As my Kindle continually asks, I have decided to write to you to pass on my thoughts of my e-book reader. I would like to firstly convey my overall feelings regarding the device, that is to say that I am extremely happy with it. It is extremely well designed and excellently manufactured, it’s size is perfect, though the keyboard may use a little work (I will come on to this later in this letter). The screen for me is a perfect size and the font adjustment works well on the device, the material that the screen is constructed from is perfect for reading from any angle and any light.
However I shall stop going on about the good things as commenting on things that do not need changing is not particularly constructive. So, onto the elements that I feel need working on. As I have already mentioned the keyboard I shall start with that; when typing on the device I sometimes find that I miss hit some of the keys, particularly the M key, I feel this could be rectified by increasing the size of keys slightly and a personal preference would make the buttons square as opposed to round. Next I will move onto the software for I have no further comments regarding the hardware.
Categories, for me are an important part of the Kindle, I like to have all my books/texts organised into categories, such as reference, crime, biographies etc etc however what I would like to see in a future revision of the OS is to allow categories within categories, to further allow organisation of texts. Also currently the Kindle places the most recently opened category at the top of the list, however this can increase the time it takes to locate a specific category, I would like to be able to have this statically organised, alphabetically for example, as well as it’s current organisational option, it would offer greater flexibility for the users of the Kindle.
Next I would like to comment on the web browser, this has been an incredibly useful feature of the device for me, covering many uses, including keeping an eye on sporting fixtures whilst on a train and using the Transport of London site to check train times and routes. I appreciate with the nature of an e-ink screen making a browser effective is slightly more challenging especially with today’s websites. However making the browser more prominent within the menu system and adding a few more traditional features to the browser such as being able to download files (of course ones that can be opened via a Kindle (such as PDF’s and docs.) I appreciate that this will increase the amount of data that you have to undoubtedly pay for on the 3G models but as per the document delivery process you could charge for the documents over the mobile network whilst over WiFi offer free downloading of said documents.
I’ll move on now to another experimental option on the Kindle, the music player, this for me has not been used, that is not to say however that I would not use it. The fact the player will only play the files in order that they are uploaded to the device makes the application pointless. There is little else that needs to be done to the player barring giving a random track option and maybe playing a specific Artist or Album and of course making it more easily accessible in the menu options.
The last element of the Kindle experience I want to comment on is the actual Amazon website. There is little I can say to improve the site, it works very well and is easy to use however there are a couple of things specifically with the Kindle section that could use a bit of work. I appreciate you say you are working on this but being able to purchase books on others wish list and scheduled a delivery date is an important element that needs to be corrected. Lastly from me is the subject of Newspapers. I would like primarily to comment on the number of newspapers that are available, I would like to see more papers available, certainly national ones such as the Guardian and maybe even local ones.
Secondly this comment comes by proxy from a family member who also has a Kindle, The quality of some papers (most specifically the Daily Mail) has been very very poor. I am not sure how the articles are converted to Kindle format but many times the Mail has been on the verge of unreadable, garbled unintelligible words, repeated sentences and articles that relate to pictures that are totally pointless without the picture. This has marred what has been an exceptional experience for this family member who, loves her Kindle as much as I and she has returned to the printed version of the paper. I personally have not experienced such issues in reading the Times or the Telegraph so assuming the paper does the conversion of the articles as opposed to Amazon, maybe you could feedback to them about the severe lack of quality.
With that comment, I have come to the end of my feedback on the Kindle and the Kindle experience. I am going to leave this as an open letter on my website www.andrewwardlaw.com so that people who see it can comment and possibly add their feelings in the comment section. That way if there is enough new material I can send an updated letter to you with other peoples views.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and thank you for developing such an incredible device.