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 MobileRead.com 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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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus