The e-book business has been slow to take off. Some might say sadly so. With only one or two products on the market to-date, and no clear leader, it’s the most interesting invention that no one owns.
That might be about to change, as today marks the launch of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader. It’s a lightweight, wireless device that contains an e-ink monochrome display and enough memory to hold about 200 books, give or take.
The Kindle looks to have been well conceived as it gets around the biggest hurdle associated with so many gadgets these days – the need for a computer to add or remove content. Amazon gets around this by giving the Kindle an on-board EV-DO card which allows it to connect to Amazon’s e-book service pretty much anywhere there is cell-phone reception. Dubbed "Whispernet", this connection comes without any fee to the user which makes it a first for this type of connectivity as far as I’m aware.
It can also connect to your PC via the now ubiquitous USB cable, in case you want to download any existing content you may have. With memory capacity expandable via cheap and plentiful SD memory cards, and the ability to playback MP3 and Audible files, the Kindle may be the type of gadget that a lot of folks have been waiting for.
But if you live here in the Great White North, you’ll be waiting a while longer before getting your hands on one. The $399 USD device is only available to customers with both a US billing and shipping address and they won’t ship internationally regardless of where you live. Their coverage map is devoid of any Canadian locations, so though it might be compatible with our EV-DO networks, it may not function on them.