Amazon Kindle DX: Is Bigger Really Better?
Bucking the trend for smaller footprint devices, Amazon announced a significantly larger Kindle eBook reader. The electronic paper display is 2.5 times the size of the current Kindle model and, at 535 g, the weight is double the current model. It will store 3,500 books compared to 1,500.
The new device, dubbed Kindle DX (for deluxe), costs $489, or $130 more than the current and smaller model. Amazon.com is positioning it as a new way for users ranging from students to knowledge workers to read documents, newspapers, and textbooks. It will be available for purchase this summer.
The Kindle costs as much as an inexpensive laptop and more than an inexpensive netbook. Neither of these devices is ideal for reading books, of course, yet they are far more versatile in many other areas.
Amazon.com is trying a different business model to sell Kindle DXs: three newspapers, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, will offer it at a reduced price (not yet announced) to readers who live in areas where their newspapers are not available for home delivery (subscribers must sign up for a long-term subscription to the Kindle edition of the paper, making this similar to the subsidized purchase of a new mobile phone with a multi-year contract). Articles displayed in the newspaper’s Kindle edition do not have advertisements and Amazon keeps 70% of the subscription revenue, an arrangement newspaper publishers are reportedly trying to renegotiate.
Amazon launched the device at Pace University and announced agreements with three major textbook publishers, Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, and Wiley Higher Education, to make their books available in the Kindle store. Six universities including Pace, Arizona State, Case Western Reserve, Princeton, Reed College, and the University of Virginia, are slated to test the device with students in the fall.
So what does all of the extra size, weight, and storage get you besides strength training for your wrist? To start with, the display size is much more suitable for reading newspapers and books with complex illustrations. The auto-rotate feature turns pages from portrait to landscape, something that will be particularly useful for maps, graphs, tables, and even Web pages. The Kindle DX supports PDF files natively, so, unlike with the current Kindle, files do not have to go through a converter. I’ll reserve judgement at this point but since I most recently favored the Kindle for iPhone over the Kindle device, I’m not sure which way this will go.
You can pre-order a Kindle DX at Amazon.com.
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.