So MobileRead posted official pictures of Kindle 2.0, and they’re every bit as disppointing as the original leaked pictures.
Not only did Amazon botch their Kindle production from the beginning, but it’s been almost 15 months since Kindle 1.0 was announced, and we have yet to see any measurable advances.
Amazon seems content not to follow the product-development model Apple created with the iPod, using innovative design to drive interest and adoption, and making competitors’ devices look childish and cumbersome in contrast. Instead of that, it looks like Amazon will continue to manufacture consumer interest with supply shortages, and will attempt to merely maintain current market share by keeping their design conservative (and childish, and cumbersome), which will lead to an even more underwhelming Kindle 3.0.
Amazon better watch its ass with this strategy; with Verizon offering up its network and Sony working on open wireless capability, very soon getting a whispernet will not require getting a Kindle. Without that feature, Kindle is significantly behind the design curve, as evidenced by Amazon not even bothering to sell the Kindle in countries without the whispernet. They’re in danger of becoming suddenly irrelevant, just like the publishing industry is.
I suppose the argument for the Kindle’s design is that it offers the highest contrast ratio, and hence the most readability. But it’s enormous and kludgy, and there’s little design advancement, only minor refinement. Which begs the question, with customers still lining up to buy the original, why even bother releasing 2.0 until you’ve got a next-level device?
We’ll wait until the press conference itself to cordon off a disaster area, but as of now, I’m officially more excited for the announcement of Plastic Logic’s content partner than the lackluster new Kindle.
UPDATE: Interesting article on a Kindle blog about Amazon just gunning for the Kindle to be the default ereader. The writer mentions Windows and Google are also defaults in their respective fields.
For now, it looks like Kindle is closer to the feet-dragging Windows default model than the innovative, unexpected Google version.