Kindle 3G 3.0.2 Experience

Andrew Bolster

Researcher at the University of Liverpool, Founder/Director at Farset Labs

Kindle-3G-Wireless-Reading-DeviceJust under a month after ordering, with a shipping schedule fraught with manufacturing delays and pushed-back dispatch dates (Not complaining, I’m not the only one so everyone was shocked by the demand also) I recieved my new UK kindle 3g at 11 this morning.

Immediately I loaded some math-loaded PDF’s which the free.amazon.com document converter handled with ease, then started going through my usual list of sites on the free 3G network, Twitter (largley fine but sluggish), Facebook (buggy with regards to javascript elements, occasionally freezing completely needing to be latched-off and on again) Google-Apps Mail(constantly refreshing and wouldn’t load stably), google reader (worked perfectly out of the box including keyboard shortcuts, which are awesome!) and my ToDo list of late, TeuxDeux (sluggish and slightly misaligned, but usable)

Then, lo’ and behold, this article appears in my Google Reader from the KindleWorldBlog, indicating a new pre-release update.

In short, I have never had such an aptly timed update; Its as if Amazon have psychically heard me over the Whispernet and fixed more or less everything (TeuxDeux is still a bit skew wiff, but liveable)

Oh, did I mention? The e-ink screen renders advanced latex-style math perfectly! This frankly amazed me. But the best thing I can say about the screen is the oft-proclaimed readability is, if anything, understated.

Even before the update, the screen refreshes were almost perfect, and definitely at least as fast as turning a page in deadtree  (as long as your going one page forward or back, the page-caching seemed to falter on significant page-jumps) but with the 3.0.2 update, many-dozen-page jumps are handled with relative ease.

While this may not be a life changing device, it is pretty darned close. The only thing stopping Google Docs from functioning is lack of  ’one window’ support in Docs (which would be a perfect replacement for a native note-taker),  and I don’t blame Amazon for not going tabbed; The Kindle in my opinion is a focused device; there is no alt-tab, there (to my knowledge) is no copy/paste from browser to book (or back). But thats not a problem, in fact, its the point.

The iPad is a jack of all trades; ebooks, games, browsing, social media, media viewing and generation, and more stuff that I could never think of. The Kindle is an ebook reader, literally born and bred, with a infant browser incubating along side. When I’m reading something in an e-paper or an e-book that I have no idea about, I can pop over, spend 5 minutes familiarising myself with the wikipedia article, and go back. I can comfortably read google reader (save for the videos) at a bus stop or on the train. If I come across a truely inspiring piece of prose, I can share it with my social network in situ.

If it wasn’t for the lack of native or google-docs text editing, (and the lack of SSH client), I would carry my laptop alot less than I do now.

Published: September 21 2010

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