Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, and I were at an Orange party tonight. His Amazon Kindle didn’t show up yet (it comes tomorrow) so I showed it to him. He hated the UI, so I turned on my cell phone and recorded him goofing around a bit.

Etch a Sketch is better, huh? Yikes.

Oh, Mike’s always saying my videos are boring (although he admitted to me that he watches them). I wonder what he’ll say about my videos now that he’s been on one?

Oh #2 Ben Higginbotham of Technology Evangelist ACTUALLY HAS TWO SONY READERS and gives us his 12-hour video review of the Kindle and he disagrees with Mike, saying the navigation is “sexy cool.”

Buying TechCrunch on the Kindle

Here’s my first use of the Amazon Kindle. I buy TechCrunch. All at the beach, er Half Moon Bay Ritz.

Then I find out there’s a browser which actually is better than buying blogs. Ahh, too bad Mike, you won’t get my $.60! 🙂

I bought the New York Times, too.

What was great was there’s no setup at all. It comes pre set up. Very cool. Jeff Bezos even said “welcome Robert.” Heheh.

I have another video coming soon where I walked around the neighborhood with it.

Oh, and Mike, thanks for giving us bloggers all a vacation! Just what we need to play more with our Kindle’s!

What’s really fun is that if you buy TechCrunch you don’t get the comments, but if you get the free version you get comments!

UPDATE: here’s my walk around the neighborhood while using the Kindle for the first time too. In my walk video you see what the screen is like in sunlight and shaded light.

Oh, and James Kendrick gives you his video first impressions too.

Kindle unboxing

Well, this won’t get me a job at Engadget but here goes, my Amazon Kindle just showed up and I took video of the unboxing. It’s a lot smaller and lighter than I remembered (I saw a prototype more than six months ago) and it’s cute! I gotta put it next to an iPhone next.

I’ve only had it open about 10 minutes so far and one thing I notice I don’t like is the flashing as you turn pages. I’ll do a video of that so you can see what I mean.

The text, though, is a LOT nicer to read than on my laptop screen. At least in my upstairs office where things are nice and bright.

I’m going to go down to the Ritz and take some videos to show you why this is a lot better than a laptop or cell phone screen for reading text, though. Be back in a little while.

I’m having dinner with Mike Arrington of TechCrunch. It’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of his.

UPDATE: one nice thing is it comes personalized to your Amazon account so you can instantly buy a book and start using it without putting in any personal information. That’s wicked cool.

Amazon Reader Hate

Seth Godin: “You won’t find me on Amazon’s new book reader.”

Rex Hammock: “I’d rather have an iPod Touchbook.”

Mathew Ingram: WTF?

Jeremy Toeman: It will fail.

My thoughts?

That Jeremy is probably right. I’m excited about the new reader to be sure. But getting geeks like me excited by a new “shiny toy” is pretty easy. Getting a large market excited? That’s a LOT harder.

Why am I excited by this? Because it brings some very real advances to devices. Is it too expensive? For many people, yes. But one thing I’ve learned is that if something in the technology industry is too expensive today just stay alive for a few years. I remember when Steve Wozniak had a color printer that cost $40,000 that today’s $70 printers are better than.

For $400 this device is pretty damn remarkable. It can be read out in bright sunlight (my $3,000 Mac can’t do that). Its battery lasts dozens of hours. It’s a joy to use for the stated purpose: reading.

I do agree with Seth and Mathew: I really wish they had found a way to give away a stack of books and other content (including blogs). I told them almost the exact same thing Seth did and, yes, my words were just as unsuccessful at hitting the mark.

That said, even if Jeff Bezos turns out to be a failure here this device will push the market simply by getting you all to consider a world where you read your books off of a screen rather than off of paper. To me that’s interesting.

One other thing I told the team? Get Google Reader onto this thing. In fact, I tried to get my link blog onto it instead of just my blog (and I pitched them to include TechMeme, Digg, and Slashdot, among others, on it). We’ll see later today what they decided, but I don’t think they got the link blog onto it.