Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Kindle and Sprint EV-DO's 24/7 wireless costs

There are no wireless costs at this point for the customer.  But there are for Amazon.  Information Week's Howard Anderson writes:
"On vacation, my wife was busy reading books on her new Kindle 2.0.  Do you know what they call Sherpas in the developed world? Husbands.  For years, I would go on vacation with a hernia-producing bag of reading material.  I was carrying atoms; now I carry electrons -- much lighter. The publishers make money because they don't have to buy paper and pay printers and the Postal Service.  Amazon makes money because it doesn't have to ship anything.  The consumer (me) gets books for $9.95.  The Kindle is as impressive as the iPhone, maybe more so.  How is this possible?  Because Sprint Nextel has excess capacity, which it sells to Amazon.  If you can't use your extra capacity to sell cellular service, then wholesale it to someone who can.

So Sprint Nextel is going to try to replicate what it's done with Amazon with any number of consumer electronics companies, such as Garmin, which offers a GPS device.  And since Sprint has excess capacity, it can assume that its costs are (almost) zero.  No billing expenses, no customer service.  That was what really cost money..."
It seems Sprint is looking to make similar deals with other companies, including Garmin.  Might that have an impact on wireless network speed?  There are times when I wonder if they intentionally throttle the download speeds for the Kindle access (unless we happen to be at the Amazon Kindle store).

Also, there are now many articles mentioning the enthusiastic use of the Kindle 2 by either the writer or the spouse.  I was surprised to see a somewhat over-the-top love letter to the Kindle by's Jacob Weisberg, who is Slate Group's chairman and editor-in-chief and author of The Bush Tragedy.  A few of his remarks:
"I'm doing my best not to become a Kindle bore.  When I catch myself evangelizing to someone who couldn't care less about the marvels of the 2.0 version of Amazon's reading machine -- I can take a whole library on vacation!  Adjust the type size!  Peruse the morning paper without getting out of bed! -- I pause and remember my boyhood friend Scott H., who loved showing off the capabilities of his state of-the-art stereo but had only four records because he wasn't really that into music.

So apologies in advance if I'm irksomely enthusiastic about my cool new literature delivery system. Like the early PCs, the Kindle 2 is a primitive tool...But however the technology and marketplace evolve, Jeff Bezos has built a machine that marks a cultural revolution."
But then he goes too far, in surmising:
"The Kindle 2 signals that after a happy, 550-year union, reading and printing are getting separated.  It tells us that printed books, the most important artifacts of human civilization, are going to join newspapers and magazines on the road to obsolescence..."
WELL, I don't think so.  This is more like the idea that television would spell the death of movie theaters.  Most of us K-readers want both DTBs ("Dead Tree Books") AND K-books and periodicals (plus personal docs) on our Kindles.  I read far more than I did before but also find myself spending more time in Barnes & Noble enjoying hard-copy books of the type that cannot be shown successfully on a small e-ink unit.  However, in time, that will change too, I suppose.

 But a book or magazine with its own unique physical attributes and layout will always be an attraction, and a special treasure, although for actual ease of reading, it's hard to beat being able to change the font size and spacing between lines to suit our particular eyesight preferences and being able to carry around so much with you when out of the home.  Long waiting lines are no longer a problem for me.

If you click on the image that starts this entry, you'll be at a page that explains how wireless technology works, without hammering the reader with jargon. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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