Dear Jeff Bezos (one-week Kindle review)

I’ve read two books on it, which explains why I haven’t been on Twitter very much in the past week. But the Kindle really bugs me now. I’m hitting all sorts of little things that the Kindle team simply didn’t think through very well.

Here’s my one-week review of Amazon’s Kindle.

I focus on a few areas:

1. No ability to buy paper goods from Amazon through Kindle.
2. Usability sucks. They didn’t think about how people would hold this device.
3. UI sucks. Menus? Did they hire some out-of-work Microsoft employees?
4. No ability to send electronic goods to anyone else. I know Mike Arrington has one. I wanted to send him a gift through this of Alan Greenspan’s new book. I couldn’t. That’s lame.
5. No social network. Why don’t I have a list of all my friends who also have Kindles and let them see what I’m reading?
6. No touch screen. The iPhone has taught everyone that I’ve shown this to that screens are meant to be touched. Yet we’re stuck with a silly navigation system because the screen isn’t touchable.

Would I buy it? Yes, but I’m a geek. I can’t really recommend this to other people yet. Sorry.

It’s obvious that they never had this device in their hands when they were designing it.

Whoever designed this should be fired and the team should start over.

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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.