I’m going to pat myself on the back for this post because I was “this close” to not posting at all today. If you’re not sure why, see the previous post about my hellish weekend to Mass. Anyhow…. it’s Tuesday and that means we’re back to speaking about my favorite eBook reader, the Amazon Kindle. Today I wanted to address the ‘killer app’ as they call it in the tech world. For those of you who don’t have any clue what that means, the killer app is the one amazing thing about a computer or product that it kills on. For the Kindle, its ace in the hole is the built-in ‘Amazon Whispernet’.
One thing that a lot of people don’t know about the Kindle is that it never needs to be hooked up to a computer, which is a big plus for people who are bad with technology. The reader is charged with a standard plug and that is the only time a wire must be hooked up. If you’re looking to get books onto the device, you’re going to do it right on-board. I cannot tell you how valuable this simple idea is to the Kindle as a whole.
Sony has a reader that has no built-in wireless. This means that when you want to get a book, you must get to your home computer and search their program for the particular book you want. Once you find & buy it, you then must sync your reader to copy it over. If you’re not home, you’re out of luck. I hope you have a pen and paper with you so you can remember it later. The Kindle nixes all of this.
If you have a modern cell phone, you know you can access the internet anywhere via the cellular network. Normally this is a paid service that is added to your plan. The advantage of cell data is that you can be virtually anywhere and get online. The Kindle uses this technology to deliver a knockout to the Sony reader. If you want a book, you simply click the navigation wheel from any screen and select “Shop in Kindle Store”. You’re Kindle connects and brings you right to the storefront. Along with the recommendations and ‘front shelf’ items, your cursor is defaulted to a search box making it even easier to find what you want. Once you find your book and purchase it, it downloads instantly over the air and within one minute your book is ready to go.
When I first heard about this whole thing, I suspected there was marketing involved. I was surprised to find out that Amazon was 100% truthful in their claims. Anything I’ve bought has been ready to go within 30 seconds. Additionally, I was ready for Amazon to tack on a monthly service fee or one-time premium fee for the data access. I mean someone has to foot the bill for the data being transferred through the Sprint network. Well Amazon gives it to you gratis. That’s right. Use all the internet you want because it’s free. The price you pay for the Kindle includes the data.
You, my dear C.N. readers, know what it’s like when you speak to someone about a book or author. Almost always, someone will recommend a book or writer that you should check out. Any time this happens to me, I will instantly pull out my Kindle and see if they’re available in Kindle format. If so, I tag the book as “Save For Later” and know I have a potential new book in my queue. The on-board wireless also is great because you can utilize the amazing Amazon recommendation engine to see what books are suggested for you. I, for one, find it pretty accurate.
As I’m sure you can all guess, this feature of the Kindle was a major selling point for me. Aside from being Mac compatible (you can hook it up to a computer if you want) the Whispernet was the feature that put it over the line for me over the Sony reader. You never know how valuable it is until you’re sitting in La Guardia airport and want to read the NY Times, then having it $0.75 and thirty seconds later. I didn’t even need to get out of my seat!