Sunday, November 18, 2007

amazon kindle

Amazon will launch Kindle ebook reader on Monday
The $399 device is designed to download electronic books over the mobile phone network
November 18, 2007 8:33 PM
Newsweek magazine's long cover story on The Future of Reading focuses on the $399 Kindle ebook reader that is finally being launched by Amazon. OK, we've had ebook readers for a decade or so, and some people were already reading books on Psion and other handhelds, without the idea taking off. What makes this one different is that it has

a feature that its predecessors never offered: wireless connectivity, via a system called Whispernet. (It's based on the EVDO broadband service offered by cell-phone carriers, allowing it to work anywhere, not just Wi-Fi hotspots.) As a result, says [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos, "This isn't a device, it's a service."

The idea is that readers should be able to get any book ever printed in about a minute. They will also be able to subscribe to newspapers and magazines.

You may well have herd of Kindle before, especially if you read Engadget, which has already published at least seven stories about the device. On September 11 last year, Engadget published photos and a spec of Kindle taken from the FCC web site. Wireless devices have to go to the FCC for approval. That story said:

Say hello to the Amazon Kindle, their take on a book reader device that comes equipped with a 6-inch 800 x 600 display (which we can only assume is e-ink), 256MB internal storage, smallish two-thumb keyboard cursor bar, scroll wheel, standard mini USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, SD slot, and get this: EV-DO data!

Bezos is bullish but I think it will be a tough sell: $400 buys a lot of books, or gets you the better-looking Sony eReader and $100 in change. Plus, once you've bought the hardware, how often will you spend, say, $10 on a book that's burdened with DRM and can never be loaned or resold -- or $2 on an old classic you can probably download for nothing.

In the long term, I expect we all agree with Microsoft's Bill Hill (quoted in the Newsweek story) that ebooks are going to become common one day. But we were saying the same thing a decade ago, or more. Is now really the time?

The November 26 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, November 19), "Books Aren't Dead. (They're Just Going Digital.)" - Examines the impact of digital-age technology on the future of reading and the launch of the Amazon Kindle, a handheld reader. Plus: Baghdad's new normal; how the G.I. Bill is failing veterans today; debut columns of Karl Rove and Markos Moulitsas; Annual Holiday Gift Guide; the wrath of John Edwards; Condoleezza Rice's southern strategy in the Middle East; Disney's Princess power and Chris Brown pop music's last great hope. (PRNewsFoto/Newsweek)


COVER: Books Aren't Dead. (They're Just Going Digital.) (All overseas
editions). Senior Editor and Columnist Steven Levy explores how technology
is poised to change the way people read, write and publish works. Amazon
CEO Jeff Bezos believes he can improve upon one of humankind's most
incredible device. This week Bezos will be releasing the Amazon Kindle, a
handheld e-book device that can store hundreds of books in its memory. He
hopes the device will leapfrog over previous attempts at e-readers and
become the turning point in a transformation toward Book 2.0. While
literary critics are bemoaning a possible demise of print culture, book
lovers on the Internet are waiting for a chance to refurbish the dusty
halls of literacy. "If you're going to do something like this, you have to
be as good as the book in a lot of respects," says Bezos. "But we also have
to look for things that ordinary books can't do." Levy also reports on
other initiatives underway to digitize libraries. Also part of the cover
package, as the first journalist to get his hands on the device, Levy
reviews the Amazon Kindle, available Monday, November 19 at

Baghdad Comes Alive. Chief Foreign Correspondent Rod Nordland writes
that for the first time in years, Baghdad is showing signs of life. "For
someone who has returned periodically to Baghdad during these past four and
a half years of war, there has been one constant: it only gets worse. The
faces change, the units rotate, the victims vary, but it has always gotten
worse ... For the first time, however, returning to Baghdad after an
absence of four months, I can actually say that things do seem to have
gotten better, and in ways that may even be durable," he writes. But the
calm is all too fragile, and it's an opportunity that the government cannot
afford to miss.

Condi's Southern Strategy. Senior Editor Michael Hirsh writes that
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice worries that the corrosive power of
hopelessness has taken a hold in the Middle East. Palestinians and Israelis
both know by now, she says, "that even ordinary people can be driven to
violence if there's no hope." Rice draws a connection between the plight of
the Palestinians and her history as a black woman in white America, a clear
sign of how personally she's taking the mission to create a Palestinian
state- a task that has obsessed and defeated many a secretary of State
before her. "There is an image of the United States' frenetically trying to
get the two sides to an agreement. It hadn't worked. So with all due
respect I'll try it my way," she says.

The Italian Love Affair. Guest columnist Mauro Suttora, a senior editor
at Oggi, Italy's largest weekly magazine, writes that Italians have adored
America for 60 years. "Ever grateful for liberation from the Nazis-and for
introducing them to rock and roll, disco, 'Sex and the City' and the iPod.
Rome was once the world's capital, but Italians are happy to acknowledge
that the power has shifted to America."

'A Freeway to Europe.' Special Correspondent Benjamin Sutherland
reports on Croatia's progress since the wars that tore it apart more than a
decade ago. Now this nation of 4.4 million people is on track to become the
newest member of NATO and the European Union. Croatia's new A1 highway-
built in six years, at a cost of ¤3 billion- winds 416 km from near the
capital, Zagreb, south, and has been hailed as a "national pride," a
"masterpiece" and the "freeway to Europe." The A1, however, is more than
just a pretty highway. It is a symbol of everything that has gone right in

China's Secret Growth Engine. Contributing Editor Stephen Glain reports
on Zhejiang province and why the once neglected region has always been
ahead of the rest of Chinese business. Economists now hail the Zhejiang
province for its bottom-up model of development and fearless regard for the
global economy. It's also being watched as a bellwether for the Chinese

Dangerous Liaisons. Investigative Correspondents Mark Hosenball and
Michael Isikoff report on the speculation that former FBI and CIA employee
Nada Nadim Prouty, who pleaded guilty to defrauding the United States in a
federal courtroom, is a "Hizbollah mole" with terrorist ties.

PROJECT GREEN: Feeling the Cool Breeze. Hong Kong Bureau Chief George
Wehrfritz reports that building Asian cities on environmental principles is
the fastest and cheapest way to reduce its demand for energy-and cut
greenhouse-gas emissions.

'It's All About Energy, Stupid!'. San Francisco Bureau Chief Karen
Breslau reports that the presidential candidates, it seems, have figured
out what venture capitalists and entrepreneurs have known for years: green
is Topic A.

Toyota's Green Problem. Midwest Bureau Chief Keith Naughton reports
that the environmental community has turned on Toyota, riding high not long
ago as the auto world's green leader, for siding with Detroit in opposition
to tougher new gas-mileage laws.

GLOBAL INVESTOR: Fly East for the Winter. Guest columnist Ruchir
Sharma, head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management,
writes that Central and Eastern Europe is in the middle of a growth miracle
that parallels East Asia in the 1970s and '80s. "For a long period of time
in East Asia, the continent's small-to midsize economies fed off each
other's success, growing quickly ... The CE4 countries of Poland, the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have averaged growth rates of 5 percent, the
Balkan nations of Romania and Bulgaria have grown at nearly 7 percent, and
the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have expanded at 10
percent," he writes.

WORLD VIEW: America the Unwelcoming. Newsweek International Editor
Fareed Zakaria writes that despite the Bush administration and Congress's
measures to improve air travel, data and anecdotal evidence suggest
travelers looking to come to the United States still encounter problems.
"The United States is the only major country in the world to which travel
has declined in the midst of a global tourism boom," Zakaria writes. "And
this is not about Arabs or Muslims. The number of Japanese visiting the
United States declined from 5 million in 2000 to 3.6 million last year. The
numbers have begun to increase, but by 2010 they're still projected to be
19 percent below 2000 levels. During this same span (2000-2010), global
tourism is expected to expand 44 percent."

LAST WORD: Imran Khan Pakistani Opposition Politician. Shortly before
his arrest, Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket legend and opposition
politician who spent 11 days in hiding after President Pervez Musharraf
declared emergency rule, told Newsweek that he is frustrated by the Bush
administration's continued support for Musharraf. "George Bush is creating
anti-Americanism in Pakistan ... Militancy and radicalization in Pakistan
are increasing at such a phenomenal rate now that we actually think that
our future is at stake. All thanks to Musharraf. And for this one man, Bush
is going to sacrifice 160 million Pakistanis as if they were sheep? He is
worse than the Shah of Iran," he says.


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