Do You Kindle? (Part 1)

Yes, I do, and I Kindle with a second generation device to be specific. Why did I get one and what does it really bring to my productivity arsenal? The primary reason I purchased a Kindle was to explore whether one portable device with this form factor could become my single (or at least primary) source of reading and interacting with text and graphic documents. A tremendous amount of my connections and interactions are voice and free form text – this is where my Blackberry device excels. Another part of my life is in the document space, and here, for the most part, the Blackberry form factor is inadequate. Reading attachments such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and PDF documents leaves much to be desired on a Blackberry. Utilities do exist to attempt to remedy these shortcomings, but the solutions are still hit or miss in making documents legible.

Enter the Kindle, a device which supports proprietary wireless as part of the bundled service offering, allowing for the transfer of documents and information wirelessly throughout most of the US. I say US since the network is a Sprint EV-DO network, with primary coverage in major US metropolitan areas. So, this is not yet a global solution wirelessly. Note: Each Kindle is given a unique address – you can view this as an email address or an internet address – either way, every Kindle out there can be uniquely identified and communicated with through Amazon’s network. Amazon’s network is referred to as Amazon Whispernet.

So, how does document support work? Given that the Kindle is primarily an eBook reader, the device works extremely well for text optimized for its 6 inch diagonal display. Using a proprietary format, ebooks compatible with the Kindle are encoded in a special format .AZW and are easily and wirelessly acquired and very easy to read in any of six different font sizes. Non-ebooks such as Word documents can be emailed to the Kindle for wireless delivery (a fee applies) or moved between a PC and the Kindle when the device is attatched to a PC through a USB connection. Word documents, for the most part, are very useable on the Kindle as well. In a real world scenario, if a document needs to be delivered to someone by an assistant, as long as they know the Kindle’s email address and the sender is authorized to send the document (due to the small fee), a Word or other compatible document can be made available to a remote user at whatever latency email and Amazon services introduce – in my experience, less than a minute. So, I send a document to an email address, it shows up on the Kindle less than a minute later.

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