Kindle 2: Surviving the iPad buzz

Steve Jobs’ announcement of Apple’s newest iBooks store and iPad’s eBook capabilities made a ripple of doubt for Kindle’s survival in the eBook reader industry. Although iPad’s performance in the global market remains to be seen, iPad vs. Kindle debates has barraged the Internet these days.

Things go differently though if we throw in the Kindle DX, with its 9.7 inch screen in the mix. Even the iPad non-3G model priced at almost $500 could beat the almost $480 of an impossibly ambitious eBook reader. So Kindle 2 will remain as the eBook reader that refused to be trampled by a giant.

This debate, however, is for naught since iPad is entirely a new breed of its own. Let’s not forget that Kindle did just that a few years back when it also created and launched the arena for the eBook readers. But this is not a question of who first thought about what. It’s about how these two trend setters have come face to face. Forget the fact that they are Like Manny Aquino and Muhammad Ali about to fight for a weight class that they both don’t qualify for. The public has deemed it and so they must have a face-off.
Price being the first thing that you would at look at, having to shell out almost $500 for a gadget that is not even a full powered computer might be a bit straining for your pockets. You might admit that iPad’s features look impressive for such a portable device. Whereas Kindle’s much humbler designs and features

To be fair, iPad does have multimedia capacity to handle videos, games and a lot of other formats. In this case what counts is that it has support for many data formats that any other eBook reader can access and much more. It has a colored 9.7 inch Multi Touch screen that makes reading an eBook an engaging activity. Turn a page and the only thing that’s missing is that crisp whisper that comes with it a sheet of paper flicking in the air. Whilst in Kindle, buttons do it all for you. Using a LED-lit screen has limited iPad to a maximum of 10 hours continuous reading (or other multimedia pursuits). Like any other apple device, the battery of iPad remains inaccessible to its users. Kindle’s batteries can be replaced by the users themselves. It can stay up to 7 days with its wireless turned on. The LED-lit screen also makes reading on iPad a lot more straining for the eyes than reading with a regular eBook reader. Kindle’s no back-lit screen will need a source of light, much like you will need in reading a real book.

The new iBooks store also opens up the ‘book stand’ to its users. Kindle also has Kindle store where readers could purchase eBooks online. However, don’t expect book sales for less than a dollar through these online stores since these stores are tied by their—ehem—by the publishing industry that wouldn’t sell anything below $10 any of their eBooks. Through your Kindle account you can send other formats like MS Word and RTF to your Kindle wirelessly. However this would cost about .10c per conversion. But converting your files vie the email and your PC is totally free. You can load this up through syncing Kindle with the USB cable.

Kindle has gone global and has partnered with Telecom companies to let readers connect to their store via Whispernet, Amazon’s technology that lets users connect wirelessly without the monthly fees. This makes Kindle and Kindle store much accessible to the bibliophiles that can’t live without their books. This offer is limited to a list of 100 countries worldwide. On the other hand, the almost $730 iPad 3G’s tie up with AT&T has not been received in a good light by the public. It seems AT&T has yet to prove it can provide quality service to the American public. Other countries however will have to wait and see if Apple has tied up with their local Telecom for the service to be available to them.

As much as you would like to drool over iPad and its many new features, for eBook reading you might still go for Kindle. Kindle does dwarf in comparison to iPad. But then again the almost $629 for iPad to go 3G might seem ridiculous for a user not that confident with AT&T. To pick iPad while it is still testing the waters might prove to be risky. A breakthrough, yes, but this portable media station has still to prove its worth over the coming months. Truth be told, there will be no lack of better technology and cheaper solutions in the coming months.

Kindle 2 in all its simplicity and humble aesthetics, has never boasted of anything other than being an eBook reader and it only sells for about $250. It has marvelously proven itself in its genre and needs not run after another contender that’s just grazing the ring boundaries. It has much better things to attend to: like having more formats to support.

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