I was literally stunned and it must have shown on my face because my daughter asked me if I was OK. I had just picked up the pieces of my Kindle off the blacktop of a parking lot, cracked screen and broken case. The screen saver was still on the screen, and I powered on and off a couple times on the chance that the damage was cosmetic, but no luck. It was toast.
What happened? I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I set it on the tire of my wife's truck. We were sitting on the curb, and my daughter wanted me to read a book to her. With people walking nearby, I didn't want to put in on the ground, and I should have put it back in the truck, but I was lazy. We read for about 30 minutes until it was time to go and I stood up, got in the truck, and promptly bumped across the device.
So how do I feel about the device? This was a little over a week ago and I haven't replaced it yet.
Well, I'm upset with myself, but mistakes happen. I've been lucky with most devices outside cell phones, but my wife and kids have destroyed a few iPods and Walkmans over the years as well as damaged a few cars, so in the grand scheme of things this isn't a big deal. Plus it was a $100 device for me since I'd use Amazon Associates money.
I think the value of the device is there for me. I read a lot, about 50 books a year before this, and probably closer to 70 with it. The convenience of keeping those books with me, and being able to get new books anytime (or almost anytime), is very valuable to me. I'm not sure it's $300 valuable, but it's definitely $100 valuable, probably $200 valuable.
However this is an electronic device, and it's a specialty device that's somewhat locked to a vendor, like a cell phone. Personally I think there are a couple things that would make this a better platform.
1. Offer insurance. Even Steve Jobs trying to a sell a new iPod to everyone every year won't work with a $300 iTouch. It might with a $149 Nano or a $80 Shuffle, but not much more than that. $5 a month probably would be something I'd pay, and most people would as well.
2. The device needs a lower cost option, maybe less memory, less features, for around $200. Even the iPod now goes from a $49 1GB shuffle to a $400 32GB iTouch. The Kindle ought to be able to have a smaller screen, no keyboard, no MP3, no Text->speech, less memory for $200-$250, and then keep the Kindle 2 and the DX at the higher end.
3. Grow the platform, I have some thoughts I'm working on for another post.
So will I buy another one?
I think so, but I'm caught in a spot now. For one thing I'm imposing a bit of a penance on myself for doing something stupid. Second, I'm forcing myself to earn more Associates money over time as well as find a way to fund the rest of the cost. I'm not quite ready to make my family finances eat this mistake. Lastly, I think that a new Kindle device is likely in the works. Perhaps by the end of 2009, but almost certainly in 2010, so I'm thinking I might be an early adopter for that version when it comes.
Of course when I see Brian Kelley with his at PASS I might chance my mind and just buy what's out.