Kindle from Amazon.com
Amazon Kindle is a new, portable reading device that allows users to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. The Kindle is about size of a paperbook and weighs only 10.3 ounces. The 256 MB internal memory can store hundreds of books, and an available SD memory slot provides unlimited storage possibilities. Its “electronic paper display technology” provides a sharp, non-glare screen. The black and white screen uses digital ink and resembles the printed paper of a book. It can be viewed easily at any angle.
Books are downloaded using Amazon’s wireless delivery system, Whispernet. No computer or syncing is necessary, and there is no monthly wireless fee. Kindle owners can download books anywhere, instantly, and they can sample the beginning of the book before actually agreeing to its purchase. Newspaper subscriptions are delivered electronically every morning, and magazines are often delivered before they hit the newsstand.
A copy of every book purchased is backed up online in “Your Media Library.” This backup library allows Kindle users to free memory on their device and to download books onto their computers for USB transfer to the device in areas where wireless service is unavailable.
Other handy features include a Search option. Users can enter text or articles that they want to access, and Kindle will search their entire library. Users can add annotations to text, similar to writing in the margins of a book; they can also edit, delete, and export notes, highlight and clip key passages, and bookmark pages for future use. A built-in dictionary lets readers look up unfamiliar words as they read. Text size can be adjusted to meet individual comfort needs.
TECH-NJ staff tested the Kindle and tried all of these features and was very favorably impressed with its ease of use, comfort, and convenience. If only it offered text-to-speech for struggling readers! Adding text-to speech to this commercial device would open up the world of reading for pleasure to millions of people with print disabilities.
The Kindle costs $399 and can be purchased at www.amazon.com.