I have a lot of respect for you. I think you’ve done amazing things with Amazon.com. Indeed, truly remarkable things. When idiot investors were walking away from your presentations, you were creating the amazing future which eventually became Amazon.com.
Example: You started Amazon.com as a book store, then just took it to the moon. Outstanding!
Example: Amazon created wish-lists. I don’t know if y’all were the first, but amazon.com was the first site I found that did wish-lists. This made it easy for me to keep track of the items I was saving up for.
Example: Amazon One-Click. It’s very convenient, fast, and easy to set up. Makes shopping on amazon.com a cakewalk! No one else did that, and not many other sites do that now either.
Example: Amazon Associates. Made it possible for me to have an online bookstore without the actual bookstore (or moviestore, etc.).
Example: Amazon Marketplace. I’m not saying eBay hadn’t hit the mark first, but you guys there did a bank up job on the Marketplace and I still find amazing deals there, when I don’t want to pay full price, or when it’s out of print.
Example: Amazon MP3. I like being able to buy the songs that I like on an album, instead of being forced to buy the whole thing. In the past, I have purchased CDs for just one song on the disc. The downloaded MP3 is high bit-rate, and not DRM’ed. This is a big point, as I can put it on any of my audio player devices (like my phone).
Example: Amazon Unbox. I just may use Unbox for all my video purchases. I’m kinda undecided on it, but it’s still intriguing. I can buy a movie and start watching it within about 10 minutes (sometimes less) right on my big-screen computer. Nobody beats 10-minute shipping. Plus, it’s there for me forever (can’t lose it); that’s a big plus.
And finally… The Amazon Kindle. Wow! I love it! I just LOVE IT! This is the device that I want all my stuff on. This is the one. It’s just the right size, in my humble opinion, because I can slip it into my side pants pocket (even with the cover on). I love all it’s features, except the DRM’ed books. I can only read ‘em on the device, not anywhere else; that’s a minus.
From my perspective, it looks like you are giving us people/consumers what we want. I think this is exactly the right thing to do. How do you know what we want? Do a survey. Doing surveys with enough people will give you a very accurate picture of what we want.
In a Charlie Rose interview with Marc Andreessen (creator of Netscape), Marc spoke about the Kindle. He said something like, “Oh, Kindle, I mean, it’s just–it’s gigantic.” He then went on about form factors… “The iPhone with a sort of three or four inch screen… a laptop or netbook with a 12 or 14 inch screen… and now you’ve got the Kindle with a sort of seven inch screen.” He and Charlie Rose go on to talk about others making a bunch of little “pads”, or “net pads”… Marc continues: “Somebody will figure it out. That thing, I mean, the Kindle does books and magazines and newspapers, but that form factor and that shape of a device and that weight in a couple of years is going to be doing video, it’s going to be doing music, it’s going to be doing video conferencing. It’s going to be doing telephony. It’s going to be doing Web browsing. It’s going to be doing everything, right? And so that’s the next — one of the fascinating things is that’s the next screen size and the next killer device, I think, is what’s going to happen.
In a recent interview, you were asked about putting other media (such as video) on the Kindle, and you said something like, “Would you use a Swiss-army knife at the dinner table?”
Actually, I would. But that’s because I’m a geek. And I have used a Swiss-army-knife-style spoon-and-fork thingy for eating a whole meal. It worked quite well, no problemo.
Anyway, here’s my point: I (the consumer) want a device just like the Kindle, which can do e-books (just like it does now), play my MP3s (with all the features of an iPod), full color e-paper, play movies (e-paper is almost there, you can watch demos on YouTube of video-capable e-paper now), with a big SSD (Solid State Disk) to hold my entire library (of everything, audio/video/ebooks/PDFs/etc), two additional SD card slots for my own SD cards, wireless access to the internet (just like it does now), GPS services (just like it does now), longer battery life, and a good internet browser for web surfing & email (such as Mozilla Firefox). You could even hook it in to Amazon Unbox and sell me movies directly to my Kindle. Cha-ching!
I would pay a lot for a device that did all that. I’d bet others would, too.
Cell phones come close, but they’re too small to read whole books on (plus they don’t use e-paper), and they’re also too small for movies/videos. The best a cell phone has going for it is that it’s already networked. I can do a lot with my little flip-phone: web, Gmail, Google Maps, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, texting, IMs, take pictures (and post them to Flickr), listen to my MP3s with sterio Bluetooth headphones, and so on, but it’s not a good e-book reader, and it doesn’t have a fast-enough processor for video.
Now, let me go back a step, back to before there was a Kindle. Sony had a pretty good e-book reader, but it wasn’t networked, you needed to have a computer to put the books into it, there were not a lot of e-books available for it, and it cost a friggin’ arm and a leg.
I would bet I could not have convinced anyone to put any money in to a project to create a cute little e-book reader which used e-paper, ran for days/weeks on a single charge, was networked (for free), had a deal with a big book-seller such as Amazon.com for all of it’s content, ran on a free, open-source operating system (Linux), and did all the other things (such as note-taking) that the Kindle does… and make it affordable. No way, bub. I would have been laughed at, all the way out the door.
Then Jeff Bezos creates and releases the Amazon Kindle. Bam!, now it’s possible. Before that, it was not within the realm of possibility. Now that it’s been released, the Kindle has shown that such a device is actually possible… and is really what people want.
NOW I could convince someone to make such a device. Indeed, I could convince someone (with money) to invest in a project to create the all-my-media-needs device described above, the one which is fully networked over the existing Sprint wireless network, portable (with long battery life), color e-paper, full-motion video, MP3/music player, with lots of storage, web browsing, email, VoIP, everything.
Google may already be working on such a device. Google has money to throw around, and they’ve got talent as well. Just look at what they did for cell phone operating systems with Android. They’ve also got a huge e-book project already in production, and one for the iPhone & G1.
The guy who owns that big news network, Rupert Murdoch, he’s got money to throw around. And he loves the Kindle. I’d bet he’s working on a device to do what you, Jeff Bezos, won’t let the Kindle become.
Let the Kindle fulfill it’s destiny. Create an API for it and let people play around inside it and create with it (just like Google’s Android OS for cell phones).
If you don’t, you will lose the market to devices which do what we want them to do, not necessarily what you want them to do. And if you lose the market, your dream of “everything ever printed available in the Kindle” will not happen.
Thanks for your time.
Humble Kindle owner