Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Is This the New Amazon Kindle?

When Amazon first introduced its Kindle e-book reader in 2007, the gadget was almost universally derided for its looks (my take: It had a “sort of late 1970s Battlestar Galactica/Pong/digital watch aesthetic”). But the fugly device appears to have been a big hit for the electronic retailer.

So what do you make of these pictures, which come from and are purportedly leaked images of the new device Amazon (AMZN) is set to unveil on Monday?

My uninformed opinion: I like it. One of the more practical critiques of the Kindle wasn’t that it looked bad, but that it wasn’t designed that well–in particular, an oversized tab on the side of the gadget made it too easy to accidentally turn pages. So this would-be design seems to have addressed that problem.

As a reminder, here’s Kindle 1.0:

Again, no way of telling if this is the real deal or not–you’ll have to wait about 48 hours for that. And even if it is correct, no sense of what this means for the machine’s features. I’m particularly interested in the Kindle 2.0’s Web browser, which Amazon buried within the operating system and described as an “experimental” feature. But to me it was a pretty big deal, and I’m surprised that few Kindle users ever discussed it.

For what it’s worth: MobileRead also asserts that this new machine will retail for $359–the same price as the last Kindle. We’ll see.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik