Amazon is preparing to offer an e-book reader and associated download service on Monday of next week. There's already been several unsuccessful attempts to bring the printed word to portable electronic devices, without the eye-tiring backlit pixels you're looking at right now, for instance. Unlike other devices, Amazon's "Kindle" reader is concentrating on the method of delivery of the content, not as much on the unit itself. That's a relief, as it explains why the pictures of the prototype Kindle reader I saw looked as elegant as a fax machine in 1988.
The Kindle is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection that taps into an Amazon e-book store, which users can access to purchase new electronic books--and Amazon has reportedly signed onto a deal with Sprint for EVDO access. Additionally, the device comes with a headphone jack for audiobooks, as well as an e-mail address.
But the source said the Kindle apparently won't bear many other BlackBerry-like features such as a calendar or address book. The Kindle may also lack a backlight. Instead, it comes with a small reading light attached to an adjustable arm.
From its inception, the Kindle has been geared toward "road warriors" and business travelers. The source told News.com that the device includes a feature to download digital editions of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal each morning.
So I can pay a reported $399 for a device that looks like the dashboard on a Ford Pinto and then pay for some sort of wireless broadband service, all so I can read two newspapers that I can buy now anywhere for a less than a buck. Then, while waiting for Amazon to find publishers that will release their text electronically to the wild, maybe I can go to the Gutenberg Project and download Silas Marner. We're all thrilled.