Friday, January 29, 2010

The Kindle Killer Isn't Very Killer

Before it was even released, the hype surrounding the iPad already helmed it a Kindle killer; whether or not it is, doesn’t really matter because it’s cool, so people will obviously buy it, and thus it will no doubt give Kindle a run for its money. My bet is Amazon is going to respond come summer with something that tries to one up the game.

Name aside, there are a number of reason why the iPad is a bit disappointing.

The biggest flaw for me is there is no USB. Let’s assume you just typed the great American novel and you’re ready to print it. You have two options: sync it or email it. The convenience of saving to a thumb drive is one to be missed. The least they could have done is put in an SD slot that lets you easily put your photos into it. Am I the only one who hates syncing photos on an iPod?

There’s also no HDMI out; sure, you can get an A/V adaptor to hook it up to your TV, but it would be so much easier if you didn’t have to.

You can only customize it if Apple says it’s okay. That really stinks. Every computer has limitations, but this thing is really locked down. You can only install the programs that it approves and change the actual appearance of it if they decide that it is okay to do.

I don’t use webcams often, but I like the feature. They’re dirt cheap to put on computers, so what gives Apple? If this is the bridge between a phone and computer, then why did you remove one feature that is on both?

Wanna upgrade? Wait for the next version to come out and buy a new one. That’s not the case with netbooks and computers; do you need more RAM? A better processor? Bigger hard drive? A screwdriver and a little common sense will probably be able to get the job done.

How about that 10 hour battery? That’s great until it begins to deteriorate, which all batteries quickly do. There’s no replaceable battery.

But Apple has a great commercial, and that’s why everyone, I’ll admit myself included, is lusting after this thing.

Before heading out to buy Apple’s sexiest new gadget, pause for a moment and look at your options.

There are two by Lenovo that should be worthy competitors.

The first is the Lenovo s10-3t; it’s the same price as the Apple, almost the same weight and size, it has a real keyboard built right in, USB and SD slots, and its hard drive is three times the size. It also has Windows 7, which means you can customize it all you want, or even put Linux on it should you desire to do so. The battery life isn’t 10 hours, true, but it should get you 5 to 6 by turning off the Wi-Fi, and if you want more then you can always buy a backup battery.
Even more impressive (but at a rumored twice the price) is the Lenovo Ideapad U1 hybrid, which is also a Windows 7 touch screen that splits apart into a Linux machine (complete with its own processor).
Both of these computers are better, in my opinion, than the iPad, but here I am, with the rest of the world checking out the iPad as if it’s a worthy companion. It’s funny how much hype for a product can actually make you desire a product that is less superior to its competitors.

Will it kill the Kindle? Certainly makes me wonder, and hope Amazon comes out with something to compete. But the Kindle does have one thing on the iPad (aside from a better screen), it’s ridiculously simple and doesn't require any subscription plan—that alone will save you $180 to $360 a year over the subscription plan that Apple has set up with AT&T; plus the Kindle is worldwide.


Anonymous said...

I have a question about Kindle: won't staring at the screen for a long period of time hurt your eyes? That's the only reason why I'm still hesitant to hop on the bandwagon (that, and I have no money).

Scott Douglas said...

Nope. Kindle is something you have to see to believe. It's not like a computer screen at all--it looks 100% like a book--even outside on a sunny day. But actually, I don't think there's actually been any studies that prove computer screens hurt eyes--our kids will probably just evolve to a level where they can stare at a computer screen all day and not get a headache.

Machinegun said...

@tmamone Scott is right. The Kindle is definitely not an eyesore. I would spend nights surfing the internet on my iPhone, and after about thirty minutes, my eyes would ache terribly. Then I would read on my Kindle to calm them down. The Kindle is just great.

@Scott The iPad as a Kindle killer or book reader? I balked at that idea. An LCD panel as a book reader. Seriously? I get teary eyed from staring at my phone too long. Also, if rumors are true then the pricing isn't competitive. Apple might price their books at 13-15 dollars with tax included (Apple taxes everything) whereas new books in the Kindle store are mostly $9.99 tax included.

I wanted to love the iPad when they announced it, but when the reviewers started pouring in with the details, I started to hate it. I might get a version 2 product, but this version 1 iPad was a huge disappointment. No multitasking, camera, or Flash. I'm hoping the hackers will pick this one up to fix.

Scott Douglas said...

@Machinegun, I was actually really surprised at the price. I was expecting 1,000. In reality, the could give the thing away...they're going to make millions selling apps alone. Whatever the case, I think it will be a hit just because it's Apple.

Machinegun said...

@Scott Sadly, you are correct. I've read many Apple "experts" talk about how hardware is lacking in this and that or the software is bad because of this and that. But Apple has made TERRIBLE hardware and software choices especially with the iPad, and the fanboys are glorifying it. Come on guys! If Lenovo or Sony made something just like the iPad then it gets terrible reviews right off the bat. Hypocrites! The whole lot of 'em.

Sorry for the rant Scott, but I'm glad I got that out :)

alexkeller said...

I like my Kindle. I like my iPhone (with the Kindle app btw). I like my MacBook. Me no likey iPad. Who wants to carry that around? Doesn't fit into my pocket, and if I'm going to carry something of size, it might as well be my MacBook.