Kindle DX and PDF

With my Amazon Kindle DX having arrived the other day, I set out to test its capabilities around PDF useability. The Amazon Kindle DX, unlike its smaller sibling, the Kindle 2, supports PDF natively. What this means is that PDF documents can be moved directly to the Kindle DX without a conversion process. For the Kindle 2, a PDF document must be converted to an AZW (Kindle) format by first emailing the document to Amazon’s servers for processing. This is fast, my experience has always been in the 1-2 minute range, but a conversion is required. The Kindle DX, with native support, eliminates the need for this, and documents can be directly sent to the Kindle’s email address (for a fee) or dragged and dropped to the Kindle DX’s documents folder if connected through the USB port.
In summary, PDF support works well but not without some useability concerns. The screen size, 9.7″ diagonal gives a great deal more real estate for reading documents, but it is sometimes still not enough to read fine print text. Rotating the DX to landscape (which automatically rotates the document if the device is set appropriately) makes text much more legible, but breaks pages more or less in the middle.
For documents which are totally in the electronic realm, creating a Kindle DX sized PDF is also helpful. I tested a large Microsoft Powerpoint presentation, and found that printing the document to PDF with the dimensions of 7.69″ wide by 4.76″ high, yielded a document which behaved well once moved to the Kindle DX, although page registration still changed if the powerpoint had many pages. This same size worked well with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with the same caveats.
Why is this important? Since the Kindle DX does not support all document types, if you would like to see and use the document on the device, it must be converted to a compatible format, in this case a PDF. Since Powerpoint and Excel formats are not supported, a good way to have access to them on the Kindle DX is to convert them to PDF documents with a page size of 7.69″ by 4.76″.
Keep in mind, there is no security yet for the Kindle family of products – powering on the unit gives whoever is holding the unit the ability to access everything on the device. Hopefully a sign-on password is in the works, to at least allow the device to function more broadly with corporate needs.

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