Monday, November 19, 2007
I had the opportunity to see Jeff Bezos' presentation of the Kindle today, the new e-book reader. I have to say that it looked a lot like Steve Jobs doing a presentation. Everything down to the $9.99 price tag for most books.
The pricing seems akin to the $0.99 per song download price for songs on iTunes. More importantly, it may be the tipping point at which many of us would consider buying an electronic device to read a book. The price point is significant because most ebooks are actually overpriced, with poor screens and poor battery life. Sony's version of this released earlier this year should have been very successful, but it lacked an important element- the ability to be a stand alone product. One needed to use a computer to download content and then use a cable to bring that content to the reader.
Amazon has gone one better. In a really great move, Bezos has created a device that will use the cellular EVDO, instead of cables or wifi to download all of that content. It is estimated that 90 seconds is all it will take to download a major hardcover. Added to this is the ability to subscribe to newspapers and have those delivered to the device. This looks and sounds incredible. Bezos has also included the ability to download blogs and apparently includes a rudimentary browser (this needs to be confirmed). The price for all of this wonderful online activity: $ 0.00 ! That's right, Amazon will have the consumer fund this activity by paying to send emails or messages at $0.10 per message. Seems fair to me.
And that's not all! Bezos has included audio, so that you can also download Audiobooks to the device and listen when ready. There is even a keyboard present for annotation.
This looks like a really interesting device. One that could hold a plethora of material, but of course the negatives have to be entertained: For example, can you download a book that is not from Amazon.com? Can you upload your own ebooks? Do black and white illustrations display in high resolution grey scale (very important for Anatomy and Pathology). Is the ebook completely proprietary (ala DRM???). How heavy is the device? Will the price come down from $400. Can you place other content on the device, apart from ebooks?
But even with the negatives, this seems to be a step in the right direction. If the price can be lowered significantly, I really believe that this will be a winner, particularly for those of us who like to read a lot. I personally thought that ebooks were dead! But I think that a push in the right direction from a company as influential as Amazon may turn this around. Additionally, I have to say that whereas the Sony Reader seems to have been something made by Scientists, the Kindle appears to have been made by Readers. It has all of the simplicity of an Apple product, without the annoying worries about technology. Who would have thought that EVDO could be used for "free" to distribute content? And no set up or connection fees!
Having just completed Dr. Doolittle on a long plane ride two weeks ago on my Lifedrive, I really think that I will take a look at this product in earnest. It is a shame that one device cannot do everything, but the Kindle may rekindle the separate product theory. Mmmgh, now if only Palm could do something................
Just learning that the device has the ability to import PDF's !!! This is almost a dealbreaker for me. I have been looking for something that can import a PDF file and read it fluidly, without hiccups. Why? Well, most of the medical journals come online in pdf format. Ditto, many online CME bulletins that I never have time to read or put somewhere that I cannot remember. If I can have a single repository for all of these, in a very readable format now that would be interesting. I would be willing to pay ~$200.00 for this but not $400.00. Bring the price down and you've got me !
Posted by LDD at Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Whoa! Stop the presses! Could this be correct? Well, as I perused the Universe looking for a Pediatric document, I ran into this web site. The University of Hawaii's professors have put together an online Textbook with questions and answers at the end of each chapter.
If you are a Family Physician, Midlevel provider or Medical student looking for some basic information in regards to in-hospital or outpatient Pediatrics, this is is a wonderful online source.
So confident is this group that they have made the hefty document available online in a Word document and pdf file format. Or can you say "Lifedrive compatible" and "iPhone compatible" file respectively :) ?
The data is spot-on, at least for many of the basic cases. The interactive introduction to a case, followed by a detailed response, with a basic medicine lesson taught in the interim, is especially nice. To top it off, there is a question and answer session at the end. Very Socratic!
I think this is a great addition to any Palm Device. It would fit perfectly in a Treo with either Documents or Mobi Office attached.
Kudos and many thanks to the professors at the University of Hawaii for sharing this wonderful gift. It is obvious that a lot of work has gone into this and making it available for everyone is truly wonderful.