I went to Best Buy this morning to see if they had the new Sony Reader WiFi to fondle.
When I turned the corner to the eBook device display, I was hit by this:
The Kindle Basic! WTF!
I had no idea that this would be in stores at all — or so soon! I don’t recall Bezos ever mentioning the new Kindles going to their retail partners so soon.
It looks like an overgrown Palm Tungsten E PDA!
Shut up. It was a sample already installed on it.
I was, frankly, shocked by it.
1) It didn’t feel cheap to me at all.
2) It was snappy. I didn’t feel any sluggishness at all.
3) The side buttons are now good.
4) The 4-way button is better than the one on the Kindle 3.
5) Page turns are the fastest I’ve ever seen with eInk.
6) The software looked well done.
Amazon has it running a demo — which can be exited for actual use– that clearly explains how it works and invites people to try it. The demo is interactive too.
This next photo is for Angela James. She’s a Phinean/Ferbian.
I’ll have more to say about the Kindle Basic at the end of this post.
Moving on …
… I knew those Gift Cards existed, but not these:
After all the posts I did about the importance of Gift Cards, you’d think Kobo’s generally-inept PR people would at least tell me Kobo finally has them, right? No. They are that inept.
Oh look at this …
… it’s the Sony Tablet …
… and no one cares. Next!
Ok, let me give it a paragraph. It feels cheap, the form factor is stupid, not clever, the side port cover is audaciously cheap and badly-engineered, and there is nothing here that someone can’t get with another craptastic Android tablet — or in a useful form with the much-cheaper Kindle Fire. Like I said: No one cares. Next!
Look at this:
That is not a mirage. Those are HP TouchPad accessories. OK then. Next!
I went to J&R next, hoping to fondle the new 5″ Samsung Galaxy Player WiFi 5 or WTF they’re calling it now. Despite J&R having a ton of cheap-ass Android tablets that are now dead-dead-dead because of the Kindle Fire, that Samsung was not yet one of them.
So, I got to play with this:
Sony has done the incredible here. Made something that photographs bad and looks just as bad when seen in person!
The Reader WiFi and the Sony Tablet share the same trait: crappy plastic. Whoever decides what plastics Sony devices have should be fired. The guy has no taste whatsoever. Everything is beginning to feel cheap and flimsy.
There is just no other way of putting this: I’m very disappointed with this thing. In the move to Android, Sony seems to have lost its way or its entire mind. It has an overall very sluggish feel and aspects of drawing the screen are poorly done. Whereas on the $79 Kindle Basic, drawing screen regions is smooth and snappy, on the near double-priced Sony, the screen region drawing is very slow and poorly executed. Even the Nook Touch does it better.
After all my bitching about how people should have tapped on Settings->About, I finally got to. And there was no mention of Android anywhere I could find!
As for that Red — it’s horrid. Depending on how the light hits it, it gyrates between pink and purple! The gloss is very smudgy and makes the device look tasteless, like the kind of thing designed to attract idiots who don’t read at all. The physical buttons are fine and aside from the fugly gloss and shiny plastic, it seems well-built and the touchscreen is responsive — when the software itself isn’t being sluggish, which is a lot of the time.
The software just feels, looks, and acts like it was done by amateurs. It’s just astonishing that a company like Sony could have let that be released. That two companies that have specialized in books have kicked Sony’s ass with better eInk software should be sounding the Red Alert there (although I think the Red Alert has been clanging for so long at Sony that everyone has grown deaf to it).
I didn’t enjoy fondling this like I did the Nook Touch.
And especially not like I did the Kindle Basic.
The Nook Touch and even the cheapest Kindle, the Basic, feel like an improvement over their previous model. With the Sony Reader WiFi, it feels like a degeneration of the previous model.
Anyway, fondling the Kindle Basic and the Sony Reader WiFi on the same day, within an hour of one another, opened my eyes a bit.
It no longer makes sense for me to give much of a damn about ePub reading devices. Amazon will kill all of them off. The Kindle Basic is just better engineered — software and hardware — than either the Nook Touch and especially the Sony Reader WiFi. And it costs less than both. I don’t think many people will care that it lacks a touch screen — it’s $79 with spam. That price is just a no-brainer, even with spam. And if they want a touchscreen, they can get one from Amazon too. With 3G also!
I was enthusiastic about the Sony Reader WiFi as a cheap eInk Android sorta-tablet, should it get rooted. But now I think that would be nothing but a waste of my time.
If I want Android, I’d be better served with the 5″ Samsung Galaxy whatever. I wouldn’t have to root, I wouldn’t have to go nuts over software compatibility, and I’d know that Graffiti for Android would work — and help it to become a replacement for my LifeDrive.
Amazon has the books. Amazon will always have the books. You can’t even pre-order the Steve Jobs bio on the Sony Reader Store, for fuck’s sake. What kind of future do you think Sony’s eBook efforts have with that kind of omission?
I’ve said it before, but after seeing how well-made the Kindle Basic was today, it confirms it for me: Amazon has won eBooks. The rest of you pack up and go home.
And if that offends the ePub pushers, go after Amazon to adopt ePub, not me for stating what’s so damned obvious to everyone else.