The Kindle 2 – Still Room for Improvement

I surprised my husband with a Kindle this week for our anniversary. Because I already have a Kindle and there are books on it he’d like to read, it made sense to buy another Kindle so they could be hooked to the same account and we could share books. Sharing my Kindle was out of the question, as its rare when I don’t have it with me. I debated swapping the new Kindle 2 for my own and giving him my first Kindle, but I decided to stick with the first generation Kindle for myself.

The Kindle 2 does solve some of the annoyances of the Kindle 1. The “next page” and “prev page” buttons are smaller so it’s easier to pick up without accidentally turning pages. The keyboard has uniformed sized keys and the navigation cursor is on-screen instead of on the silver bar on the side. The five-way toggle button gives the navigation menus more flexibility.

The Kindle 2 is both powered and synced with a single USB cable with a removable electrical prong adapter. However, much like the iPod/iPhone, it has a proprietary connector on the device end. The Kindle 1 has a separate proprietary power cord, but the USB connector is standard – great for when I decide I need to sync on a Word document or converted PDF at the office and can use any mini-USB cable within my reach.

The Kindle 2 doesn’t have any way to expand the internal 2GB memory, but Amazon worked around that by making “archived” purchased content (content that you removed from your Kindle) available directly from the Kindle instead of having to log on to the Kindle management page and have those items pushed out to your device again. This allows you easily to swap books on and off the device if you run out of space. This is a convenience feature I have a bit of an issue with and would like to see some kind of “content control” option for it.

For example, a parent in a family with several avid readers (whom all have Kindles on the same account) might not want their teenager to be able to easily see or download the same books that the adults are reading. And a parent might not be interested in having scroll past the latest slew of “vampire” books when looking for their particular archived content.

This “hive mindset” around the shared content means that if two people have the same book downloaded, both Kindles continuely try to keep track of what was the last page read was – as if the same person read on either device. Also, I’m a big fan of the “sort by most recent first” option for my book menu, so having something that my husband is reading, but I’m not, floating to the top of my book list is a bit irksome.

The ability to specify which content is available to which devices or providing sub-accounts per Kindle would be a great feature addition that could help work around some of these issues. Not only could you better control sharing of content between devices, one might be able use different payment options per Kindle, instead of having all linked Kindles charge to the same credit card.

Overall, I think the Kindle 2 does make some nice improvements to the Kindle 1, but not enough of them to make me want to replace my original Kindle any time soon.

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2 thoughts on “The Kindle 2 – Still Room for Improvement

  1. Since Barnes & Noble just released *their* reader and support 'lending' books, I suspect Amazon will soon implement share-a-book functionality as well. Then, D can get use his own account, and you won't have the irksome collisions.

    As a single-person Kindle/Amazon account user, it's interesting to think of a group of people using a single acocunt, and the challenges that would present.

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  2. Since I had been a single-person user of the Kindle for a while, I simply assumed that the content sharing feature would be more segregated than it ended up to be. I was really surprised to find the second device so closely linked to the first.

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