Amazon Kindle 4
The library in your pocket?
Review Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet was always going to grab the headlines when the retailer revamped its e-book reader line-up last month. But for many book buffs, its low-cost E Ink devices were more interesting.
Amazon has been aggressively driving down reader prices, and its entry level Kindle 4 - aka the 'Kindle Touchless', a nod to its touch-sensitive sibling, the Kindle Touch - is the cheapest reader the retailer has ever offered.
Comparisons with the 'cheap razor, expensive razor blade' model have been well detailed elsewhere. The Kindle is inexpensive because Amazon hopes to make its money by selling e-books, and that's all you need to know about why it's so much cheaper than other (decent) readers.
And the new Kindle is cheap - just £89 - and it makes buying and reading e-books very easy indeed. Not as spur-of-the-moment as the 3G-enabled Kindle 3 - this is a Wi-Fi only device - but with home wireless so ubiquitous, leaving the cellular radio out is a reasonable trade-off to get the price down.
Ditto halving the storage capacity from 4GB to 2GB, though the space available for e-books is smaller still: 1.35GB when you've deleted the user guide and one of the two dictionaries Amazon bundles.
The back as a slightly rubbery feel for better grip
Don't get hung up on storage capacity. Even 1.35GB is enough space for more than 1200 books - I have a fraction of that on my 4GB Kindle 3. You've really got to be a hoarding-for-hoarding's-sake merchant to consider 2GB too small.
And you won't be storing MP3s and such on the Kindle 4. The 3.5mm jack seen on previous Kindles has gone. Ditto the volume control and the text-to-speech function. The old power slider is out too, replaced by a button - a better control, I think. Micro USB remains the file transfer and charging mechanism - but don't expect a USB AC adaptor to come with it; all you get bundled with the Kindle is a cable.
No more headphones any more
Gone too, many of you will be pleased to know, is the dead author screen saver, replaced by a more neutral array of textures built out of photos of everyday writing implements.
Next page: Incredible shrinking manual
re, converting ePub to .mobi
I think that the majority of Kindle users will not know how to do this and not even be aware that it can be done. Data format and file wrangling is a rare skill among the general population.
I have a *.epub file, then:
1) I drag it to every reader in the world apart from Kindle. Yup, that works. I am happy.
2) I drag it to the appropriate Kindle folder. Doesn't work. I am not happy.
99% of people DO NOT GIVE A MONKEYS about the tech detail. They just get annoyed because it works everywhere else but their lovely new Kindle. And that's why it's 'plain silly'.
Re - but don't expect a USB AC adaptor to come with it;
That's good. The whole point of USB chargers is standardisation, so you don't need a new charger whenever you buy a new gadget. Which sadly doesn't stop many manufacturers from bundling one.
I've got about six of the damned things. I don't even need a new cable every time.
1)drag epub into calibre (Free)
2)click send to device
(same goes for .mobi,HTML,CHM etc)
Simple really. if your messing about with epubs from other publishers then you can find calibre. if your a non tech savvy type who got one as a gift then chances are you don't know what epub is and think that all ebooks come from amazon.
native epub support not really an issue IMO
".epub is the source format of .azw"?
Here's the main problem with your theory: If Amazon wanted you to "compile" epubs for the Kindle they'd provide a decent compiler rather than force people to use programs like Calibre. Amazon's automatic e-mail conversion service lets you send a Microsoft Word or an HTML document to your Kindle ... but not an epub!
Also, I'm not convinced that an arbitrary MOBI file is necessarily more efficient on the device than an EPUB. MOBI has lots of different variants and no official documentation. It's possible that the AZW/MOBI files generated by Amazon are efficient on the Kindle, but the Kindle can also read a wider range of MOBI files. MOBI's based on HTML, too.
For me, Amazon's motive for avoiding EPUB remains unclear.