Amazon are set to release an electronic book reader called the Kindle today according to NewsWeek.
The device sounds cool, in theory (built-in wireless over EVDO, email, long-life batteries, search, lots of storage, etc.) but do we really want another device to be carrying around?
Especially at the price point being talked about ($399).
I’m already carrying my phone, laptop, iPod and sometimes my dSLR camera. I say sometimes because at this point I often make a choice – which one can I manage without.
I can’t imagine forking out for a Kindle. Especially not when I can get much of the promise of the Kindle on my iPod (and more besides).
Having said all that, I think Tim O’Reilly makes a great point when he says:
I’m rooting for Jeff and the Kindle. I’m not sure that he’s going to win his bet that people will use a single-purpose device rather than reading on a multi-function device like the iPhone and its successors. But I’m also not sure he needs to. Even if some other device becomes the reader of choice, Amazon will still become one of the leading sources of the books that feed it. All Amazon needs to do here is move the industry forward, and I think that’s already been accomplished.
Joel Spolsky has written an interesting critique of Windows Vista where he points out that there are up to 15 ways to turn a Windows Vista computer off (I can think of a 16th – don’t license it and Windows will automatically disable your computer!).
He goes on to suggest ways to trim the number of choices down and effectively bring the number of options down to one or two.
However, Joel uses an out of date reference in his article. He says:
The more choices you give people, the harder it is for them to choose, and the unhappier they’ll feel. See, for example, Barry Schwartz’s book, The Paradox of Choice.
What Joel presumably doesn’t realise is that the Paradox of Choice’s findings have since been discredited by the authors of the paper on which Schwartz himself based his book. In their follow-up paper Knowing What You Like versus Discovering What You Want: The Influence of Choice Making Goals on Decision Satisfaction, the authors realised that when choice was ordered in ways which helped the consumer, more choice is better. Hence the success of Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, etc.
However, in the case of Vista, as Joel points out, who knows the difference between Hibernate and Sleep or Lock/Log Off/Switch User? In this case, it does seem Microsoft haven’t gone far enough to explain the differences and therefore only succeed in confusing their users.
Michele spotted recently that Amazon.co.uk have recently changed their policies and are now no longer shipping orders to Ireland.
They will ship to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales no problem but not to the Republic of Ireland.
A number of the comments indicate that this may be in breach of EU regulations.
Obviously Amazon doesn’t believe our money is as good as people from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales!
Michele informed me in the comments that Amazon have only stopped shipping PC & Video Games, Toys & Games and Gift items to Ireland – curiously, they will still ship books, cds and dvds!
I note it was reported yesterday that Amazon are opening a multi-lingual callcentre in Cork, with the support of IDA Ireland. Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, MicheÃ¡l Martin helps himself to some of the credit, naturally.
Local business development consultant, Donagh Kiernan mentioned it in his blog:
This further copper fastens Irelandâ€™s strength in securing the new economy multinationals.
Also with the recent announcement of Cork company DSIâ€™s partnership with Amazon, Ireland is really showing itâ€™s world class capabilities in the new economy in attracting such commitments.
Congratulations to the IDA, Minister Michael Martin and his team..
Bernie Goldbach has written a bit about this as well and unfortunately I suspect his views are a lot closer to the truth of the matter – specifically Bernie says:
Amazon Cork doesn’t sound as techie as Amazon Dublin, where a Systems and Networks and Operating Centre runs in the Digital Hub in Dublin. Amazon Cork sounds like a call centre and those things are the 21st century’s equivalent of a clothing factory…. I would be curious to see what Amazon thinks is the attraction of Ireland. I still think it’s the friendly tax regime. It’s certainly not a robust teleworking infrastructure, nor is it high-speed road access between Cork and Dublin nor is it low cost of operations.
Bernie has hit the nail on the head here – Amazon have come to Cork despite the poor infrastructure and because of the tax breaks. They located their call centre in Cork – something they can pick up and drop in another location at a moments notice. Call centre jobs are low paying, high churn jobs. Minister Martin, you would be better advised looking for high value jobs for Cork – ones with an R&D component, for example. The Amazon call centre will last here 5 years tops and will you be around to take the credit when they move on?