9.7-inch Kindle DX brings big screen to e-book reader

newkindledx.jpg

Amazon’s Kindle DX has a 9.7″ e-ink display with 1200×824 pixels, 16 shades of gray, and faster page transitions. 10.4 inches long and 7.2 wide, it is 0.38 inches thick and retains the basic capabilities of the standard model: EVDO internet and the Amazon store.

New features include native PDF support and 4GB of storage, two line-items that Sony’s Reader can no longer claim as advantages over Amazon’s model. The Kindle DX also does automatic orientation adjustments when you rotate the tablet, like the iPhone and other accelerometer-equipped gadgets.

The giant screen does it for me. The price — $490 — is a challenge.

Kindle DX Offers 9.7 Inches of E-Ink for $489 [Gizmodo]

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Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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43 Responses to 9.7-inch Kindle DX brings big screen to e-book reader

  1. caseyd says:

    put firefox on it and I’m sold.

  2. dculberson says:

    (@ #35 right now) Ahh, clueless anonymous posts, ignoring subjects already covered ad nauseum in countless discussions, including the one at hand. How would we survive without them??

  3. dodi says:

    This is also a big improvement for people using e-book readers for large print access. The largest font size on the Kindle2 makes for excessive page turning. I’ve been surprised by how many people asking me about my K2 are interested in it because of poor access to large print books. Just yesterday a waiter told me he wanted to get one for him mom for this reason. Unfortunately the menus don’t appear to change text size on the K2, so for people with severe vision issues might have trouble navigating.

    I’m still shocked by how many people have never heard of e-book readers. My demos and explanations for people interrupting my lunch shortening the longer I use it.

    I agree the price is too high for the difference though.

  4. Anonymous says:

    @13
    The page orientation has 5 settings
    Automatic, 0, 90, 180, 270 degrees.
    That means, if you want to have page turning button on the other side of the screen you select 180 degrees rotation and turn the reader upside down.

  5. wastrel says:

    Yes, finally. Seconding Bugs seconding of dculberson. I’ve been waiting for eink screens to get big enough. And no I’m not interested in the iRex offering.

    Native PDF support is win – sooo much content (academic papers, technical documentation, books, etc) is locked in horrible PDF format. Reflowing or reformatting the document is impossible to automate cleanly. You have to have a native reader and a screen large enough to support it.

    Assuming it works well, do want.

  6. PaulaEdwina says:

    I ragged my friend about the Kindle 2, but y’know, the DX would really work for me. I’m in grad school, about to start the diss process and already have a few feet worth of journal articles. I get them as PDFs, but it is impossible to read them on a monitor, so I print them. What’s worse is when I want to reference an old article I know I have it is easier to just print it again instead of going through the pile. And with 30 dissertation credits, you know it’s going to get worse. That alone is worth $500.00 for me. That I can read the news paper on it is just icing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wish they would add PDF support for the kindle 2.

  8. winkybb says:

    But why does it have a keyboard?

  9. dhuff says:

    Great – well, except for the price. Now how about native PDF support for the regular Kindle ?

  10. Mat Honan says:

    This thing is tiny. It should be much bigger. To wit: http://bit.ly/GRYI8

  11. AntiCelebrity-net says:

    how very Startrek!!

    http://www.anticelebrity.net

  12. RedShirt77 says:

    Is there a way to turn off the automatic screen orientation? on the off chance you like to read on your side or on your back…

    On occasion I find my iTouch is more concerned with itself than me.

  13. Anonymous says:

    And yet they still don’t actually want to sell me one. Not that I particularly want something that size – I’ve got a laptop for when I want a big screen.

    The thing that really annoys me about Kindles isn’t that they won’t sell me one, it’s that Amazon will sell me books via mobipocket.com, but those books cost about 40% more than the same books in the inaccessible Kindle format.

  14. monopole says:

    #6 on note taking
    So basically given the Kindle “kill switch” all ur notes belong to Amazon.

    The kill switch coupled with the DRM coupled with having to pass everything through Amazon to load it onto the Kindle coupled with the proprietary format and the single source leaves me with no interest in the kindle.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A step in the right direction, I have a sony reader and its great for reading novels and the like but textbooks with diagrams and the like would suffer with a small screen. I find that I have to edit my ‘books’ to fit for the sony reader (I take a lot of stuff online and convert to PDF for reading, but pictures and the like can make it troublesome page layout wise formatting for 8.82cm by 11.54cm, which is awfully small) I would get any eink reader that size, but $400 would be my limit.

  16. kpkpkp says:

    The larger the screen, the less portable it is, as the screen is based on a glass substrate and the larger the ‘pane’, the higher the likelihood of getting broken.

    If a reinforced carrying case is required to protect from crushing, then how far are you from just having a notebook computer?

    Larger devices demand flexible (scrollable) screens.

  17. styrofoam says:

    The “kill switch” doesn’t prevent you from putting PDFs on the thign, which is what everybody says is the holy grain ANYWAYs. It just stops you from buying more books from Amazon. BGet your other non-amazon content wherever you can get it.

    The regular kindle is a really poor fit for most PDFs- because they’re usually sized for a normal sheet of paper.

    First, it’d be mildly problematic to tack on a way to resize/zoom/scroll a PDF on the regular kindle so you could read them. The 5 way button on the Kindle 2 may actually be adaptable for this, though.

    Secondly, until refresh rates on eInk come down, it’s not going to be a friendly enough experience to be useable- trying to scroll a PDF would be a nightmare. And viewing a shrunken down PDF is an issue when it’s densely packed. The Kindle 2 neatly solves this with simply having a big enough screen.

    i’m nto sure how Sony handles this, though. Maybe they’ve got a great way around this, but I’m guessing that a dense PDF is displayable on the sony- but it’s tought to read and you can’t scrooll,etc.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    I like eReaders in general. I’m not absolutely tied to the kindle, it’s just that I think it had the best selection of DRMd content available for it, and I liked the interface to this store better than most others I’d seen so far. Other than that, they’re all pretty much expensive, slow, and using mostly the same panel anyways. The Iliad woudl be nice, but kind of expensive and I didn’t like the store interface for the books that are available for purchase.

  18. Jerril says:

    #22: I understand the Sony reader handles it by converting PDFs to the native Sony format – and it reflows them in the process. That was the case the last time I checked them out, but that was when they were brand new. Might have changed since then.

    I suspect as well as most automated software reflows things – badly – but I haven’t seen it in action.

  19. dculberson says:

    Monopole, you don’t have to go through Amazon to put anything on the Kindle unless you want to. I’ve covered that, but apparently it’s too much work to read the comments before ranting. The “kill switch” is also just a closing of your Amazon account – wired USB transferring of documents and notes would still work fine.

    Styrofoam, I tried out a Sony Reader 505 and it was awful for a PDF. The PDF was an academic paper, and wasn’t all that complex, but it was super-super slow and involved lots of zooming and scrolling – which took a long, long time. Definitely useless for heavy PDF use.

  20. tp1024 says:

    The price, if anything, is a challenge to the definition of “sane”.

    I know when I’m being ripped off.

    You can get a portable DVD Player for less than $100, so what’s the f***g point in selling ebooks for 5 f***g times the price?

    Where are the sorely needed cheap Chinese ripoffs everyone is eternally complaining about?

    Self-censored, so you won’t f***g have to.

  21. kirkjerk says:

    They really need to make an adjustment so it was great for somewhat vision impaired folks.

  22. Robert says:

    Wish they would fix search. Right now you can’t search for the beginnings of words, such as “phlogi” if you’re looking for phlogiston (but can’t remember how it’s spelled nor which text it was in).

    Search becomes even more important on a reader that has technical texts.

  23. pork musket says:

    Very awesome. I want one.

  24. ChibiR says:

    I guess I would be more bothered by the price if the Kindle was actually available where I live (or anywhere outside the United States, for that matter).

  25. styrofoam says:

    I do too. It’s evolving slowly, but I’m loving the concept of e-readers- more than the commenters on most tech sites seem to get right now.

    My current commenter pet peeve is:
    “I’ve been reading books on my TRS-80 since before the dawn of recorded time! PASS”

    Or whatever.

    eReaders have got a long way to go to become perfect, but by creating product, theycreate demand which fuels investment which drives the whole development cycle. We’ll get to fast refreshing color ink one of these days.

  26. dculberson says:

    KPKPKP, even if it was the exact same size, weight, and cost as a laptop (which it isn’t), an eBook reader would still be preferable. The display is far more comfortable to use. As in, not comparable in the least. It’s like saying “if it gets any bigger, why not just use a dead rat??”

    TP1024, A portable DVD player is proven technology using mature components. (And I bet your $100 portable DVD player example is very poorly made.) The eInk display in an eBook reader is very new technology and very expensive right now. As ( mentioned previously, this is actually a good price compared to the closest competitor, which costs $895.

  27. Chris S says:

    Let’s check the features…

    1. Available outside the U.S. – no

    Ok, so much for that.

    Ya know, it’s hard to for Amazom to kickstart that ebook revolution when you can’t even buy one of these at Amazon.ca

  28. BaS says:

    … Bah at errors when previewing a long comment.

    Short version- It has a basic web browser, not great but as with everything else something they can and most likely will improve.

    Page turn rate and battery life have both improved 20-25%, it’ll keep happening.

    Best features to me are the free wireless Wikipedia access (no matter how meh the quality/accuracy of Wiki articles may be, it’s good to have), and the Search feature which is love just like it was in NetLibrary and some Electronic Databases especially for accurate quoting and research.

    If expecting the e-Textbooks to sell, they should be at least lower in price than the ‘buy used’ option. If print-publishing isn’t all that expensive in the overall price then the lack of shipping, storage, and buy-back/transferability should provide more room for profit. Again the ability to search/highlight/note in the textbooks without having to haul and store them might outweigh the poor pricing at least for those with heavy research classes.

  29. boduelmike says:

    Size (as in large) is actually a disadvantage in an ebook reader.

    It has to be big enough, but portable and easy to handle. When you need big stuff, a computer screen or laptop does it – where is the advantage of the dedicated ebook when it’s that big?

    I’ve got a Sony, and that’s about right for me; your mileage may vary.

    Oh, and DRM, and still pretty well tied to one supplier? You are joking, yes?

  30. Anonymous says:

    This seems to correct a strange flaw in the original kindle – that the display was too small. I’ve actually not ever read that particular complaint. The ability to better handle technical books is very nice, although it seemed to be quite good in the smaller size.

    I’d honestly think this is one of those technologies which works best at regular book size (and maybe at luxuriant drafting table size) and not so much in between. It’s either a quite compact unit or it could be a bit unwieldy. I can deal with a broadsheet newspaper because I can fold it into eighths and hold it under my arm if I need to move, if I can’t swiftly stow my hundreds of dollars of shiny portable gadget I might be tempted to leave it at home. I’d quite hope this technology won’t undergo the display size arms race that’s going on in the netbook market just now. 10 inches is still quite portable but if it keeps growing it might stop being.

    The main flaw I see in the Kindle is that it’s not sold where I live, I don’t really mind what size the display is while I still can’t buy it.

  31. ZoopyFunk says:

    Gimme a color screen and a browser, and I am in.

    Truth is, when Playboy produces on the K, I am in. I guess 16 levels of grey, however archaic, is enough.

  32. Anonymous says:

    When they offer colour, I’ll be the first in line.

  33. BaS says:

    Also forgot to re-add for REDSHIRT77, yes, you can turn off the automatic page orientation. You have the option of Automatic, or to lock it in on Landscape or Portrait.

  34. Anonymous says:

    To those requesting native PDF support for the K2: Don’t hold your breath. However, I recently discovered a free organizer/converter program called Calibre that does a great job of converting PDF, LIT and other formats to the Kindle; it’s much better than anything else I’ve tried, including Amazon’s email converter. I liked it so much I sent them a donation on PayPal the same day I found it, and, being a cheapskate, that’s not something I do often.

  35. Jenonymous says:

    For textbooks, I see a major fail in not being able to make back-upable notes on pages, and organize bookmarks well. You could do both with a laptop and a Word version of a book.

    In college and law school I woulda been lost without my automatic pencil, sticky notes, and highliters. Until they can bring that to the Kindle, you may as well lug around textbooks.

    Also, I’ve noticed that e-book pricing isn’t such a deep discount from paper versions of the same. How much of a discount would a student get per book? I remember back in the day a new ConLaw textbook was $100 and we needed something like 3 books for that one class. If a student is still going to pay $80 a book vs. $100, I’d rather have the physical book.

  36. dculberson says:

    The price actually isn’t bad, when you compare it to competitors. The iRex 1000S is the only close one I know of; the iRex screen is a little bigger (10.2″ versus Kindle DX’s 9.7″) and a little higher resolution (1024×1280 vs. 824×1200) but the price is a lot higher – $859.00 vs. $490. It’s a jump in the right direction, at least.

    Boudelmike, reading on a laptop is not comparable to reading on an ebook reader. The screen technology and human interface are both completely different. I can comfortably read on an eInk display, with no eye strain, for hours and hours on end. Five hours in front of a normal LCD is not without pain. And for certain documents (academic papers, etc) a small screen just doesn’t cut it. Replacing reams upon reams of wasted paper with a single 10″ screen eReader would be amazing. 8.5″ x 11″ would be better, but 10″ is still a big step in the right direction.

    Also, the Kindle is not tied to one vendor nor does it have any more DRM than the Sony reader. You can buy books from any number of places and load them via USB just like the Sony. I don’t know about the ability to make wireless purchases from other vendors, but the Sony doesn’t have that option from even a single vendor.

    Regular files (text, PDF, etc) do not have any DRM added to them – you just copy them via USB to the Kindle. The only DRM files are the new purchased books; same with any other ebook reader.

    I’m not an Amazon fanboy or anything, but I’ve done a ridiculous amount of comparison shopping, including hands on, and have a pretty good idea of where the market is right now. The Kindle’s a good product, certainly with drawbacks, but still reasonably priced for the feature set. Enough so that we bought a Kinds a couple months back and have been happy with it.

    My ultimate hopes are pinned on the Plastic Logic eReader, but that’s been delayed by a year already. I hope it doesn’t turn into vaporware. The Kindle works for now.

  37. dculberson says:

    Jenonymous, you can make highlights and notes with the Kindle. That’s one big reason why it has the qwerty keyboard. They can be backed up to your computer and transferred to other Kindles and (I believe, but am not sure of) the iPhone Kindle app.

    I’m right there with you on book cost, though. It seems ridiculous to pay almost as much for the eBook as for the printed book. Chances are that the textbook publishers will use this as an opportunity to increase, rather than maintain, their profit margins.

  38. Bugs says:

    I’m just sticking my head in to second DCULBERSON about reading on an eInk display being much better than on a laptop screen.

    I dislike reading from a backlit screen for long periods. I get through a huge number of scientific journal articles and end up printing then discarding most of them, because spending hours concentrating on the screen gives me headaches. eInk isn’t backlit and actually looks like ordinary printed text, albeit printed onto matte plastic instead of paper. This is subjective, but I find it much more pleasant to read.

    My main use — academic papers — means that the size could be a plus. Ideally I’d want an exactly A5-sized screen than can very quickly skip between the top and bottom halves of pages. But near-A4 size is could be good too, as it’d mostly live on my desk or in a case in my bag.

    Battery life is also a consideration: I can squeeze about 4 hours out of my laptop if I’m just reading. The battery life in the eInk devices I’ve looked at is typically measured in days or weeks.

    So, yeah, I really like this. Still on the pricey side for anyone working in academia, still not officially available on my continent and still tied up with Amazon’s stupid DRM system, although I can ignore that. It’s a nice step forward, anyway.

  39. MichaelFoody says:

    It’s getting really close to what I need from an ebook reader. I think I’m about 18 months away at this point. I would be in if it had a little less bezel and some kind of stylus input fast refresh and maybe for $300.

  40. Gotanda says:

    I will buy one as soon as it becomes available, even though I’ll have to order it to a mailbox in the US and have it forwarded to Japan.

    Japan? No international service, right?

    Still totally worth it. I get dozens of papers on PDF monthly. I can store the entire back catalog of 30 years of a publication I work on for easy reference. I can scan all of my course textbooks to PDF and carry this to class instead for teaching. Plenty of other texts available in PDF. Journal articles I get from research DBs on here to read anytime, rather than on my laptop which I never want to read, or printed out to become a massive stack of recycle.

    The size and USB movement of regular PDFs makes this worthwhile even at that price point. Hours everyday on the train, tiny apartment, and a tinier office makes this valuable.

    Books? Well, I get back to the States once a year and will load a few novels or whatever then.

  41. franko says:

    people who want a browser are missing the point of an ebook. what they want is a tablet.

  42. Moriarty says:

    Chances are that the textbook publishers will use this as an opportunity to increase, rather than maintain, their profit margins.

    Maybe, but you’d probably be surprised how small a percentage of the cost of a book (or textbook) pays for the actual printing and manufacturing. As strange as it seems, they don’t actually save much money by not providing a physical product.

  43. Anonymous says:

    For that price,why don’t I just get a laptop?

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