The recently released Amazon Kindle DX was the company’s newest take on their popular ebook reader, but despite its near-$400 price tag, the Kindle DX didn’t really offer anything that previous versions of the Kindle offered. The screen was a bit bigger, and there was no WiFi–other than that, the Kindle DX was a disappointment to Kindle fans who had been waiting patiently for a new & improved Amazon ebook reader.
But really, what were they expecting? In short, Kindle readers wanted a device that fixed a few of the older Kindle models’ flaws. Here’s a look at a few things that Amazon could do to improve the next generation of the Kindle.
1. Color. I know, it’s hard to balance the whole “digital ink” thing with color, but it’d be nice to see color as a standard option on the next generation of the Kindle if it’s at all possible. There’s nothing like seeing the vibrant cover art of your favorite book, and it’s definitely a part of the reading experience. Color would also make the Kindle’s basic Internet browser much more fun and usable-although it may put more strain on the AT&T 3G network than current generations of the Kindle use.
2. More memory. Memory is fairly cheap, so why not introduce a Kindle with 10-40 GB of storage space? This would make the mp3 player on the Kindle more than a curiosity, and it would really open the device up for educational facilities and heavy readers who enjoy collecting thousands of books. Again, there may be some concern that too much memory would strain the 3G network, but I somehow doubt that-the Kindle’s reader base isn’t close to large enough to seriously strain AT&T’s service, and even if thousands of readers logged on tomorrow to download massive numbers of books, they wouldn’t come close to the bandwidth requirements of a device like the Apple iPhone.
3. Better media playing capabilities. Modern gadget lovers appreciate a device that can handle more than one task, and while the Kindle is quite the ebook reader, it can’t really do much of anything else. Its mp3 player isn’t well organized, and additional features like the basic web browser feel stilted. Improving these features would go a long way towards making the next generation Kindle a must-have device.
Amazon could go too far, of course, by adding too many extra features to the Kindle. Nobody expects the next iPhone, and I feel that it would be a mistake to add movie playing capabilities or the like to the Kindle. A bit of attention to the current generation’s extra features is all that Amazon really needs to improve the Kindle drastically.
4. A better user interface. Like most ebook readers, the Kindle occasionally feels way too clunky. It can be hard to get around in the device’s simple operating system, and all great gadgets need an effortless UI to really capture their owners’ imaginations. Some simple interface, with better organization tools and maybe touch functionality, would make the Kindle a better buy for casual readers. Amazon has already done a lot to grab the hardcore reader market. Going after casual readers is an obvious next step, and a good user interface is crucial to that strategy.
What improvements would you like to see in the next generation of the Amazon Kindle? Post in our comments section below.