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Amazon's Kindle Sells Out In 5.5 Hours

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the kindling-burns-quickly dept.

417

necro81 writes "As reported on Engadget, Amazon's Kindle e-book reader has sold out. Charlie Rose's interview with Jeff Bezos reveals that the Kindle sold out within just 5-1/2 hours of going on sale. Amazon hasn't revealed how many it had in stock at launch, so it may just be that they didn't anticipate early demand. A check of the Kindle's product page shows that more will be rolling out starting December 3rd." Wired also has a brief head-to-head of the more prominent ebook readers and PCWorld has a review of the new gadget from Amazon.

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Low production run? (5, Insightful)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441725)

I wonder how many units were made available.

I somehow doubt it is a case of 'we made lots, but demand outstripped supply'. More likely this was a limited production run to test the waters.

Re:Low production run? (5, Insightful)

dbolger (161340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441791)

Call me a cynic, but I'd say its more likely a case of a limited production run so they can get sites like Slashdot to report how they sold out in just 5.5 hours.

DRM Suckage (4, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441879)

Kill it. Now.

Re:DRM Suckage (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441921)

No. E-Books has been buried for long enough. It is time to accept this technology into our lives.

Crack it.

Re:DRM Suckage (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442039)

I agree.
If I could afford 2, I would crack it.

Re:DRM Suckage (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442315)

> Crack it.

Why? It is a joke. The BOM on the thing would run you less than $200 quantity one and I seriously doubt Amazon paid $100. Most of the sticker price is an all up front subscription to their cellular based wireless network that probably isn't even available out here in flyover country where I live. So if yuu don't value the handcuffs to the Amazon Store that why would you bother buying one just to hack it?

No, we need to design our own. There ain't squat in one hardware wise. No wireless (eats battery like crazy) and two SD slots (for easy copy action!) along with the ability to read PDF files. But first e-paper tech needs to finish developing. Current incarnations lack the resolution of a cheap laser printer, to say nothing of commercial printing and the screen refresh speeds blow goats. And color would really be helpful along with a touchscreen UI.

But like all things tech these issues will be solved after enough early adopters with big wallets and small brains spend insane amounts of cash on not ready for prime time hardware that won't even be compatible with whatever ends up becoming the standard. Then I'll buy one. :)

Re:DRM Suckage (4, Funny)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442463)

Is it just me, or is there something a bit weird about naming a product for reading books with a word which means "to set on fire"? Now, maybe as a name for Dell laptop...

Re:Low production run? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21442147)

Call me a cynic, but I'd say its more likely a case of a limited production run so they can get sites like Slashdot to report how they sold out in just 5.5 hours.

You mean they only made 5.5 units?

Re:Low production run? (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442237)

Reverse-reverse slashvertisement psychology. I like it :)

Amazon's market: Segway-riding idiots (3, Insightful)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442457)

Too rich for their own good, money to burn, since to own this device, you would already have a laptop, an ipod, a cell phone, digital camera, etc. etc. If you have the money to fork over $400 for a device less useful than just about everything else on the market, you probably own a Segway.

Not to say that its not nice being rich, but you're also an idiot since this overpriced, semi-useful device is full of DRM and all your books will likely be gone as soon as amazon decides to discontinue it or not to support the old form of DRM with their new model.

But hey, if you're both rich and dumb, its perfect for you. Maybe someone will invent a clip to attach it to your Segway so you can read while you ride.

Bogus Cynic (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442483)

Call me a cynic,
You're a cynic. No, wait, you're not. You're just stuck in the usual conspiracy mindset, combined with the also-usual ignorance of economics.

When you manufacture a mass market item, you're not in a position to say, "Let's just make 100 of them for our first manufacturing run, so we can boast that it sold out in a few hours." There's a fixed cost to starting up and shutting down a manufacturing line, and that means there's a minimum number of items you have to make if you want to make them at a reasonable cost. If you shut down the run before you reach that point, you end up saving little or no money.

So what you do is make some kind of estimate as to how many you're likely to sell during an initial period. (Obviously, if that estimate is lower than the manufacturing minimum, you've got another Foleo on your hands.) That estimate has to be be pretty low for a new e-book reader, a product with a really dismal track record. It's probably not much more than the minimum manufacturing run.

This device has some features that may or may not cause it to break away from the pack. The big one is that you don't need any kind of network access to download content; it has a built-in EVDO device that you can use without a monthly fee — network charges are included in the cost of the stuff you buy. (That's the main reason I considered buying one.) On the negative side, the thing's pretty expensive (the main reason I'm didn't) and a little bulky. In that kind of situation, the smart thing to do is do a short initial manufacturing run and see if the product develops a following. And in this case it has. Standard business practice, no Machiavellian scheming required.

I have to say it again: we're all hi-tech geeks here, and hi-tech doesn't work without economies of scale. Yet nobody on Slashdot seems to grasp the concept. Pretty sad.

Re:Low production run? (3, Insightful)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441887)

I suspect you are correct. I don't mean to throw water over this alluring tech toy. However possessing an 800x600 resolution screen on a device who's primary purpose is for reading is an obvious oversight. When screen resolutions are dense enough to render serif typefaces without hinting; only then will we have a device that can be often read without eye strain.

Also while there are many people who don't read books regularly, the people that do usually appreciate owning a bookshelf of their favourite novels. I feel it'll make a great reference device for things like dictionaries, encyclopedias and newspapers.

My last point is that when reading a novel, the reader is usually put into a deeper level of thinking which is annoying to be pulled out from. I'm curious if the device has a trivial way to flip pages that doesn't require the user to mentally escape the novel everytime they want to turn the page. (Or other annoyances like being told they have new email mid-reading.)

Re:Low production run? (5, Insightful)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442093)

I'd reserve judgement till you'd personally experienced an 800x600 eInk display really (such as the one Kimble uses), it's considerably different to any LCD/CRT with regards to eyestrain, how your eyes will perceive the resolution.

Re:Low production run? (1)

Sean Riordan (611520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442257)

It has big buttons on two edges for page advance, no need to leave the headspace of the story to flip pages.

Re:Low production run? (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442525)

An 800x600 resolution on a 6" device sounds pretty high to me. On an 18" monitor, that would be 2400x1800.

Re:Low production run? (5, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442393)

I wonder how many units were made available.

Only 1. It was bought 5.5 hours after launch by Jeff to ensure amazon.com was still up.

Amazon rating (2, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442469)

Actually it only has something like 2.5 stars on Amazon. Not a good sign.

Weird behavior between pages (5, Insightful)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441737)

The Sony reader had a long latency to flip a page, as well as some stuff going on with the ink rearranging itself. If one could just flip fast without any image artifacts, it would be great. Most people will want color, but I think this is more important.

Re:Weird behavior between pages (2, Insightful)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441769)

Kindle also has a long latency, this is due to the use of eInk. It's supposed to be a lot easier on the eyes than Sony's reader - but as I've never seen either, who knows.

I'd like colour but for reading a book it does seem a bit redundant, but the Kindle can browse the internet as well. So really I expect to see colour in a future revision.

For now, the iPod Touch is the best reader/browser combination.

Re:Weird behavior between pages (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441969)

colour e-ink technology is in the works but coming along slowly. the ipod touch while having a better screen, has a fraction of the battery life of all those units who can go hundreds of pages between charges.

the irex illiad can be modifiied(it runs linux) using it's own built in wifi and a web browser you can surf the web on it.

Re:Weird behavior between pages (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442031)

The Sony 505 and the Kindle seem to have very similar screens. I have a 505 and adore it - I'll see if I can find a Kindle to compare it to.

Re:Weird behavior between pages (2, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442527)

The Sony 505 and the Kindle seem to have very similar screens.

Perhaps this might explain that:

http://www.e-ink.com/products/customers_type.html [e-ink.com]

Now we just have to wait (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441751)

If the first buyers are big fans of Amazon, then they probably will soon leave reviews on the product page [amazon.com] , giving us some descriptions of the product that aren't tarred by marketing hype. However, at the moment the reviews that are up are by people connected to Amazon, or those who haven't even used the product.

Re:Now we just have to wait (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441897)

and I bet half of them will complain that it doesn't play movies(thus missing the point of the device entirely)

Amazon sold out, or Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21441755)

Another slashvertistment of a "sold out" product of unknown quantity? Then who the hell cares if it was X.5 hours.

That's OK (3, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441757)

Let the Early Adopters try it out and send in the bug reports. In a year or so, there'll be a version 1.1 that doesn't have as many annoying misfeatures as 1.0.

There's an old rule in the computer biz: Don't ever buy anything whose version number ends with an even digit.

Re:That's OK (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441867)

It's not just computers. First generation cars are pretty notorious for having problems as well.

Re:That's OK (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442155)

Its not just computers or cars. First generation anything is pretty notorious for having problems.

As with anything in life, if you need something thats new, get it immediately but expect problems.
If you want something, wait until it becomes a need and then get it.

You will have less problems and will have had time to assess the market (also you will save money)

Re:That's OK (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442255)

I heard that "Christmas Lights 1.0" used to set fires and drip wax all over the tree.

Re:That's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21442347)

Sounds like the only way to get your own documents onto it is to send it them where the will "convert" it, and then "allow" you to receive it wirelessly on your kindle for a "small" fee.

The almost exact quotes were something like if you have your own documents in, say, MS Word format, you can have amazon convert it and send it to your kindle wirelessly for a small fee.

I smell ripoff. They SHOULD have provided USB/firewire access to the book locally, but maybe this can be got around by the SD cards which it can use to expand storage, although I'd bet that even if the SD cards use a readable file system that the files are very likely to be encrypted with no easy way for a user to get their own stuff on there in a readable format, avoiding their fee.

Pretty nasty for an expensive book reader. Sony's is cheaper, and the rocket book(and later whatever they were called) were cheaper. The Sony probably uses the same e-ink display, but lacks the keyboard. The Rocket book used a REALLY nice mono display with a back light and rechargeable battery(mine would go for c. 20h on a charge) until it died on me.

Last I knew fictionwise was still selling the rocket books although they weren't using the rocket book's original OS anymore as gemstar changed the OS just before they sold off remaining stock to fictionwise to whatever OS their other reader that they bought used(color, short battery life, tedious to get your own documents on).

Manufactured scarcity (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441765)

Although its possible that they underestimated demand, I'd be more likely to believe that they manufactured enough for the holidays but wanted to manufacture a perception of scarcity.

Nothing sells product like an air of exclusiveness.

And before people think I'm trolling Amazon, I think this practice is good for both customers and the company -- the customers get something "hot" and the company sells in volume.

Re:Manufactured scarcity (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441911)

first consumer device from this company, and the first generation of it. It's often the case that these releases are approached carefully to work out the kinks in the supply and distribution chain. I've dealt with products where the first 200 from China had to be reworked when we got them here, if you make too many of them you end up with more than you can really handle on a first release.

Amazon is not (yet) like Apple, Sony, etc where they can just push a button and have 100,000 devices made and shipped.

I think you're reading way too much into it.

Re:Manufactured scarcity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21442435)

I think you're reading way too much into it.

Maybe, but I don't believe I'm reading too much into it when I think something is fishy about them not releasing the numbers.

If they had sold 20M in 5.5 hours, you can be sure we'd have the numbers.

.

I don't know where I came across this quote recently (maybe /. tag line?), but I think it certainly applies here:

"News is what someone doesn't want you to know. Everything else is advertising."

Two Things (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441785)

1. There are always a number of people with "state-of-the-art-addiction" who must have the hot new gadget.

2. There are always people looking to profit from the above people, who jump on these product launches to then turn around and sell the product on Ebay.

Beyond that I wouldn't read too much into this just yet. The Kindle may be a success, or a flop. All we know is that it a newly hyped gadget that sold out at launch, like most new hot gadgets.

Re:Two Things (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442091)

There are always people looking to profit from the above people, who jump on these product launches to then turn around and sell the product on Ebay.

That would be "stereotypes FTW" Bob!. Or, in other words, _not_. (Zero Kindles for auction ATM.)

Re:Two Things (1)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442487)

As someone without a state-of-the-art addiction, I must admit that I do keep my eye on the items gadget fiends fixate one en masse. First, since any new technology has its problems no matter how cool, this first wave of users serves as a sacrifice to iron out all the bugs. Second, if the product has saying power, it survives that first wave and stays around proving its usefulness rather than just being a fad. With that success, the company releases improved versions that make the first version seem quaint but at lower prices. That process takes a year or two, but since I'm in no hurry it doesn't matter.

Reading an LCD (-1, Troll)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441805)

Don't know about everyone else, but reading a lot on an LCD messes with my eyes... I have to print things out and read them or else I can never finish the papers/books.
Anyone know of any studies showing reading a lot on an LCD is safe or can cause problems?

Re:Reading an LCD (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441835)

it's not an LCD, it's e-paper or "electronic ink".

Yeah, they finally got that technology out of the lab about a couple of years ago.

Re:Reading an LCD (5, Insightful)

Stochastism (1040102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441987)

The e-ink is the only thing going for this critter of a device. The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind. Books are:
  • Proven: they have a 600 year history of mass production.
  • Robust: at worst, they fall apart after 20 years or two toddlers.
  • Reliable: the words don't dissapear if it gets too hot/cold/wet/dry or an EMP event occurs.
  • Archival attributes: we will still be able to read in 100 years, but we might not be able to open DRM protected files.
  • Portable: they are more pocket sized than Kindle.
  • Batteries not included: because you don't need any.
  • Transferable: they have resale value including content... legally.
  • High contrast: higher even than e-ink.
  • Flammability: despite the name, Kindle's probably don't burn well. A definite negative for the Puritan at heart.
  • Light weight: unless you get the hard-back edition.
  • Accessible: they don't require a network-connection, so they work all over the world.

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442057)

There's a lot more things going for it.. just watch the presentation.. but otherwise, yes, paying $400 for the pleasure of buying $9.99 books is a bit steep.

Re:Reading an LCD (2, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442465)

Twenty to thirty dollar NYT hardcover bestsellers cost $9.95. Other book prices can range all of the way down to $1.99.

Then again, in the future I expect things like textbooks may be more than that. 'Course, on the other foot, one reason textbooks are supposed to be expensive are their relatively limited production runs. Not a problem with ebooks.

Re:Reading an LCD (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442167)

So... you're saying that a book has all the advantages of an abacus?

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

Stochastism (1040102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442249)

Yes! And none of the disadvantages of a modern computer at the same time!

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442283)

Books are:
Most of what you said applies to candles as well, but we still like our electric lights.

(That's my second candle post today!)

Re:Reading an LCD (0, Troll)

Stochastism (1040102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442473)

Books are:
Most of what you said applies to candles as well, but we still like our electric lights.

(That's my second candle post today!)
Try lighting a candle, or turning on an electric light, during take-off. I think you'll get a similar response to both.

My point is that the Kindle seems to offer very little over a regular book. The difference between a candle and a lightbulb is huge. The difference between a book and a Kindle is .. well .. regression. Yes, you can download books for $10 a pop. But only after a $400 up front investment (is that before or after sales taxes? I never groked the U.S. habit of *not* advertising the real price). There's been a couple of flippant replies about books being "abacus" technology, but does anyone have a *real* reason why the Kindle could be superior to a good old fashioned book? I mean sure, this is /., but should we really just love technology for technoligies sake?

Re:Reading an LCD (2, Insightful)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442471)

Portable: they are more pocket sized than Kindle.
40 paperbacks are more portable than one kindle with 40 paperbacks on it?

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

Stochastism (1040102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442505)

Portable: they are more pocket sized than Kindle.
40 paperbacks are more portable than one kindle with 40 paperbacks on it?
Do you read 40 paperbacks at one time?

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442523)

depends on the book, toss one in some water, it will be in bad condition, and then it will grow mold, and be eaten away.

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442553)

Books are not "light weight" if you are talking about books that contain the number of pages that the Kindle can hold.

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

joh (27088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442045)

t's not an LCD, it's e-paper or "electronic ink".

Yeah, they finally got that technology out of the lab about a couple of years ago.


I'm happily using a cellphone with that kind of display since half a year now (Motorola F3).

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441841)

The Kindle is not an LCD display, it uses e Ink, 6-inch SVGA 800x600, 4 grey scales. Supposed to be very easy on the eyes.

Re:Reading an LCD (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441871)

Not that I'm aware of. The few I've heard of all seemed pretty conclusive that it's perfectly OK. It can, however, make someone conscious of a vision problem they'd learned to unconsciously compensate for.

Kindle doesn't have an LCD (3, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441883)

Kindle doesn't have an LCD. There are no polarizers, liquid crystals, or bending of crystals to change the direction of the polarization.

Kindle has an e-paper [wikipedia.org] display, which uses something resembling ink that can be turned black or white, or a few shades in between, and doesn't require any power to maintain that shade. It looks very similar to paper, and isn't color so the resolution is pretty good.

The Sony e-book reader also has an e-paper display, so LCDs aren't being used on new e-book readers.

Re:Kindle doesn't have an LCD (1)

StorySmith (807405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442019)

The Irex Iliad has the same screen technology, bigger screen, views txt, pdf and mobipocket (relatively user-friendly DRM), can view PDF without DRM, and has more input - WIFI, direct connection to a PC, USB memory stick, CF, and SD. I've had one for over a year now... MP3 player built in....I use it almost daily. Oh... and it's powered by Linux.

http://www.irextechnologies.com/products/iliad [irextechnologies.com]

Check out fictionwise, mobipocket, or even the Gutenberg project for books... Baen has an extensive free library of books and multiple best seller science fiction books without DRM.

Wouldn't buy the Sony, not gonna buy the Kindle... Not interested in 'locked in' DRM from either, and the potential for 'interesting' spyware from either.

Amazon's about a year behind the power curve....
Look at Bookeen, or the Chinese...
An A-4 format (8 1/2 by 11) ebook PDF reader is on the horizon... That will be full magazine sized...

Re:Kindle doesn't have an LCD (4, Informative)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442247)

Wouldn't buy the Sony, not gonna buy the Kindle... Not interested in 'locked in' DRM from either, and the potential for 'interesting' spyware from either.
I have the Sony Reader. There are a myriad of free texts for it. It can display TXT and RTF files just fine. The (unlocked) version of the LRF is well understood, so there are plenty of texts in that format and they work really well. It can display PDFs (but doesn't scale them well, so an A4 document will usually be unreadable).

I've never bought a DRM afflicted text and I never will. But the hardware's a different matter; the fact that it can display DRM doesn't preclude the device as long as it can display free texts.

Sony is kind of schizophrenic; their hardware is usually excellent but sometimes crippled by the media lobe of the company. In the case of the Sony Reader the hardware was left relatively unharmed, but the marketing of the device was absolutely crippled; they were so keen to push their online book store that most people don't realise it can display unencumbered texts just fine.

The Sony Reader is pretty damn good, though not perfect. For example, it doesn't have a page turn button on the right hand side more or less forcing you to hold it in your left hand or uncomfortably in your right. The iRex Iliad looks excellent, but it's pricier and the form-factor doesn't appeal to me.

I was interested until (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441831)

I found out you have to pay a fee to get personal items onto it.
Also I would like it to play mp3s.

Re:I was interested until (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441863)

You don't have to. It's an option. You don't need a computer, but if you have one you can use it to put files on it. It comes with a usb cable.

Re:I was interested until (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441993)

Yes, I looked again and saw those features listed.
My Bad. Although I don't think they were listed in the video presentation.

Re:I was interested until (5, Informative)

roscivs (923777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441905)

It does play mp3s. And you can copy things via USB to avoid the fee. You can even have Amazon convert them to its special format for free, email the doc back to you instead of transferring it wirelessly, and avoid the fee.

Re:I was interested until (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441965)

Not according to Amazons web site and little introduction video.

OK, now I feel stupid. I went and looked, again, and it is listed.

My Apologies.

Re:I was interested until (3, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442299)

You can even have Amazon convert them to its special format for free, email the doc back to you...
Like it's so damn hard for them to release a generic txt or pdf reader, right?

What's with these companies and "special" lockins? Why do they crave control over items they sell so much?

Re:I was interested until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21441999)

it does play mp3s. and has a USB cable to copy personal items onto it. (shows up as a mass storage device)

Front Page of Amazon (5, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441847)

Well yeah it was the front page of amazon, yeah the entire front page.

Basically the best advertising that any device could have.

OMG all 3 units sold out in 5.5 hours!!!!! (3, Funny)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441885)

1. Market new product & advertize initial sale date
2. Do not reveal how many (hand fulls) of product units are available
3. On day of initial sale, reveal that product was sold out in 4 hours!!!!
4. Let lame media pick up stories
5. Enjoy free advertizement & viral marketing
6. Pick another date to release a few more units
7. PROFIT!!!!

Not necessarily (1)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442005)

For example, the Wii shortage is very real. Outside of software, handling inventory can be very tricky.

Re:OMG all 3 units sold out in 5.5 hours!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21442407)

Well, it works.
Even by commenting on it, they have your attention focussed on the product for a couple of minutes.
That's enough to create an indelible memory for the rest of your life.

If I walk up to you in a street in twenty years time, and remind you of a Slashdot post about Amazon's Kindle, you will remember writing it. And then freak out, but that's beside the point.

Advertising works, even if you understand how it works.

Fixed the Flash and Speed? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441943)

What I'd like to know is how this e-ink compares to what Sony is using in their latest generation reader. Is it faster at changing the display? Do they still have to flash the whole display to update one little part?

And why have they ever needed to flash the whole display anyway? Is there some reason they can't erase just one area, working with a dirty rectangle algorithm so things are faster? Surely they can put enough memory in to keep two copies of the display (old and new) then use XOR to figure out which bits need to be updated, speeding things up some.

Re:Fixed the Flash and Speed? (1)

amokk (465630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442275)

Surely they can put enough memory in to keep two copies of the display (old and new) then use XOR to figure out which bits need to be updated, speeding things up some.
It's absolutely impossible that the engineers designing the product could have come up with that idea. Maybe they should all waste their time on slashdot reading posts by MBCook in case you come up with more algorithmic gold that is completely non-obvious. The engineers are, as you know, incredibly stupid...

My Concern is transfering files... (1)

holysin (549880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442539)

Supposedly sony's new reader (version B as it were) is ~40% faster at screen refreshes than the first gen (slow refresh rates!) so I would assume this e-ink is about that fast (unless I'm mistaken it's the same technology, just a different seller.)

And e-ink currently requires full screen rewites due to the screen being a singular entity, in the current incarnation the screen is a page in that it can only be drawn on once, then it has to be wiped (new page) before the next drawing.

My concerns with this unit are that in order to transfer your personal documents (that client file, your research, copy of HP7 you downloaded...) you have to either email the book (10 cents), or email the document (non encrypted/compressed?)to amazon to be converted by their machines into the kindle's format, which can then be transfered via usb. Hopefully I did in fact misinterpret the amazon page. Either way, I can't even consider getting it for a few years, so it's all academic for me :)

Looks good, but.... (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441951)

Looks good, but it's way overpriced.

Either have cheap books or a cheap gadget, not both.

But then again... (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442009)

A lifetime of free wireless access to Wikipedia for $399 - that's a pretty good deal.

I'm surprised it doesn't include "amazon email".

Re:But then again... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442145)

Yeah.. that's freaky generous.

Re:Looks good, but.... (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442377)

to this day I still use my Newton to read books. Its the right size, it is easy to use, it even can be back lit in the dark. Sure it ain't the latest gee whiz, but it works.

the iPhone effect? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441957)

There will always be a hard-core of early adopters for pretty much any tech toy. Even better if it's had reviews - but preferably good ones.

The number of people who buy a product on day #1 is largely irrelevant, that's just the fans - you can also charge them more (sorry, just had to get that in). The numbers that really count are a few months in, when the problems become known, the promised content does or does not become available and the initial euphoria wears off. I wonder how many units will still be in use and how many will be on at the back of a drawer somewhere?

As a Sony ebook user (3, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441995)

I have to say I am impressed with their selection, which can get downright esoteric [amazon.com] . Sony's selection(which has gotten better recently) has always left me wanting. I would watch Jon Stewart interview some author and then I would go see if I could find their book only to find out it's either not there or too expensive.

One of the things that really showed promise was having comic books delivered to the device. However, it never really panned out for Sony, one year on and there are only 14 items in the manga section, and Kindle isn't looking much better. The sample they gave with the Sony eReader actually looked pretty good in terms of readability, shame there isn't much content that I want on it though(I suppose I could go track down pdfs, but too much of a pain)

Re:As a Sony ebook user (5, Funny)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442277)

Esoteric? Typical American attitude. Why, Korean Automotive Foreign Direct Investment in Europe: The Effects of Economic Integration on Motivations and Patterns of FDI and Industrial Location (Kindle Edition) is standard bedside reading for many of us 50 million South Koreans, thank you very much.

Why do people want it? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442055)

It's kinda big and clunky, the screen doesn't fill the whole face, and it's pretty expensive. Also seems tnot to be all that open. The E-paper is nice and the wireless sounds like it should work well, but I'm really looking forward to the third generation of these things.

I'm I wrong or the only one to notice the EvDO (4, Interesting)

sys_mast (452486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442075)

Everyone is bashing this product, and either I'm confusing my acronyms or people here don't realize this things greatest feature. The PCWorld article says it has EvDO, which I thought was a cellular technology, it lists that as the way to get more content on the thing. AND there is no usage charge for that, the PCWorld article says they take care of that in the background, so the price you see listed for the content you can browse is EXACTLY what you pay(OK maybe taxes or something)

So, either I need to cut back on the beers and pay attention to which letters mean what, or this thing is actually kinda cool, not that I'm buying one this year. If I'm way wrong, mod me to nothing, but otherwise, man do people complain about anything here!

Re:I'm I wrong or the only one to notice the EvDO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21442217)

Yeah, it certainly is kinda cool. Read here for a little more info: http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,139810-page,1/article.html [pcworld.com] .
Wonder if it can be hacked to use the EVDO Internet connection for something a little more useful.... free of charge of course.

Re:I'm I wrong or the only one to notice the EvDO (4, Informative)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442245)

According to the video I watched on the Amazon site, it is indeed wireless and connects to "Amazon's whisper net" for free. Like WiFi but no need to log into anything as it does find service just like a cell phone. From there, you can look at the catalog of downloadable stuff and download for the presented price much like a downloadable Amazon website. You can email stuff to your Kindle, but that costs money. They never mention exactly what the whisper net is or how much coverage it has.

Re:I'm I wrong or the only one to notice the EvDO (2, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442423)

According to the video I watched on the Amazon site, it is indeed wireless and connects to "Amazon's whisper net" for free. Like WiFi but no need to log into anything as it does find service just like a cell phone. From there, you can look at the catalog of downloadable stuff and download for the presented price much like a downloadable Amazon website. You can email stuff to your Kindle, but that costs money. They never mention exactly what the whisper net is or how much coverage it has.

But it's still EVDO. It's just that Amazon is paying for your EVDO connection because you're going to pay them for books. Think of it like the Kindle has a SIM card inside it that's setup for an Amazon corporate account, so every time you use the EVDO network Amazon gets charged. They go ahead and subsidize that because they expect the cost to be minimal compared to the profit of selling books anywhere, anytime.

Re:I'm I wrong or the only one to notice the EvDO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21442443)

The promo videos state that it uses the same wireless connectivity as "advanced cell phones," so yes, it uses EV-DO rather than WiFi for store connectivity. It uses what seems to be a service of Sprint "Whispernet EV-DO."

$9.99??? Surely you are joking! (1, Troll)

macz (797860) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442153)

"Most" books are $9.99. Maybe if they decayed the price to $1.99 as the new releases aged (like effectively what happens at a half-price bookseller). Plus, I can't keep the content for decades in my attic, to be dusted off and read again when I re-discover the book.

Re:$9.99??? Surely you are joking! (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442485)

Titles can be backed up to a drive, or simply deleted and downloaded again from Amazon as needed. Then again, I'd think a single 4GB flash card would last most people quite a while.

At first I was ready to buy... (3, Insightful)

SageMusings (463344) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442173)

At first I was ready to buy the thing. It seemed wonderful with a long battery life, the ability to purchase books right from the device, and Wikipedia all the time. Then I noticed the price...what a shock.

I think I would have paid up to $125, as I still need to actually buy books to read on it. But $400? Either the device is expensive to make or the market researchers grossly over estimated the publics need for such a device. $400 buys some really nice toys, much nicer than a e-book reader. I think I'm going to spend my money elsewhere this holiday season.

What a shame, too. I would really like to own one when they become reasonably priced.

Re:At first I was ready to buy... (1)

kaiynne (181440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442297)

I am so sick of the OMG its so expensive whining. Either you are willing to buy it or not, if no one is willing to pay $400 then they will be forced to lower the price. If people are willing to pay $400, and i am one, then they won't lower the price. If you don't have $400 to spend on this i am sorry that sucks for you but a lot of people including myself do and want one. Just factoring the saving on hardcover books roughly $15-$20 each it pays for itself when you buy like 20 books... That is not many.

Re:At first I was ready to buy... (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442375)

Relax, they are probably aiming for the iPhone early adopter market. Check back in two weeks when the price drops some $200.

Three hundred for a cheap one with no memory... (2, Insightful)

doom (14564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442215)

Looking through the wired list of ebook readers, even the cheap ones are around $300, and none of them even have a gigabyte of memory.

Anyone who buys one of these things now deservers to have "sucker" tattooed on their forehead -- these things look like they're made to rip people off with continual "upgrades" as they gradually turn into something useable.

The e-paper displays sound interesting, I suppose, but if I'm going to spend $800 on a linux gadget I'd want it to have the full functionality of a laptop... paying that much for a crippled laptop doesn't make a lot of sense to me...

Re:Three hundred for a cheap one with no memory... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442499)

I don't suppose you noticed the flash card slot. The Kindle will hold roughly 200 books BEFORE needing a extra $30 memory card. Text isn't music or video file-size-wise.

In theory the Sony reader is what I'd rather have (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442229)

The sony ebook reader has one great advantage over the kindle: it reads .pdf files directly, and you don't have to pay Amazon for the privilege to have the .pdf file converted to the Amazon DRMed ebook format. This is a crucial difference.

That said, I would need a device with larger screen than either the kindle or the Sony gadget.

evil (0)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442285)

They're charging money to read open Internet content like blogs, and it appears even for your own PDFs.

This is evil, in particular for an unsubsidized $399 device.

There are several reading devices for not much more money that give you free access to free content and are even programmable.

Re:evil (2)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442401)

Actually, they are charging money for connecting you to those blogs, since the net connection doesnt require any sort of login. It makes sense to let me browse their store for free, but to pay the data fees (even big discount fees) for me to read a blog and not charge anything is just stupid. I wouldn't expect that of any company. Does apple give free internet service with their handhelds? Does anyone?

Why would Anyone Bother? (4, Interesting)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442303)

It Has DRM

Has nobody been paying attention to the many and various articles in recent years about "some random company" who decided to revoke their DRM product (new DRM, dropped product, company died, etc) and totally screw all their customers who had paid license fees to use this DRM functionality?

VOTE WITH YOUR WALLETS people.

What this things seemingly lacks... (0, Troll)

Compuser (14899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442343)

I do not have the device so I am going from video on Amazon website.
Here is what the device currently lacks:
1. Hi-res screen. Some competitors do UXGA (16x12). 8x6 is piddly.
2. Color. Tech manuals and such have color graphs. Need not be much but at
least 16-color display is a must.
3. Must have stylus and ability to attach notes to specific places in text
(ideally also voice notes).
4. The video said that when you buy from Amazon store, the data is
still stored on the server. Local storage is a must for everything from books,
to annotations.
5. Faster typing. The video made it look like 100cpm folks will be in pain.
6. It was not clear whether the device could connect to scientific journals.
The ability to get authorized through university proxies is a must. This means
the user must be able to make custom login scripts and update security software.
7. Affordable price. $400 is about an order of magnitude too high. This is a device
that lets Amazon sell more books so I would expect it to be a loss leader like some
game consoles. This must be an impulse buy kind of thing to take over the market.

Re:What this things seemingly lacks... (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442437)

1) eInk is currently new, so high resolution is expensive and technically difficult. 2) Again, the display by itself would cost the same as the entire device. 3) eInk is not touchscreen, and this device is not a PDA but a handheld made specifically to read. If you want a PDA, go buy one. 4) They also said there is some local memory and and SD card slot. 5) It's not a PDA - the typing is for simple purposes only. the main time spent on the device - reading, uses a two large buttons on each side. 6) So ask. 7) New tech display, EVDO wireless, and the device itself does not come for free. I agree the price is prohibitive, but that is true of all new tech devices. wait a few years and devices like this will come down in price, or cell phones will match their featuresets.

Why, the Kindling says the writing is on the wall. (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442439)

REkindle and stoke the stock fires, or be kindling for understocking and understoking!

Good business strategy. (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442537)

> ...so it may just be that they didn't anticipate early demand.

Unlikely. Anyone who's taken an entry-level business class knows this is a common strategy. It's what Nintendo did with the original launch of the GameBoy. You don't aim production to meet or exceed demand. Instead, you actually aim to not meet demand. As a result, supplies run out and the news picks it up, causing even more demand. This Slashdot article is exactly what they want. The fact that Amazon hasn't released numbers is a dead give-away that this is what's happening. Nintendo has used this strategy effectively with other products, too.

I'm not saying anything about the product or this strategy, but you can be sure Amazon marketing dept. didn't mess up on demand estimations.

I still say OLPC's XO laptop is better :) (5, Insightful)

timothy (36799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442557)

More versatile, has a camera, reads a wider variety of formats. It's a (funny little, purpose-built, not-your-ordinary) *laptop*, but it has a book-reading mode and a 200dpi screen (in monochrome mode).

A bit bigger than the Kindle, sure, but sure seems like the one I'd rather have in my backpack / fallout shelter / carry-on bag. After all, does the Kindle have a game pad? :)

timothy
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