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I Want a Kindle Killer

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the newton-rises-from-the-grave dept.

Handhelds 321

lpress (707742) writes "Amazon's Kindle is a good e-reader and they've sold around 40 million units, but it is far from perfect. It could be significantly improved with speech recognition for commands and text entry, a well-designed database for marginal notes and annotations, and integration with laptop and desktop computers. Google, Apple and Microsoft all have device design and manufacturing experience as well as stores that sell books and other written material. A Kindle-killing e-reader would be low-hanging fruit for Apple, Google or Microsoft — think of the competition if they each built one!" Handwriting as an input method would be nice too; a friend in college had one of the experimental Windows XP tablet PCs, and it was great for note taking and document annotation.

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The Nook is/was excellent (5, Insightful)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 7 months ago | (#47108645)

great battery life, runs Android and is easy to root so you can do other stuff with it... I'd have added a keyboard on the back, for typing with fingers while holding it. Why not just make more of that?

Re:The Nook is/was excellent (3, Funny)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 7 months ago | (#47108915)

you can type backwards on a keyboard that faces away from you? hardcore, man.

Re:The Nook is/was excellent (5, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 7 months ago | (#47108917)

Hell, I don't think that there's anything wrong with the Kindle. When I'm looking to relax at the end of the night, I don't want a multitasker. My Kindle does one thing and one thing only, it lets me read my novels and keeps them synced with my Windows 8 (shudder) tablet at work for when I get bored at lunch. If I want to make annotations, read comics or tech books, I reach for my Nexus 7. If I had to do it all over again, I'd do it with a Nook and use MoonReader+ to keep everything synced. If Kindle weren't first to market with the Paperwhite, I'm sure I'd be a happy Nook owner now.

Re:The Nook is/was excellent (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 months ago | (#47109137)

I have a kindle but almost never use it. I tend to read on my nexus7 for books and Nexus 10 for magazines and comics.

Kindle had some better features pre-touch. (3, Interesting)

spd_rcr (537511) | about 7 months ago | (#47109301)

The "paperwhite" backlighting on the latest Kindles is killer. I checked out the latest Nooks and they just aren't up to par as far as an even backlight is concerned.

The only multi-tasking ability I wish they would add (back) to the Kindle is the MP3 player/audio. I hate having to use a second device to listen to music while I'm reading and I miss the option of having an audio-book play while I'm cooking or such.

Re:The Nook is/was excellent (2)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 7 months ago | (#47109143)

I don't care for your keyboard idea, but yes about the rooted Nook. I'm not sure why no one came out with a full fledged android device with an eink screen. If you are mostly reading emails, reading internet articles, reading twitter, etc, it works great and is very functional.

Re:The Nook is/was excellent (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 7 months ago | (#47109337)

I recently popped Cyanogenmod 11 [xda-developers.com] (KitKat ROM) [cyanogenmod.org] on my Nook Color and use it as a remote control for my Chromecast. It's amazing the utility in a device that isn't locked down with hardware that isn't black boxed. I must say when it was originally announced that KitKat was optimized to make slower systems perform better I was skeptical but it is noticeably faster and consumes less battery than any version I have ever used.

Get a surface (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108647)

Really, it's that easy.

Re:Get a surface (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 months ago | (#47108787)

Because Kindles are cheap and Surface is not.

Re:Get a surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109153)

Features
Speed
Price

Choose two.

Windows XP Tablets (2)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | about 7 months ago | (#47108655)

"had one of the experimental Windows XP tablet PCs" Not experimental. They were all pen input devices and worked very well. Just ask Fujitsu and a bunch of others.

Re:Windows XP Tablets (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#47108793)

Carried one for several years when I was a network tech at a local college; aside from the decidedly chincy (sp?) rotating hinge for the screen, I absolutely loved using that thing.

Pretty sure it was an IBM Thinkpad variant.

Re:Windows XP Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109211)

If they worked "so well" then how do you explain the abysmal sales?

Re:Windows XP Tablets (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | about 7 months ago | (#47109399)

Marketing department at Apple, they didn't work there.

nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108687)

I have no complains with my nook.

Re:nook (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 7 months ago | (#47108715)

Yep. The Nook already killed the Kindle, but, unfortunately, B&N is in the shitter so it couldn't keep pace after the Nook Color and base Nook models blew Kindles out of the water

Re:nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108817)

Yep. The Nook already killed the Kindle, but, unfortunately, B&N is in the shitter so it couldn't keep pace after the Nook Color and base Nook models blew Kindles out of the water

And the nice DoJ thing against Apple pretty much is the death knell on non-Amazon bookstores. Sony Reader store is closed (sold off to Kobo, but having owned books on both, are not equivalent by far - half my books didn't travel). Nook is in deep trouble and circling the drain. The iBookstore is a joke. Kobo only survives because outside of the US, it's pretty much the only game in town. Other than the stubbornness of Apple, really, the only viable bookstore left is ... Amazon's. (And with the DoJ sentence, the iBookstore will become a wasteland - most reasonable business people would just shut it down outright).

The only reason the kindle can be sucky is because Amazon's got a grip on the content now. Doesn't matter that the competition can be faster, better, flashier, etc., it's all about the content, and Amazon's locking it up faster with authors and dumping it to lock in more customers.

Re:nook (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#47109021)

The only reason the kindle can be sucky is because Amazon's got a grip on the content now. Doesn't matter that the competition can be faster, better, flashier, etc., it's all about the content, and Amazon's locking it up faster with authors and dumping it to lock in more customers.

Nonsense! There's plenty of free content to be had. And there's plenty of "grey" content to be had if you lean that way.

Re:nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109171)

Nooks, unlike Kindles, support epubs.

That's a show stopper right there for the Kindle.

Re:nook (1)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#47109253)

And then there are the converters, which turn EPUBs into MOBIs.

Re: nook (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109341)

Calibre will fix that for you. You can convert most any type of ebook (though drm is a limiting factor) and send it to the device of your choice.

Amazon sells Kindle killers (4, Funny)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#47108717)

They're called "hammers."

not a hardware problem (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 7 months ago | (#47108719)

it's a **copyright problem**

that's it...we have plenty of digitalia of all shapes, sizes, and makes to display the text

most use programs called "apps"

all are subject to backwards-minded legal copyright holders who misuse artificial scarcity

Re:not a hardware problem (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#47109379)

I'm sorry, but did you even read past the word "Kindle"? How is a lack of voice input and good note-taking software a "copyright issue"? Where is the "artificial scarcity" imposed by "copyright holders" here? You think a book author or publisher can control what other applications are on your notebook or tablet device?

So, the answer to the "Kindle Killer" question is -- use a real tablet, not a book reader. They all have book reader apps and interface with desktops just fine. I don't use voice input because I don't choose to announce to everyone within earshot what I am doing. I think I've seen handwriting input for them, but I'm not big on trying to do small precise actions on a touch screen.

Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108721)

While Apple, Google, and Microsoft have the ability to do something like this.. Why? The devices that they have already do most of these things and they don't have to deal with all of the licensing that goes with having a large library of books.

Pads and Palms (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 7 months ago | (#47109395)

lpress wants a Kindle, but with "speech recognition for commands and text entry, a well-designed database for marginal notes and annotations, and integration with laptop and desktop computers."

That's not a Kindle, which is a single-purpose machine for reading; that is a general purpose machine. Apple already makes the machine desired: it's the iPad.

Handwriting as an input method would be nice too

Ah, now you're re-inventing the late lamented "Newton", not to mention the Palms of yesteryear (where the "handwriting" had to be in their unique graffiti alphabet)

Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (-1)

timeOday (582209) | about 7 months ago | (#47108727)

Tablets aren't designed to optimize reading, they're designed to funnel your activities into clicking ads and buying apps and goods. That's why nobody is trying to improve tablets optimized for reading books.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 months ago | (#47108823)

That's odd. Since in the last year I've read several novels, not to mention technical papers, essays and a few non-fiction books... all on my Nexus 7. Don't install much in the way of apps, and see no more ads on it than I do on my notebook or desktop.

Oh, I get it. You had this incredible attack against tablets, and you're not actually interested how they may be used on the ground. Do carry on with your biased and self-serving arguments.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 7 months ago | (#47109119)

Don't install much in the way of apps, and see no more ads on it than I do on my notebook or desktop.

How about compared to a book?

Or compared to an e-Reader after you pay the extra $20 for them to quit bothering you with ads?

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109225)

Compared to a book there are less ads on my Nexus 7. The last few pages of current paperbacks are always ads. Often, you think you have about 10 minutes of reading left and it is a "sample" from some other upcoming book - perhaps a chapter or so. Following this are ads for other books from the publisher. On my Nexus 7? If I compare to a book, I don't see ads. Now, if you say "but if you visit a web page you see ads!". Sure, but books can't go to a web page. When I am just reading a book on the N7 I don't see any ads.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#47109239)

What tablet shows you ads when reading an ebook? I've used the Kindle and Nook apps on multiple tablets and yet have never seen these mythical ads you mention.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (2)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#47109305)

I stopped reading on a full fledged tablet. It's not well readable in the sun, it requires charging all the time, and if the tablet breaks, it's expensive to replace.

Hisense Sero 7 Pro 7" Tablet (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 7 months ago | (#47109361)

I agree, the Kindle fire is an artificially crippled Android tablet anyway, so why not go with a better tablet? If you want just an e-ink based reader to do nothing else but read then some of the old Kindles might be OK. But if your looking for a Kindle Fire replacement then you don't have to look far to find better. I might have suggested the Nexus, but the customer unfriendly lack of a 5 cent memory card slot was a deal breaker for me. I would currently suggest the Hisense Sero 7 Pro 7" Tablet, available currently from Wak-Mart for $115. It has the resolution to be a great reader, a long life battery, And many tablet features that the Amazon offering lacks, including GPS, camera, NFC, and microphone. The only downside that I see is that it is only on Android 2.4, not the latest and greatest. But I think that still beats the Kindle.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109377)

I much prefer reading from an e-ink display and the vastly superior battery life to that of a tablet.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (0)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 7 months ago | (#47108935)

+5 Insightful!!

Anyone using tablets for an extended period of time (several months or a few years) and is not a senior citizen who uses it as his/her main Facebook/e-mail/lolcatz dumb terminal can confirm that the magic has worn off and his/her tablet mostly sits in a drawer or coffee table waiting to be used once in a blue moon, whether it's an iPad or Android device.

Once you're done playing the most popular free(mium) games and/or its clones, watched a few movies, and can't find a specific use case for it, tablets become semi-useful gadgets that you only pick up when you remember you actually own a tablet.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 7 months ago | (#47109135)

What a load of bollocks, seriously.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 7 months ago | (#47109233)

Yep. I don't think the wife ever logs into the PC anymore, unless a site is so badly engineered she can't use it on the Nexus 7.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 7 months ago | (#47109313)

I think you're projecting your own behaviour out onto the rest of us. Everyone I know who bought tablets uses them all the time. They're very useful devices. I don't need to carry one because I have a 1080p Galaxy Note 3, but I have three tablets in daily use at home.

Re:Low hanging fruit but where's the juice? (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | about 7 months ago | (#47109275)

I am trying to improve tablets for reading books. I recently wrote Android drivers for a novel pressure sensor mounted under the LCD on a tablet so that you can switch pages by pressing firmly on the screen allowing you to change pages without changing your grip. People are working on this.

Feature Creep V2R1 (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108735)

How many features do you want to add to this before you kill it completely?

Re:Feature Creep V2R1 (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 7 months ago | (#47109241)

For me, it's about expanding it as a reader. If the Kindle had a gmail app and an rss reader I'd pick one up tomorrow.

and cheap! (2)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 7 months ago | (#47108739)

what he wants is everything and cheap, will not happen if it is not supported as kindle is by amazon that can sell it cheap because it lacks all those above

Re:and cheap! (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 7 months ago | (#47109249)

There are some cheap things that could be added but were, IMHO, cynically left off for marketing reasons. For example, an SDCard port.

Missing the point (5, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | about 7 months ago | (#47108747)

I believe that the Kindle is an excellent device primarily because it does one thing - its an eReader. I don't normally write all over my paper books and have no desire to do so on the Kindle either. Far from a luddite, I've got a ton of technology devices, but sometimes simple task-focussed pieces are better. My paperwhite is easy on the eyes, the battery lasts for a long time, its very lightweight, and I never have to troubleshoot it or wonder why its various components aren't playing well with each other.

Not every device needs to expand its footprint until all are equal. Want to read on a Fire or an iPad? Feel free. Don't try to turn the regular Kindle into a poor version of one of those.

Re:Missing the point (0)

Drethon (1445051) | about 7 months ago | (#47108899)

I loved my kindle but stopped using it because it doesn't run in low light and I can read with my phone so don't feel like carrying around an extra device.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Tukz (664339) | about 7 months ago | (#47109055)

Have you tried a Kindle Paperwhite?
Works great in both low and high light.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#47109103)

I use the Kindle app on my Android phone. I would never buy a standalone reader because I read when it's convenient. My phone is almost always with me and fits in my pocket.

Missing the point (1)

__rze__ (2550872) | about 7 months ago | (#47108903)

Totally agree with parent. The kindle is a book replacement and it does what a book does, deliver a good story. It is not for interactive "work", it's just for pure enjoyment and relaxation. You want to annotate, modify, talk with your device take on iPad etc and use Siri etc to do it. Yay for non-story story XD

Re:Missing the point (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#47109101)

What I got from this.
I want a supercomputer, that is small and lightweight, full of every sort of sensors and inputs, has excellent battery life, and needs to be priced very cheaply.

In short, I don't realize I live in a world where you can get everything for nothing, and you need to make tradeoffs in life.

Re:Missing the point (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 7 months ago | (#47109293)

I believe that the Kindle is an excellent device primarily because it does one thing - its an eReader.

If it supported ePub natively, the Kindle would be a real eReader.

In reality, it's a device for consuming Amazon content.

Re:Missing the point (3, Informative)

glwtta (532858) | about 7 months ago | (#47109329)

Odd, I read a lot of non-Amazon content on my Kindle. Must be using it wrong...

Bling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108761)

Annotations? Sure, that would be nice. Speech and writing recognition? Many a cool project have been killed because these were added to the spec and to the selling point. People would like the Enterprise computer, yes, but that doesn't make it viable or possible with current technology.

Hard market (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 7 months ago | (#47108763)

Kindle is less about the device. You buy a book store. Amazon is a bookstore, Apple, Google and Microsoft are not. I don't know but I think the ebook market is pretty hard to enter, especially if you can't leverage your paper book market domination to force publishers to also publish an ebook.
The vendors should be forced by regulators to separate the bookstores from the devices and then the free market could find the best ebook reader.

It's a reader, not a writer (5, Insightful)

carnivore302 (708545) | about 7 months ago | (#47108765)

Why would I want speech recognition from a book? Or handwriting as input method?

The only thing I would want them to improve on the kindle is the speech output.

Re:It's a reader, not a writer (1)

afidel (530433) | about 7 months ago | (#47109077)

I think that's for the note takers, either for book clubs or for electronic textbooks.

Re:It's a reader, not a writer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109393)

I'm a musician and would looooooove an e-ink device with a large screen and good handwriting annotations so that I can add custom markings to sheet music PDFs.

The Kindle is fine because... (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 7 months ago | (#47108767)

...it does the job it is supposed to do almost perfectly. It is a device for reading books. If people want all the other stuff, they buy a tablet. Extra features are unlikely to kill a Kindle. The only thing that is likely to do so is when a tablet offers the same features (i.e. long battery life, display you can read in bright sunlight).

...paper replacement (5, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | about 7 months ago | (#47108783)

All I want is a paper replacement.

There are large e-ink displays, but they all lack high resolution input - as high as a 0.5mm pencil can get you.

15 years after I graduated, I still carry engineering paper, and I get it from the same bookstore. All that's changed is I take pictures of my notes instead of scan them now.

Come on Apple - want to innovate? Figure that one out. I triple dog dare you.

Re:...paper replacement (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 months ago | (#47109185)

All I want is a paper replacement.

There are large e-ink displays, but they all lack high resolution input - as high as a 0.5mm pencil can get you.

15 years after I graduated, I still carry engineering paper, and I get it from the same bookstore. All that's changed is I take pictures of my notes instead of scan them now.

Come on Apple - want to innovate? Figure that one out. I triple dog dare you.

Problem is, Apple was just given the smackdown by the DoJ.

No doubt they're not going to be pursuing anything that involves books or publishing for a time. (I can't imagine their iBookstore having sold many books - with all those DoJ restrictions, it might just be easier to close it, cancel everyone's licenses and just refund the money paid and save all the headaches. Face it - Amazon's already "won" - let them have their monopoly).

So yeah, Apple could make such a tablet or device, but the RoI wouldn't be that great. Plus, they'd be competing against the likes of Wacom and such

Simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108803)

Simplicity is what makes the kindle a great e-reader. It is lightweight easy to read outside and has an easy enough interface that the older folks can use it with ease. Adding too much crap onto it would take away from the elegant and simple device it is. I own an iPad and a B&W kindle. The iPad is for movies and games the kindle is for reading.

Dead wrong (5, Insightful)

skaag (206358) | about 7 months ago | (#47108807)

While your suggestions speak to my inner geek, I think if Amazon does add those features they will kill the kindle.

That product sold 40 million because it does NOT have those features. It is already far more convenient than using a paperback, looks bright enough to read even in low light conditions, and can hold tons of books. For those 40 million people who bought a Kindle, that's more than enough. Add more features and you'll make the product cumbersome, suddenly it needs more processing power, suddenly battery life sucks...

No, I say the Kindle should remain as it is, and this simplicity is its strength.

No thank you to all that (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 7 months ago | (#47108811)

I have a kindle. I don't want it to be anything other than a book replacement. I don't want to input text, annotations (in fact I think ebooks are horrible for anything you would annotate, like a textbook- you need to be able to flip through those), or anything else. I care only about ease of reading the text and battery life (where it excels). If I wanted a tablet, I'd get a tablet.

About the only thing I'd want changed is faster page loading times and better tools for organizing books (list of authors and series, for example) that I've bought.

Re:No thank you to all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108877)

I have a kindle. I don't want it to be anything other than a book replacement.

Don't you mean vendor-neutral book repacement? Why should eBooks be tied to a retailer's reader?

Re:No thank you to all that (1)

KraxxxZ01 (2445360) | about 7 months ago | (#47109019)

Implying that you can't put any book you like on kindle and read it.

Re:No thank you to all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109075)

Check out Calibre one of these days. You can read books from any bookstore on any ebook reader with a few unofficial plugins. Of course, format conversion is probably punishable by 10 million years in prison in some jurisdictions.

Re:No thank you to all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109269)

Only when you convert books with DRM. A lot of ebooks are being provided DRM free thanks to certain authors and publishers catching on that DRM on books is a fucking terrible idea.

Re:No thank you to all that (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 7 months ago | (#47109385)

Check out Calibre one of these days.

Calibre's conversion to .mobi or .azw3 leaves a lot to be desired. It basically re-formats the entire book so it's completely generic...every book looks the same. Part of this is due to the horrid older .mobi format that Amazon used (among other things, no support for discrete font sizes, only old-style HTML font sizing), but part of it is Calibre.

It's also a pain if you have multiple Kindles of different ages, as you would need to convert multiple times unless you want to live with only that really bad old .mobi format. ePub is a much richer, open format, and the Kindle needs to support it directly.

Re:No thank you to all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109281)

Yes, if there are 20 ebook retailers and 3 competing ebook formats (some with DRM), does the Kindle support purchasing such books from non-amazon sites?

Re:No thank you to all that (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#47109335)

You mean like how the iDevices are tied to the iTunes Music Store and a very limited, non-expandable audio and video format?

I Fail to See ... (3, Informative)

ilparatzo (3627897) | about 7 months ago | (#47108821)

I fail to see how the "features" discussed would make for a Kindle Killer. They sound like features that would cater to a niche of the population but little more than that. A Kindle Killer would need to find some sort of feature that when added to a book, makes it amazingly better. Not to mention, you've got to be able to do it for a price that makes it worthwhile.

If note taking in books was such a massively popular thing, we'd see more books with large margins for doing just that. Reading is a largely relaxing activity ... talking to your book to get it to do anything isn't likely to improve that.

What is being described here is more of a "goto E-reader" for research and/or students. Those aren't features I need when reading the latest novel. The notes or highlights I do take are minimal enough that I don't need anything too special, and certainly nothing that makes this the central aspect of my E-reader. Amazon did a pretty good job of understanding that people (the majority of readers at least) didn't want or need a ton of bells and whistles out of an e-reader. They needed something as similar to a book as possible. The book has been around for centuries and done a pretty good job, after all.

Bring back text-to-speech dammit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108843)

I want bloody text-to-speech for all books. There is no good pro-consumer reason that text-to-speech capability was crippled in the Kindle, deleted from the Nook and utterly castrated in iBooks. I don't want a grossly overpriced Audible book with some hammy actor disrupting my immersion. I want a cheap, soothing, bland computer voice that allows mental immersion into the story.

Re:Bring back text-to-speech dammit! (1)

bjwest (14070) | about 7 months ago | (#47109199)

I see no use for text to speech or audio books for the sighted. If you want to read a book, read a book. If you're advocating "reading" while doing something else, then forget it. Reading is an immersive process, and should not be done in tandem with anything else.

How about some e-Ink ones? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#47108845)

What the OP suggests would probably be doable with existing hardware. This is more of an iOS/Android update than designing a new device from scratch.

IMHO, everyone wants something different in an e-Reader. For example, some want a tablet with a Nook app. Others want an e-Ink device that is easy on the eyes that can be held in one hand like a paperback and has a simple, efficient, no-frills UI.

I'd like a rev of e-Ink devices myself. We have plenty of media-playing items, and if one wants to run apps and games, might as buy a full fledged tablet.

How is this content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108913)

Is this what passes for news for nerds these days? I realize that line is brought out way to much, but holy crap, a guy saying he wants something on his blog is news? really?

Heres my thoughts on his 'kindle killer'.

you keep saying low hanging fruit. You mean low demand fruit. just like you say it would be killer, i think it would be a dud because:
1) I dont use voice commands, I wont pay for it
2) I dont take notes while reading (although i do read 12-14 kindle books a year)
3) I read on my kindle, I don't need it to integrate anything outside of page numbers (which it already does!)

Further, an iPad or a Surface meets all your criteria already... so what exactly would Apple / MSFT be creating?

What I would like in a Kindle (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#47108931)

Extra storage via microSDxc
HDMI out
some other way of charging besides microUSB (although it could still use microUSB for connecting to other devices. )
      miniUSB is way more reliable for charging, the microUSB cables just fall out if you breathe.

And something all android tabs need - a Hard Reset Button for when it locks up, and you have to wait for the battery to go flat before you can use it again.

Disclaimer: I have a Fire HDX 8.9" and I am generally happy with it apart from mentioned above.

Re:What I would like in a Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109089)

Nook doesn't support microSDxc; but it does support microSDhc.

And the nook doesn't seem to lock up either; sometimes lags, but never had to force battery to drain to restart it; I've had my nook hd now for more than a year. And since it has the play store; you don't lose your kindle e-book

Re:What I would like in a Kindle (1)

Tukz (664339) | about 7 months ago | (#47109125)

I don't recognize your problem with the microUSB kabel falling out.
Occasionally I hang mine (Kindle Paperwhite 2) in the charging cable at work, and it haven't fallen out yet.

And doesn't most tablets support "holding down the power button" for hard reset, much like a power button on PC does?
Both my iPad and Nexus does.

They have those. (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#47108959)

They're called tablets. :-P

They exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47108961)

There are devices that do what the OP wants, they're just more expensive because in order to do those things you need more horsepower, more RAM and bigger battery. All those things cost money. Sure, Kindles start at $69 but their ability to go beyond an e-reader is limited. No one wants to get into a race to the bottom on pricing as that's what has killed off so many devices and companies in the past. If all you compete on is price then you will always be fighting a losing battle in the marketplace as your company profits tumble and you file for bankruptcy.

Look at how many tablet PCs were sold over the years. If it wasn't for some school programs requiring them there wouldn't be any today. They have a niche use and have a marginal if not negative effect on information retention, but if that's what you want you'll be paying three to five times what anyone would pay for just a laptop without pen input. So, your handwritten notes are searchable. Whoopty-doo! If it's an open note/book test you're golden, but if not you still have to KNOW all the material and be able to retrieve/apply it. So where's the benefit over paper note taking? (hint: there isn't one!)

I want the hitch hikers guide (1)

richtopia (924742) | about 7 months ago | (#47109001)

It isn't that far off. An eink reader designed for travel, with lonely planet or wikisherpa included. It is also one of the few proper applications of a colour eink screen, as maps do not need to be vibrant but colours are vital to a map.

I could go on, but I know this is a fantasy. I hope one day a colour eink android or linux tablet arrives so I can install applications similar to this use case, but I am not holding my breath.

Kindle = iPod Classic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109005)

The (more basic) Kindle(s) seem to be the iPod Classics of eBooks. Its like everyone has just come to accept it as the defacto hardware you go for when you want that particular media player despite there being potentially better products (in some aspects, if not all) from the smaller brands, but the big brands know that the money thats out there is going to the Kindle and even if they did have a Kindle killer they know the market is small. Especially when what a Kindle really is is just a gimped tablet.

Library (1)

Dak_Peoples (591544) | about 7 months ago | (#47109011)

Kindle Killer = Local Library. Go check out a book. With the exception of a library keeping track of the date time and book you checked out, a book wont datamine or track your preferences or habits. Thats a kindle killer.

Maybe you need tablet, not ebook reader? (4, Insightful)

Moskit (32486) | about 7 months ago | (#47109027)

Ebook readers (the real ones based on e-ink) are good as they are. The less features the better, bookmarks and integration with vocabularies are enough for reading through a book.

If you need fancy stuff - get a tablet, it has features that you mentioned and much more.

The gillette razor/iPod problem (2)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 months ago | (#47109031)

Buck and Gerber make great knives. Far better than anything gillette has ever put out. So why don't they make a really great disposable razor so that they can corner the market?

Everyone rampaged around looking for an iPod killer and we never got one, until apple made the iphone, and popularized the convergence that everyone else had been trying to popularize in smartphones for years.

Samsung tried to make an iPhone killer, but could never really be successful without the true killer: Google Play/Android Marketplace

The iPod wasn't "the thing," iTunes was.
The Gillette Razor handle isn't "the thing" the cartridges are
The kindle isn't "the thing" the bookstore is.

Trying to beat the kindle with better hardware is completely missing the point. Even more so with the fact that Kindle has an app for most devices that lets you read stuff you buy from Amazon anyway (and vice versa).
The kindle is king because nobody (yes I am counting barnes and noble as "nobody") has any reason whatsoever to compete with it.

sure it can be improved (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | about 7 months ago | (#47109045)

of course there is room for improvement with the kindle - but not with any of the things suggested in TFS. the reason why apple and other don't make a competitor is because the margins are low. the profit is in the books.

Why Apply Doesn't Make An EReader (2)

style7711 (535582) | about 7 months ago | (#47109099)

Because there is not much of a market for $400 e-reader.

kindle killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109139)

"It's a self-powered, non-volatile, information storage and display device. It's called a book."

Blank Reg...Pilot.. " Max Headroom"

I want a simpler KIndle (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | about 7 months ago | (#47109151)

My problem with the Kindle Touch that changing pages frequently invokes some unwanted function. It is infuriating to change page and get the Change Font, or Annotate, or Save Clipping dialogs. I understand that some users like these functions. I don't, I hate them. I wish I could switch them off.

Keep Kindle as a single purpose device (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 7 months ago | (#47109179)

Seriously. The current Kindle does one job - reading long texts for leisure - really, really well, and is pretty much crap at anything else.

The e-ink display is very restful to read for long periods, even in bright sunlight and gives incredible battery life, but at the expense of a glacial refresh rate and the need for pixels to be regularly cycled to black. Its no good whatsoever for the sort of fluid touch interface that you'll see in a 'proper' tablet or smartphone.

The Kindle is my go-to device for 'sitting down with a good book' (or even 'sitting on a plane reading low-mental-load crappy SF shorts') but for any other use - even reading reference books where you need to rapidly scroll/skim, use indices/TOCs or follow links, a tablet, smartphone or laptop runs rings around it.

As soon as someone cracks a full-colour, high refresh-rate, low power 'eInk' technology to replace backlit LCD in tablets and phones, the e-reader will be dead overnight.

Also, I know Amazon is teh evilz (but no more so than Apple, Google or Microsoft), and the Kindle is their cash register, but they also run a bloody good service. As they say, the Devil has all the best tunes (and books).

OP should get a blog (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | about 7 months ago | (#47109183)

This is slashdot, damnit.

oh, just get a fucking iPad already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109213)

you penny pinching little bitch, what's the matter working at a Dell call center isn't paying enough?

Geeze, guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109229)

What's wrong with a real Android tablet. Both the Kindle and the Nook use Android under the hood and plaster it over with their own UI in order to *remove* features. With an Android device, you have 10s of 1000s of apps to choose from to get exactly the functionality you want. Plus, Amazon has a Kindle app that runs on Android devices so you don't even lose that. The reason nobody sells a "Kindle killer" is because anyone looking for more functionality isn't going to trade one vertical silo for another -- they just buy the un-encumbered version and load it up with the apps that do what they need.

40 million sold? Bullshit (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 7 months ago | (#47109247)

Amazon has never told anyone how many kindles they've sold. Where did that 40 million number come from?

Good news -- they exist! (2)

sootman (158191) | about 7 months ago | (#47109255)

They're called "tablets" and "tablet PCs".

What, you think handwriting recognition and voice recognition are cheap? That they're no-consequence modules that can be simply bolted on to another device that somehow, magically, doesn't impact cost, performance, battery life, or complexity of use? And that adding handwriting recognition to the e-reader app itself is easy? LOL. "Low-hanging fruit?" Hardly.

Do you REALLY think OEMs want to make yet ANOTHER class of device that fits between tablet computers and dedicated e-readers? How large do you think the market is for a device that does more than an e-reader and less than a tablet? It's already a pretty compact market space with razor-thin margins. The low-end for tablets (7"+) that aren't complete junk is about $99 and the high-end is $299. (8" iPad mini) Low-end tablet PC laptops start around there. (As will the Surface, on clearance, soon. :D ) Super-cheap tablets and dedicated e-readers go down to about $59. Don't look for another product category -- especially not one with such limited appeal -- to be squeezed into this narrow range any time soon.

I want a Kindle Killer.... (1)

QuasiRob (134012) | about 7 months ago | (#47109263)

....so buy a hammer.

I'm missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109277)

The Kindle already provides functionality that allows you to annotate a book as you read it(notes), and you can view all of your notes for an entire book at once if you want.

There is also a Kindle application for laptops and desktops, and you can plug your Kindle into your laptop and desktop. What exactly is needed for the Kindle to be integrated with these devices?

I can't speak for speech recognition, but that's a stupid gimmick in all other arenas anyway. I can talk to an XBox, PS4, and various TVs - hurray! I'm still using the controller for everything because it's far easier to use and the commands can't be misinterpreted, as they often are in speech recognition. The user interface is minimal and switching between books is incredibly quick and easy, even for those who have large collections of books.

I have to ask: have you use a Kindle at all? Do you know its target audience?

Nonsense (2)

glwtta (532858) | about 7 months ago | (#47109299)

It's a book reader, only two things matter: screen quality and the ease of getting books on it.

I would've included battery life, but that's been a solved issue with the Kindle from the beginning.

None of the "killer" features listed would do a damn to improve the reading experience, and some of them would be very annoying. Didn't the whole Siri debacle finally demonstrate that no one wants to yell at their devices?

I have a kindle killer already (1)

wardk (3037) | about 7 months ago | (#47109325)

I refer to it as an iPad

Please God make an 8.5x11 sized ereader (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47109331)

I've been dying for a bigger ereader for magazines, technical documents, etc since I saw the initial announcement of the Plastic Logic reader (vaporware) many years ago. There are plenty of us who could use it, is it a technical challenge to do this, or what?

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