Note that this is a photo that shows both the White and Graphite Kindle 3's together, since forum members have been wondering which one to get and there are few pictures of the non-Graphite-color model.
TechNewsWorld's Katherine Noyes asks, "Are Amazon's New Kindles Tablets-in-Training?"
She and others wonder about this because Amazon is moving to the WebKit-based browser, which is an open source web browser engine. Per the succinct definition at the link, "open source" refers to "any program whose source code is made available for use or modification as users or other developers see fit. Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and made freely available."
WebKit is also the name of the Mac OS X system framework version of the engine that's used by Safari, Dashboard, Mail, and many other OS X applications. So it starts to become clearer that this new version of an experimental Basic Web browser (offered since the first Kindle in 2007) is going to be less sluggish and awkward than the one on current models often is, although the latter's been improved somewhat in the last 2-3 months with software version 2.5.x.
WebKit is the basis of many smartphone web browsers (which also work best with text-focused or mobile-device optimized sites), so we should expect that kind of response with the new Kindles, including the optional, selectable 'Article Mode' capability that strips a page of all but the main body of text, leaving out banners and a ton of links to other places that are often seen on the sides of a webpage. Yes, especially on my page, though I hope the reference-info in the right column is useful when accessing via a computer.
That will make following links to pages like this one far more doable in the Kindle Edition of the blog.
Here are some main thoughts I felt were 'on the money' from Noyes's article:
' Amazon's new, slimmed-down Kindle devices are notable for several things, not the least of which are the upgrades to their experimental WebKit browser.
It's faster and easier to navigate, says Amazon, and its new "article mode" feature extracts the main text-based content from Web pages for easier reading.
Free Web browsing with Kindle over 3G or WiFi is also part of the package, thanks to a new beta program, Amazon announced.
"The Kindle has always had a limited browser -- it is just getting a bit more capability this time," Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld. "It lends itself to specialized and text-focused kinds of content."
'Browsing Is Intentionally Limited'
"Kindles have a keyboard and a track stick, and much of the Web content is static and just fine with e-paper," Enderle explained. After all, "PCs didn't have touchscreens, and they were fine with the Web."
Still, "the wireless model builds the cost of access into book transactions, and browsing is intentionally limited to not drive Kindle financial performance into the red," he noted.
[Emphases on quotes are mine, but I've always felt this was an important point.]
"The Kindle is focused on e-commerce transactions, and while these initially are just books, I expect you'll be able to buy a wider variety of things in the future," Enderle predicted. "In fact, I'm kind of surprised you can't just shop on Amazon using it yet."
[Actually, you CAN shop on Amazon using it, at some regular links.
It's not recommended as it takes a long time to load the pages for things like the Top100 Free or Paid books, but I tried it one day and was able to get a book from tne normal Top100 page.]
Ultimately, however, "I really see them playing in a different territory, defined by features but also by price, as a specialized device," [Al] Hilwa [program director for application development software research at IDC] concluded. "The problem with reading is that to expand beyond the hard-core book readers, they have to have browsing, because for a lot of people reading is a fragmented, hyperlink-chasing experience where we are looking up phrases, words, ideas, news, etc."
'A Very Defined Usage Model'
Amazon has actually indicated that it is "not interested in building another tablet, which is rapidly becoming a crowded market," Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist with In-Stat, pointed out.
Rather, "Amazon seems content building a device with limited functionality and a very defined usage model," McGregor told TechNewsWorld. "I would not read too much into the inclusion of the browser other than to enhance the current functionality of the device to access content from Amazon."
One current problem, of course, "is that TFT displays like the iPad uses suck for reading because they aren't outdoor viewable and are very power hungry," Enderle pointed out. "Display technologies like the Qualcomm Mirasol stuff [subdued color with e-paper-like qualities but able to do video] will change this over the next 18 months, and by the end of next year -- likely before -- we'll begin to see converged devices."
In the meantime, "the spoiler in the market is still Google, which doesn't have an Android tablet yet but certainly will have one soon," Gillin noted. "I would expect that all three of those companies" -- Amazon, Apple and Google -- "will battle it out. There is plenty of market for everybody, so all of them can win." '
The article included other quotes with different viewpoints that were less convincing to me but if curious about them, you should read the full article.
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