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Why Kindle 2's Screen Took 12 Years and $150 Million

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the it-went-usps dept.

Displays 524

waderoush writes "Critics are eating up everything about Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book reader except its $359 price tag. But if you think that's expensive, take a look behind the Kindle at E Ink, the Cambridge, MA, company that has spent $150 million since 1997 developing the electronic paper display that is the Kindle's coolest feature. In the company's first interview since the Kindle 2 came out, E Ink CEO Russ Wilcox says it took far longer than expected to make the microcapsule-based e-paper film not only legible, but durable and manufacturable. Now that the Kindle 2 is finally getting readers to take e-books seriously, however, Wilcox says he sees a profitable future in which many book, magazine, and newspaper publishers will turn to e-paper, if only to save money on printing and delivery. (Silicon Alley Insider recently calculated that the New York Times could save more than $300 million a year by shutting down its presses and buying every subscriber a Kindle). 'What we've got here is a technology that could be saving the world $80 billion a year,' Wilcox says."

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purell (4, Funny)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27001953)

should make the case, so you can read them in the john and not spread germs

ALSO (-1, Flamebait)

shashark (836922) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002041)

Also, Fuck You.

Re:purell (5, Informative)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002057)

'What we've got here is a technology that could be saving the world $80 billion a year,' Wilcox says."

Anyone able to translate that into number of trees saved? Not only does it save trees but the chemistry involved in making paper is horrible. Even with new process'. http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1188&content_id=CTP_003400&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=b6dfb0f1-988d-4fd1-96e3-8856d0b81993 [acs.org]

Re:purell (5, Funny)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002209)

That assumes that some of us won't cut down trees just for the fun of it.

You're speaking with someone who lit a tire on Earth Day just because it pissed off the hippies in the neighborhood.

Re:purell (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002267)

I also tried to do the same thing last year. Except that I'm Canadian.

The police didn't find it funny that I tried to burn a Canadian Tire on Earth Day just to piss off the hippies in the neighborhood.

Re:purell (5, Funny)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002327)

You guys scare me....Canadians I mean.
90% of you live within 10 miles of our border.

Are you guys getting ready to invade?

Re:purell (5, Informative)

SupplyMission (1005737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002347)

Har har har... burning a Canadian Tire...

For people not from Canada: http://www.canadiantire.ca/ [canadiantire.ca]

Re:purell (5, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002567)

You're speaking with someone who lit a tire on Earth Day just because it pissed off the hippies in the neighborhood.

What do you use to get the tire started? I tried ethanol, but it burned out without lighting the tire. I eventually had to build a fire out of copies of Silent Spring, the IPCC report, and Earth in the Balance to get it hot enough.

-jcr

Re:purell (1)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002639)

Used motor oil

Re:purell (5, Insightful)

macxcool (1370409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002263)

Anyone able to translate that into number of trees saved?

Once again, these trees are not from clear-cut tropical forests made into farmland for subsistence farming. These trees are most likely in areas managed by forestry companies who plant at least as many trees as they cut.

There are regulations in western countries and the forestry companies would be putting themselves out of business if they cut down all the trees.

Re:purell (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002617)

So let me get this right: because there's currently a plan associated with gathering a resource, it is wrong to economize the use of that resource? And that companies deserve protection from becoming obsolete?

I think you have a new calling as lobbyist for buggy-whip makers and whale-bone skirts.

Re:purell (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002671)

So let me get this right: because there's currently a plan associated with gathering a resource, it is wrong to economize the use of that resource? And that companies deserve protection from becoming obsolete?

No, he's saying that because there's currently a plan associated with gathering a resource that's directly proportional to it's replacement that economizing use will not "save trees". If demand goes down fewer trees will be cut and hence fewer will be planted. The trees saved are those that would never have been planted. Trust me that those that find vast percentages of their land not profitable due to increased supply will still chop down the trees and perhaps do something more economically viable with the land.

Buggy-whips and Whale-bone are simply not in demand. Leather for the whips diverted to other things and whale bones are as well.

Re:purell (4, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002695)

Wait, you're making it sound like trees are a renewable resource that can be managed to provide a sustainable harvest! That can't be right! Once a tree is cut another one can never be regrown in the same spot! That's why we have to save trees... right?

Re:purell (2, Funny)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002447)

though the others have noted they will cut down trees for fun... I am thinking more importantly that paper mills get their trees typically from tree farms... which have a record for 1) using eucalyptus trees which damage soil but 2) treating damaged soil to reuse the land... We aren't saving any trees by stopping the production of paper... unless you are one of those concerned about dryads being killed and then, well, I for one am not that concerned about you anymore.

Re:purell (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002677)

Why? trees saved means nothing. Most paper come from managed forests that are replanted after harvest.

Most of the destructive tree cutting comes from land clearing for useless things like Golf courses, Subdivisions, Farms, and industry.

The logging industry is the most "GREEN" industry you can get, they understand conservation.

Re:purell (2, Insightful)

Endlisnis (208453) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002699)

You ignore the environmental cost of manufacturing the Kindle. I suspect that building 1 million of them (one for each NYT reader), would cause more environmental problems than printing all 365 million papers combined.

Re:purell (2, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002717)

Not only does it save trees but the chemistry involved in making paper is horrible.

I thought that producing electronic device were very costly and relatively dangerous: capacitor, batteries. To be fair, we will need an estimation on the cost of producing those device and their expected life time.

Can someone provide an estimation ? (I have no ideas of the real cost).

Re:purell (2, Informative)

DrinkDr.Pepper (620053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002369)

I can just imagine:

Purell this week announces that it is suing Amazon and E-Ink for disrupting their hand sanitizer <del>racket</del>business.

Re:purell (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002613)

No, its just wrong to use anything electronic while taking a dump.

Sold (2, Funny)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27001997)

"(Silicon Alley Insider recently calculated that the New York Times could save more than $300 million a year by shutting down its presses and buying every subscriber a Kindle)" You had me at Kindle.

Re:Sold (3, Funny)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002009)

they had me at shutting down the presses.

Re:Sold (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002063)

STOP THE PRESSES!

Re:Sold (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002557)

Except a decent number of papers have unions for the folks who run the presses. Would be an interesting battle.

heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002007)

Shutting down factories, great idea!

Re:heh... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002603)

Shutting down factories, great idea!

Next thing you know, they'll be saying we should give up our whale-oil lamps!

Shutting down any industrial operation with no prospect of returning to profitability is a great idea.

-jcr

Oh noes (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002019)

eInk will never replace newspaper!

How will we start beach bonfires? What will we line the bottom of the bird cage with? What will we do when we forget our umbrellas? What will we put under kitty's food bowl? What will we roll up and smack our friends with? How will we "copy" things with Silly Putty?

Re:Oh noes (4, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002067)

How will England sell fish and chips?

Re:Oh noes (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002489)

You haven't been able to sell fish and chips in newspaper for a long time, because of the ink being transferred into the food. Amazingly, this market has been filled by companies printing wax paper that looks like news print, which chippies buy to wrap the fish and chips.

Re:Oh noes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002113)

I start fires with kindle, sounds like that will stay the same.

Re:Oh noes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002231)

How will we start beach bonfires?

Like real Men! With real tinder!

Re:Oh noes (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002321)

How will we start beach bonfires?

Gasoline.

While good in one way (1, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002043)

the summary doesn't seem to indicate that while saving tons on printing press per year, you'll be costing businesses down the line money, lost jobs (think ink, delivery, machinery engineers), etc.... So while it may save one type of business, it may put others on the street.

Re:While good in one way (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002091)

the summary doesn't seem to indicate that while saving tons on cars per year, you'll be costing businesses down the line money, lost jobs (think feed, blacksmithing, carriage repairs), etc.... So while it may save one type of business, it may put others on the street.

Re:While good in one way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002163)

Asshat.

These aren't exactly the best economic conditions for trying to blow an established industry out of the water.

In better times, I'd agree with you, but not now.

Re:While good in one way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002183)

Ah, ignorance.

Re:While good in one way (5, Funny)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002509)

I agree! In the name of not harming anyone, we should never allow progress in these troubling times. Why, think of all the jobs we'll save! I just bought a set of torches, a horse, and a plow. Do your patriotic duty!

But I have an even better idea. Why don't we use our military to evacuate cities and then destroy them. Think of all the jobs that will be created in the evacuation, military, and construction industries!

Re:While good in one way (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002513)

Newspapers are losing circulation and bleeding money. If they go under, then those secondary jobs will be lost anyhow. If the newspapers manage to save enough to survive through adopting this technology, then at least you'll still have the newspaper jobs, not to mention the critical role they fulfil in maintaining an informed electorate.

Re:While good in one way (2, Funny)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002627)

not to mention the critical role they fulfil in maintaining an informed electorate.

A what? Since when did one of those every exist?

Re:While good in one way (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002565)

Arn't these economic conditions indicative that 'established industry' isn't feasible.

Re:While good in one way (4, Informative)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002105)

Your argument seems to me like an instance of the Broken Window Fallacy:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window [wikipedia.org] .

Re:While good in one way (4, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002219)

except that theory indicates the harm to the first business. In this case, the first business' business model is broken - (subscription based-news) due to technology. Lowering costs does not fix the business model. If you want to salvage a newspaper, they HAVE to rethink their model.

Re:While good in one way (5, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002395)

Well, that's because every discussion about economics on slashdot reminds somebody of the broken windows fallacy. In a few minutes somebody will claim Kindle is a hoax because saving energy on newspaper presses violates (their understanding of) the laws of thermodynamics. Then somebody else will say turning pages on Kindle is inherently unreliable because of the halting problem.

Re:While good in one way (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002449)

If it really does displace the printing press (a very big if) I'd say it's much closer to a negative externality [wikipedia.org] . e.g. Who pays for the effects on the workers displaced by this technology?

Re:While good in one way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002605)

you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen."

Where I'm from, you'd get your ass kicked if you irrepsected peeps like dat.

Re:While good in one way (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002625)

It's closer to rescuing buggy-whip makers from the automobile, or candle-makers from the sun.

Re:While good in one way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002129)

That's okay. Once their jobs are unneeded, the government can hire them to dig ditches with spoons and then fill the ditches in again.

The net result will be that society gains nothing from innovation or technological advancement.

Re:While good in one way (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002167)

the summary doesn't seem to indicate that while saving tons on printing press per year, you'll be costing businesses down the line money, lost jobs (think ink, delivery, machinery engineers), etc.... So while it may save one type of business, it may put others on the street.

Like pretty much any other invention in the history of humanity, it may cost someone his (before, profitable) business model, but ultimately it benefits everyone on a much larger scale. This goes for telephone, automobile, airplane, TV, Internet...

Re:While good in one way (5, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002227)

So while it may save one type of business, it may put others on the street.

Shall I send you a buggy whip, sir?

The math is simple. Say your subscription to the NY Times costs $1 per day, $365 per year. That's a Kindle. Even if you replace them every two years, and pay retail for them (which are both unlikely) you're still coming out on top if you give them away.

I'm sorry, but we shouldn't support a business model if it's grossly inefficient, not in this day and age.

Re:While good in one way (2, Informative)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002425)

I'm sorry, you are the one that's working under an incorrect assumption.

You ASSUME you'll be able to BUY a Kindle2.
The Kindle 1 was almost never in stock...and I looked often.
It was always on a pre-order basis. ;-)

Re:While good in one way (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002497)

It was always on a pre-order basis. ;-)

Does that mean that, if you order one, you'll eventually get one? Just not right away?

Either way, if there were enough buyers, I'm sure Amazon would ramp up production. When there are shortages like this, it's often because they don't want to ramp up production too much and then end up with a surplus they can't sell.

Re:While good in one way (1)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002615)

That's what I understood (you'd eventually get one), but who knows.
I didn't wnat to take a chance.

Re:While good in one way (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002651)

I would assume that (a) the New York Times would take this into consideration and that (b) if they bought one for each of their subscribers, some arrangements could be made to ensure they got enough.

Re:While good in one way (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002241)

That's really just another way of stating the broken window fallacy. One business saving money isn't bad for the economy because it just moves money around. The times could lower their subscription costs or invest the money elsewhere, either way the money will end up back in the economy somehow.

Forcing one business to pay money for something that it doesn't really need doesn't help the economy. Imagine if everyone got their NY Times through the Kindle, would you suggest returning to print to boost the economy?

Re:While good in one way (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002297)

By giving away sex for free, your mom is putting hard-working prostitutes out of business.

Re:While good in one way (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002303)

So? The car industry drove buggy manufacturers and their suppliers out of business, and we got along just fine without them. Adapt or die.

Re:While good in one way (1, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002359)

Actually, the summary doesn't do a very good job because the cost savings probably aren't really there. At $360 a pop you are talking probably over a year before you save anything as only a portion of each papers sale could be put towards the endeavor. On top of that you have to somehow come up with the money to buy all these things. Reality means a massive loan (Which who would loan the Times a dime on such a crazy idea in this day?). A loan means interest, there goes your cost savings.

Now if you assumed everyone already had a kindle and just had to change delivery that's another story. Not too likely though, especially for the Times which sells all over the world.

Re:While good in one way (1)

jlmale0 (1087135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002405)

You point this out as if it's automatically a bad thing. While there are upsides and downsides, on the whole, it's called: progress.

Cite the absence of ink and paper, and one can just as easily counter with the saved trees and prevented pollution. Yes, those in the recycling industry just lost some work, but balance this against a cleaner community.

Cite the printers and distributors as lost jobs and then balance against the infrastructure needed to repair/replace these things.

Before we get too far down the path of bemoaning lost careers, who here would rather be a mudlark [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:While good in one way (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002529)

Oh, the fickle tastes of consumers. . . and the frenzied manufacturers who chase them.

outsourcing cheaper: News at 11 (3, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002069)

"(Silicon Alley Insider recently calculated that the New York Times could save more than $300 million a year by shutting down its presses and buying every subscriber a Kindle)."

Third world labourers wage bills significantly lower than those in developed countries: your company will save money by closing down local presses and giving people output from developing countries.

More news on this channel shortly, don't look away!

Re:outsourcing cheaper: News at 11 (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002233)

Indian citizens should dress up as americans and wear makeup and body padding to look like us too. That way they could do short clips of themselves grinning inanely while they describe whatever horrific shooting of a loved one they have just witnessed because they are overcome by the novelty of being on TV. CNN can then dispense with covering actual events and truly outsource the "bollywood-news". All actual current events could then safely shut down in the USA and we can stop shooting each other.

Re:outsourcing cheaper: News at 11 (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002397)

Lots of small towns in the US already outsource their local news. The one FOX station in Huntsville, AL has its news produced somewhere in Iowa.

I sthink they have ome local people with cameras for clips, but the on air personalities are in Iowa.

Re:outsourcing cheaper: News at 11 (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002643)

Lots of small towns in the US already outsource their local news. The one FOX station in Huntsville, AL has its news produced somewhere in Iowa.

I sthink they have ome local people with cameras for clips, but the on air personalities are in Iowa.

[Citation Needed]

Re:outsourcing cheaper: News at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002295)

Aha and you wait a week for your fresh off the press newspaper to arrive from China.

You sir are a genious. Hooray for offshoring.

Re:outsourcing cheaper: News at 11 (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002473)

In your world, are cellphones a ploy to put bike messengers out of work?

Kindle 2 got your tongue? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002081)

Here are some objections Ive heard raised about the Kindle, and my opinions:

        * Its not open; that is, you cant program it. The Kindle is not a computer. Its an appliance. I cant reprogram my digital watch either. This just does not bother me.
        * eInk cant be backlit, so its hard to read in dim light or the dark. Thats true, although its also true of ordinary books. It would be nice if they could improve this somehow.
        * Its hard to share a copy of a book, other than by sharing the reader. Actually you can move a book to the SD card, and move that to another Kindle. Its not hard.
        * Pictures do not render well. Thats true. Whats more, at least one book we read was supposed to have a map that would have helped the reader understand the book, and the map was entirely missing.
        * You might lose your Kindle, and its not cheap to replace, although you do get all your data (books, your own annotations) back from Amazon. Thats true, just as it is of my notebook computer. This complaint really has to do with the whole concept of ebooks versus print books, not the Kindle specifically.

I am not a real Kindle expert; I dont read the blogs or anything. Theres a great deal more information available at Amazon and many web sites. One good one is Top 25 Kindle Tips.

I have not tried the Sony reader or any other book reader. There are rumors about a second-generation Kindle coming out, but I dont know anything about it.

Summary: It sucks ass. Big time.

Re:Kindle 2 got your tongue? (2, Funny)

Daravon (848487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002399)

Your (troll?) post confuses me to no end. You seem to rebuke criticism of the Kindle in your points while admitting there might some truth to the complaints. That sounds like you like it.

Jump ahead to your summary, and you say "it sucks ass".

Inbetween those areas, you reference an outdated rumor about a now confirmed/release second Kindle.

Summary: You work for Fox News.

Re:Kindle 2 got your tongue? (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002609)

I can borrow a lot of books from the library as well as read them at home on my computer for way less money. It's just too expensive and then, you still have to buy the books.

Ad revenue (1)

darkdaedra (1061330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002087)

Silicon Valley Insider notes that the so called savings would kill ad revenue. Lets not forget where most publications make most of their revenue. The real trick here is to make a profitable ad delivery system on portable devices in order to make subsidized delivery of the devices a real possibility.

Re:Ad revenue (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002277)

Your point about ad revenue is well made, even if you predicted the wrong result.

Ads will infest the Kindle. But since its off-line, they will be bigger, more intrusive, and fully embedded. Your 10 paragraph news story will come with 10 megabytes of ads.

The revenue stream lives on. Fear not.

Re:Ad revenue (1)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002349)

Maybe someone could expand upon this for me, but if the NY Times did shut down presses and buy everyone a Kindle, couldn't they display ads as pictures to the kindle users? Thus (assuming as well that all their subscribers are given Kindles) all the money advertisers spend is still going to ads viewed by the same people... doesn't it equal out?

I mean the subscribers are STILL subscribers. To keep getting the paper electronically delivered they have to pay still right?

Costs or Price? (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002093)

Their costs may drop but are we going to see a reduction in price? If the Music industry is any indication we'll pay more for the 'ability' to use the Kindle.

Vinyl records were large, required manufacturing and shipping. MP3s only require bandwidth and a server. (Which isn't free, but much cheaper, and scales up much better). With the whole TTS issue I'm guessing that the Printing industry is going to copy the Music industry (and Video industry)...

As a Heads Up (5, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002109)

For anyone interested, Jeff Bezos [wikipedia.org] is scheduled to appear tonight on Charlie Rose [charlierose.com] on your local PBS [wikipedia.org] station.

No doubt, he'll spend most of his time talking about Kindle.

Daily Show appearance (5, Insightful)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002365)

Jeff Bezos also appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart a couple days ago. Jon gave him a hard time about how you have to pay $359 just for the device and another $10 per book (some of which are DRM'ed). Mr. Bezos didn't have a good response.

What I think he should have pointed out is that The Daily Show interviews many authors and it would really be nice to hear about a new book, download it, and start reading it in minutes rather than wait a few days for it to arrive in the mail.

how long before we spammed to death on Kindle? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002121)

The "free" online version of the NY Times contains a minimum of three animated advertisments per article and sometimes more. It takes a few seconds to download an article. Its OK when I read 20 or 30 articles on the average day. But its more like 100-150 on Sunday. I can read the newsprint version in half the time then and frequently buy it then.
Kindle currently uses a paid-subscription model instead of ads. And quite a pricey one for the Times at $14 a month. I'd go broke if I got everything I read through Kindle (they only have 30 newspapers and magazine now).

Re:how long before we spammed to death on Kindle? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002353)

> Kindle currently uses a paid-subscription model instead of ads.

Oh Yeah, that will last. Riiiiight!

I guess this explains... (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002123)

why it costs so much. Amazon and E Ink need to recoup their R&D costs. At $150 million for those costs, it might be a while before anyone considers lowering the price.

Re:I guess this explains... (2, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002329)

The Motorola F3 [motorola.com] has a (fairly rudimentary) E-Ink display, and only costs about $25 for an unlocked handset.

If they can get these things in a lot of devices, the $150mil R&D should be easily recoverable. Remember that the Kindle also includes a wireless modem, storage, and a decent amount of processing power.

Saving or just another Lock In (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002127)

> What we've got here is a technology that could be saving the world $80 billion a year,' Wilcox says."

Really?
What happened to the 80 billion worth of printers, loggers, paper mills, transport, and fish-wrappers? Did they all go on Welfare so we can ship their jobs overseas to the Kindle manufacturing countries?

News print is a renewable resource. Is the Plastic in Kindle?

You can look around the ads (or read them as you see fit) in newsprint.

Will you be able to do that on the Kindle when corporate sponsors for media grab control of the device and make you stare at an advertisement for 6 seconds prior to viewing the content of a story?

Kindle might be great for books, but remember, its principal reason for being is to enforce DRM, to keep the book you bought on ONE device, to prevent sharing, or even transfer.

Netbooks is where mass media is going. And once you have a netbook, who needs a Kindle.

Re:Saving or just another Lock In (2, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002415)

As a Sony Reader owner, I appreciate eInk reading significantly more than reading large amounts of text on a back-lit screen. It just feels easier on the eyes.

Re:Saving or just another Lock In (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002467)

Very good points - also, how do you "loan" a kindle book to a buddy that stopped by? You can't!

Paper books are not binding the reader into some technical box owned by a corporation; they are not trademarked, they can be loaned, gifted, signed by the author, marked on, underlined, etc.

Re:Saving or just another Lock In (4, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002479)

Icebike,

You make a good point about DRM and closed systems.

However, your first point about loggers and paper mills is lost on me. Is is my moral duty to buy paper books so a logger can keep his current job? Was Henry Ford a bad person because he destroyed the demand for blacksmiths in the United States?

Re:Saving or just another Lock In (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002553)

Netbooks is where mass media is going. And once you have a netbook, who needs a Kindle.

Kindles do have some features that your netbook probably doesn't. For one, it's very light, thin, and doesn't require you to open it like a clamshell device. Second, it has electronic ink, which lowers power consumption and supposedly is much easier on the eyes. Also, I've read that you get free wireless internet (via cell phone networks) to download books and such wherever you are.

Now I don't know whether Kindles will ultimately do very well, but they aren't the same sort of device as a netbook.

Re:Saving or just another Lock In (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002621)

What happened to the 80 billion worth of printers, loggers, paper mills, transport, and fish-wrappers? Did they all go on Welfare so we can ship their jobs overseas to the Kindle manufacturing countries?

This is just the broken window fallacy, spending money on waste is still waste even if it supports other industries. If the NY Times distributed their paper 100% on the kindle today would you suggest that they move to print to save the economy?

Netbooks is where mass media is going. And once you have a netbook, who needs a Kindle.quote>

Personally, I would much, much rather have a device like a kindle for media. The screen is much easier on the eyes, free connectivity through the cell networks, better battery life, smaller, etc etc. Of course, I'm not everyone, so that's just my 2 cents.

DRM for books :( (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002141)

They've already tried to put DRM on these things, what makes you think they'll stop? This is just another attempt at turning book ownership into the same thing music ownership has become :(

Re:DRM for books :( (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002401)

They've already tried to put DRM on these things, what makes you think they'll stop? This is just another attempt at turning book ownership into the same thing music ownership has become :(

While I don't disagree with the point you're trying to make, using "music ownership" as an analog weakens your argument. The music labels have all pretty much given up on DRM, so there's really nothing blocking you from legitimately sharing your music with friends and family.

hrmmm (5, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002203)

I've not yet had a chance to check one of these out. As I understand it, the look and feel of reading the eink display is just like reading bright white paper fresh from the laser printer. I've never had problems reading text on computer screens for long stretches but many people say it causes eye strain for them.

I'm curious as to how this technology scales. It boggles the mind to think it took that much time and money to develop but now that they have it, how cheap can they make it? Could they get the readers down to a more reasonable cost? And what about the books? I have no problem paying a buck or two for a rental like getting a movie out of a DVD kiosk -- I only have the dvd for a limited time, would have to pay again if I wanted it later, and have nothing to physically show for it. I feel more possessive when talking about books, especially books with DRM. DRM, unless you hack it, means your purchase is as impermanent as a rental and renting a book for $9.99 is a pretty damn expensive proposition.

This also brings us back to the issue of resale. There are so many books available on Amazon for what essentially boils down to shipping and handling. I can find even recent books for 75% off the cover price. If physical books are no longer printed or printed in far smaller runs, this means that the secondary market collapses. I can't borrow a book from a friend after they read it. I can't sell the book to a bookstore when I'm done. If my friend wants a copy, he's paying $9.99 the same as I did.

I don't know how this is all going to shake down but it'll certainly be an interesting fight.

Re:hrmmm (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002577)

If physical books are no longer printed or printed in far smaller runs, this means that the secondary market collapses.

As a fellow book cheapskate I agree that is a little frightening. Hopefully the efficiency of electronic delivery, combined with the market forces of supply and demand, will force e-publishers to lower their prices after a book is a few months old. (Though I realize this has been a long-running issue with iTunes with many objecting to graduated pricing.)

If nothing else, look at it this way, somebody will build a lego Mindstorms robot to turn the pages on Kindle so you can scan it in and upload it to bittorrent without even cutting the spine off, take that DRM :) PS if you want me to implement this cool hack please gift me a new Kindle 2, I want one.

Tech Support anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002217)

So when one of your Subscribers drops their Kindle, replacing it and 4 hours of tech support is still cheaper than paper?

Ya ok, look into the rest of the tech industry and see what quality tech support is costing us right now please.

Future in e-bboks. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002223)

There is a fear in the publishing industry that authors could cut them out and sell directly to the readers. E-books should not be price above the cost of a paperback. I would pay $5.00 for a fiction e-book and 1 or 2 dollars for a short story.

Profit is almost $5.00 per reader for the author as opposed to $0.80 on a $7.99 paperback.

Textbooks and technical books could still charge about $10 or $20 a book

1.) Write a book
2.) Convert it to PDF
3.) ???
4.) Profit

advertising (1)

snsh (968808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002225)

I read news at NYTimes.com - in color - from a laptop for free, and with Adblockplus I don't have to wade through full-page ads for The Hottest Movie of the Year. So how is e-Ink supposed to save the NY Times money again?

Re:advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27002391)

Well, your laptop is kind of cool for reading newspapers, but only for an hour or so at a time unless you're at a desk where you can plug it in (at which point it's pointless to make the distinction of it being a "laptop"). And if you want to do it outside you've got to hunt around for a place with enough shade so you can actually see the screen. eInk allows for thousands of page refreshes on a single charge and doesn't suffer from backlight-driven dispaly problems. This alone makes it more attractive to people who do not already prefer to do their reading in front of a computer. When you can comfortably sprawl in an easy chair with your "laptop" maybe you'll have an edge. Good luck with the burns on your sack.

content is still too pricey (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002301)

The winner of the "ebook" competition is going to have to emulate Apples iTune "dollar-store" pricing. Thats when people decide the convenience trumps free. I get most of my reading material free online or libraries now. I can see where Kindle is more convenient, but not willing to pay the high content prices yet.

HAHAHA!!! (0, Troll)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002323)

Now that the Kindle 2 is finally getting readers to take e-books seriously

*snort* I'm sorry, who's taking the kindle 2 and ebooks seriously? *snicker*

Don't want one (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002345)

Sorry, but as cool as I think the concept of e-Ink really is, I can't get past the fact that native Kindle books are tied to your Amazon account. The Kindle represents an attack on the first sale doctrine, and I refuse to support it to the tune of $400 plus the price of crippled books.

Smoking crack. (1)

d-r0ck (1365765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002487)

Wake me up when it costs the same as a newspaper or print book. Look at how people read newspapers. They have coffee, read the paper, and then drop it for the next guy.

Stupid=Kindle, Stupider=2 (2, Insightful)

hackus (159037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002503)

We already have something far better than a Kindle.

It is called a Netbook with a web browser.

Not only that, my browser is totally open and I do not have to buy a $354 unit again when I want to read my books, or print them out. My books do not magically evaporate because I did not pay a license fee to read them on some crappy black and white device.

Kindle. It bites.

Kindle 2! It bites more!

Stupid idea.

Dumb.

Oh, and the web has ALREADY saved far more trees than you can possibly imagine. Way before the Kindle got here, newspapers were starting to go out of business, computer manufacturers were delivering documentation on CD in PDF form.

Way too much hype around this stupid device.

-Hack

Re:Stupid=Kindle, Stupider=2 (2, Informative)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002709)

Actually, I don't think you went far enough.

Kindle2 == Steak knife (good at one thing)

Netbook == Swiss Army Knife (pretty good at a BUNCH of things)

Kindle2 price is equivilent to a Netbook

For me, the netbook makes more sense for the money.
If the Kindle was $50, then fine.
But it's too much for a single purpose item of that sort.

Apples to Oranges (1)

highfidelitychris (1448915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002579)

"(Silicon Alley Insider recently calculated that the New York Times could save more than $300 million a year by shutting down its presses and buying every subscriber a Kindle)." Except the Kindle 2 doesn't do color. Also, they assume there would be no costs for distributing newspaper electronically. I'm not saying it wouldn't be cheaper, but their analysis is way off.

E-ink must need more money (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002581)

They've been making these kind of claims for a decade now, and have been burning through investment money like they were back in the dot-com days.

The technology is still supremely inferior to, and far more expensive than LCD panels.

After a hype piece like this, expect them to go back to the till.

I'm glad... (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27002585)

As someone who has been using Plucker on my Palms for years now this thing has 'lockin' written all over it.

As an end user gadget it looks ok. I'd have to handle one to get a feel for how much better it is over a normal PDA. However I'd be willing to bet it's not that much better. Certainly not worth being locked in, likely having your habits tracked, and whatever other type of nonsense that such a propitiatory device would have.

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