Ever since it’s debut in November of 2007, Amazon.com’s Kindle electronic book reader has remained one of its flagship products, targeting the e-book market at entirely new demographics. The Kindle also continues to evolve, seeing its second generation in early 2009 and, in June of that same year, appearing again as the Kindle DX. So what new features does the Kindle DX bring to your virtual libraries, and does it lose anything when compared to its predecessors? Below you’ll find an overview of what new features the DX offers.
The Kindle DX features a number of advantages over the Kindle 2. Sporting four gigs of internal flash memory, the DX doubles the capacity of its predecessor, allowing for the storage of approximately 3000 non-illustrated titles. It’s larger screen, which is almost ten inches, shows more text on the screen that the six inch version. This larger screen makes textbooks easier to view, thus targeting a new demographic of college students not wishing to be burdened by numerous heavy physical volumes.
The Kindle DX opens users to other electronic document formats such as PDF, which doesn’t lock the user to the proprietary Amazon format. By supporting PDF titles, the Kindle DX is taken out of Amazon’s closed ecosystem, becoming a reader capable of rendering any number of business documents, periodicals and e-books, including large libraries of public domain classics.
One of the DX’s new innovative features is its inclinometer, enabling it to be flipped sideways or upside-down while still retaining the correct text orientation. There have always been critics on the bandwagon that separate electronic reading devices are not as convenient as physical books. While it may seem minor, the addition of the inclinometer showcases a level of customizability for the reading experience simply not available with non-electronic books. The PDF viewing experienced has been enhanced by the new inclinometer feature. By changing orientation, it is sometimes possible to zoom in on otherwise difficult-to-view PDFs that were designed to be viewed on computer screens.
The DX also adds stereo speakers, a feature which makes the text-to-speech capabilities introduced in the Kindle 2 somewhat more accessible. Also, whereas the previous models were restricted to transferring data via Amazon’s Whispernet, the DX offers a wireless fallback option for times when Whispernet connectivity is either absent or inadequate.
The Kindle DX does have several disadvantages which, depending on perspective, might make its predecessor a more appropriate choice. The Kindle DX, priced at $489, far out prices the previous models originally priced at $389, but now priced at $299. The larger size of the DX, while an asset to many, also brings attention to its high cost compared with other equally sized, and greater featured electronic book readers. While the newer display is larger and more ideal for many viewing conditions, there remains something to be said for a smaller gadget that is more easily portable.
Amazon’s rapidly-evolving Kindle line shows great promise. Rather than a slow iteration cycle with few visible improvements and numerous problems left unaddressed, Amazon has shown a dedication to design an exciting and usable platform for electronic book distribution.