Friday, November 6, 2009

Kindle and Sprint/AT&T coverage / A borrowed Nook? UPDATE

UPDATE 11/6/09 - Original posting 11/3/09.
I have time to do only minimal reading when I get a connection, but I did get on just now and saw a new article re the Nook's problems with more details. I had not read about the more recent meetings between B&N and Spring, which I think is difficult for B&N while trying to release this product. It's from The Examiner. (San Francisco).  The newer information described this:
' Court documents state that Spring Design shared its design for its upcoming Alex ereader with a Barnes and Noble consultant on February 17 of this year, five days after both companies signed a non-disclosure agreement. On March 20, representatives from Spring Design met with the head of Barnes and Noble’s software development department, Ravi Gopalakrishnan. During the meeting, Mr. Gopalakrishnan allegedly stated that Barnes and Noble wanted a product that would compete with Amazon’s Kindle.

Spring Design alleges that a series of meetings between the two companies were then held in April and May, with several Barnes and Noble executives in attendance. During one of the meetings, representatives from Spring Design allegedly gave a product demonstration and showed a Powerpoint video of its Alex ereader to B& president William Lynch and B&N CFO Kevin Frain. Spring Design alleges that Mr. Frain warned the company to avoid partnering with Amazon for content, due to the concern that Amazon would steal Spring Design’s idea for its ereader.

Spring Design alleges that Barnes and Noble made contact in July, requesting a summary of Spring Design’s product development. Barnes and Noble then held a meeting with Spring Design’s CEO on October 1 in order to discuss the possibility of revenue sharing for the Alex in the university textbook market. In its court filing, Spring Design alleges that Barnes and Noble “made no mention during that meeting or any other meeting with Spring that it was actually in the process of developing a device with many of the product features contained in the Spring design.” '

I'm still on vacation, this time near Petra in Jordan and won't be back at the main computer for another week and there's not much time to get on, even if I can.  BUT I got on tonight and did some reading.

1. A PC World article proclaimed the current Sony Touch Edition superior to the Kindle without knowing that the Kindle has free 24-hr web access to sites everywhere, for U.S. residents, though it is far better to access mainly-text sites, since it is slow otherwise, and the writer assumed one can buy books only from Amazon, which regular readers of this blog know is completely untrue.  A Gizmodo reviewer who actually has used the Kindle and the Sony has good detail in his write-up, which I included a link to within an earlier blog entry.

  International customers now get Wikipedia free 24/7, which no other e-reader is offering, very useful for students or people who like to look up info.

2. Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader won't exist as an actual useable product until December, and yet some writers consider it preferable to the Kindle, without ever seeing how it functions -- the attraction is based almost entirely on its looks, with a color LCD screen (battery drainer) for browsing books (or ads) below the b&w e-ink reading screen, although the fact that it will read ePub direct is a big plus.  The Kindle requires a conversion for that.

  Library rentals may be possible, but there is conflicting information from B&N on that. Loans to friends for 2 weeks will be a feature though some publishers have resisted this.

  It definitely will not have free 24/7 web access for U.S. residents (and Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico) as the Kindle does (worth at least $30/mo.).   Nor will it read books, articles, documents, etc., to you (though some would prefer it didn't).

  In the meantime, a company is suing Barnes & Noble for what it considers theft of the color LCD feature, as they showed it to B&N last January and B&N signed a non-disclosure agreement on that.

3. Getting to the first subject of the title, some have worried that our Kindle 2's and DX's will be negatively affected by the AT&T contract but assurances have been given to some customers that Sprint converage will continue for these domestic models.   Some comments to forums and to this blog in some of the entries indicate that if AT&T access isn't available in your area it will try to get another connection for you.

A US resident currently in Germany found she could use her web browser there.  We don't know if that was intended since wireless rates are higher there.

Others in the U.S. report that AT&T may not be available in their area while Sprint is, and vice versa.  When I get back I'll be looking into this.  In the meantime, here's one interesting thread with a lot of different experiences reported. 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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