazon Kindle Reading Devices
Can I Surf the Internet with my New Kindle WiFi E-Reader?
How to surf the internet with a Kindle Experimental Browser?
The new Amazon Kindle 3G WiFi Reading Device is predominantly designed for reading books and other text based literature. It's screen is low power and high resolution optimised for reading text without eye-strain for very long periods without need of a recharge. It is first and foremost a book-reading device and it certainly does that far better than many of the more expensive, more colourful competition, but it also has WiFi, so it must be able to access the internet?
The main purpose of the Kindle's wireless capabilities is to allow the user to download (i.e. buy) more books without having to plug into a computer and it does this very well, with quick access to the Amazon bookshop, but it also has a browser installed which allows access to the internet (albeit in black and white and without Flash support or touch-screen navigation)
To access the browser simply press the Home button on the keyboard, then Menu scroll down to Experimental select and choose Web Browser which opens a browser which should be familiar to most internet users. Navigation is via the four arrow keys with the select key (just marker with ".") in the middle and is slower and clunkier to use than an iPad for instance, but you can always type in the URL address using the excellent keyboard or use bookmarks to find your favourite pages. This is, after-all, a bookreader which can be used for the internet (for free) rather than a multifunction internet device. I use mine to occasionally monitor things on the internet, while I'm reading or watching TV, or while out and about, but if I want an extended session on the internet I will use one of my laptop or desktop computers.
One important thing to note is that all books over 150 years old are FREE! So I have started rereading the classics. Call me a cheapskate, but I think my Kindle will pay for itself in just a few months (as long as I don't buy any new books)
Alternative Electronic Reading Devices
Other Types of eReader or eBook - Amazon Kindle vs Dell Streak vs Apple iPad
eReaders or eBooks are very popular and most people probably think of the Kindle first, but there are many other good makes. Sony makes similar products, which are very well made and easy to use, but Kindle and other types of reading software are available for desktop PCs, laptops, Palm PDAs and Smartphones. The new (rumoured") "BlackPad" from Blackberry will certainly have similar capabilities as well as a more complex business orientated multitasking operating system. Perhaps the most versatile device is the Dell Streak big enough to use as an e-reader, but small enough to have with you all of the time and you can use it like an iPhone or other smartphones and to surf the internet, although not as cheap as a dedicated e-reader nor the battery life.
Other new devices which may compete with the Kindle (although probably not on price, battery life or readability) are the new Apple iPad mini, LG Optimus One (Android Smartphone in various screen sizes) Samsung Galaxy Tab (7" tablet with OLED display), HP Slate (Windows 7 tablet PC) and possibly a Palm OS based tablet after HP acquired Palm in early 2010
Other dedicated eBooks without the power-hungry colour screens and short battery-lives, include: BeBook Neo, iRiver Story, Bookeen, COOL-ER, Elonex Borders, Sony Touch and of course the Kindle 2.
e-Readers: From Sony, Amazon and Others
Sony e-Readers - and accessories
Sony is perhaps the main competition for the Kindle making similar dedicated e-Readers which can be accessorised to make a beautiful leather-bound electronic book. An ideal gift for the avid book-reader.
How to Transfer Documents To Your Kindle
Supported file formats on your Amazon Kindle
The Kindle is mainly designed for reading books, newspapers and magazines that you have purchased, hence the "free" 3G internet access for life, but you can also use it for reading other documents, looking at photos (in black and white), listening to music (it has an MP3 player built in) all of which could be files stored on your computer, but how do you get them onto your Kindle?
First of all getting documents from your computer onto your Kindle is easy and there are three methods.
There is a USB to micro USB cable which also forms the cable to your charger (I spent ages looking for the cable, but it's there attached to the charger) and if you plug the Kindle into your computer it turns into a USB drive which can be used in the usual way - just drag files into the "documents" folder on the "kindle" drive that appears on the computer screen. If the files are in the correct format they can be viewed on the Kindle immediately, although only a few formats are supported: Kindle (.AZW, .AZW1), Text (.TXT), Mobipocket (.MOBI, .PRC) Audible (.AA, .AAX) and Music (.MP3) If you have other file formats try the next methods which support a far wider range of formats by converting to kindle's own file format.
Your Kindle comes with two email addresses which you can find from the Amazon Manage Your Kindle web-page, that you can email documents to, one is free and uses WiFi at home and the other one there is a small fee (Â£0.20 per MB in the UK) and uses 3G anywhere. If the subject line of the email is "convert" the files will be automatically converted to Kindle format and appear on your device a few minutes later, otherwise the files will appear in their original format (if it is supported)
The iPad is bigger and more glamourous than the Kindle and has a highly tactile interactive colour screen, but it doesn't fit in your pocket and it costs more.
Can I use my Kindle as a notebook?
Can I create Documents on My Kindle Device?
Another common question is how do you create a document on your Kindle? and can you use it as a notebook? The answer is sort-of.
Officially you cannot create a document on the Kindle. It is just a reader, but you can add notes to kindle-format documents. So if you wanted to write notes or keep a notebook you could just write them on one of your books (just use menu->Add Note or Highlight) and they would appear in a file called "My Clippings" and also as notes in the book. Alternatively create a small empty file (e.g. a word document called MyNotebook.doc) and send it to your Kindle by email with subject line "convert" and add all of your notes to that. See the above section about transferring files to see how to do that.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD - Full feature Tablets from Amazon Kindle
If you want a full tablet computer like an Apple iPad or Google Nexus 7 Amazon also has competing devices in the Amazon Kindle Fire HD range of tablets. These are very reasonably priced high performance tablets that can be used as an eReader, for web-browsing, watching video and gaming...