Mossberg reviews Amazon’s Kindle: ‘clumsy and poorly designed’

Amazon’s new “Kindle is the first e-book reader that allows you to select, buy and download titles directly to the device, instead of downloading them to a PC first and then transferring them over. Amazon is offering a large collection of digitized books — about 90,000 — compared with fewer than 25,000 for Sony. The Kindle also can download newspapers, magazines and blogs directly, and update them automatically. This is possible because the Kindle comes with free, built-in wireless Internet access, using a cellular data network,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“I’ve been testing the Kindle for about a week, and I love the shopping and downloading experience. But the Kindle device itself is just mediocre,” Mossberg reports. “While it has good readability, battery life and storage capacity, both its hardware design and its software user interface are marred by annoying flaw.”

“The device is poorly designed. It has huge buttons on both edges for turning pages forward or backward. They are way too easy to press accidentally, so my reading was constantly being interrupted by unwanted page turns. Plus, the buttons are confusing. One called ‘Back’ doesn’t actually move to the previous page, but supposedly to the prior function. I never could predict what it would do,” Mossberg reports.

“The software interface also is clumsy,” Mossberg reports. “Amazon has nailed the electronic-book shopping experience. But it has a lot to learn about designing electronic devices.”

Full article here.

How Microsoftian! A product that’s clumsy and poorly designed with badly-labeled, unpredictable buttons, which is adroit only at getting the suckers who bought into it to waste more of their money.


  1. When I first saw the Kindle I thought “wow, that’s cute. But no thanks.”

    What’s the point? You’ve got to put the thing on your lap after 10 minutes. What’s wrong with the laptop I already own?

    Sitting on the toilet maybe… But iPhone works for those 3-5 fascinating minutes in the morning.

    How about the “Kindle” 3rd party app for iPhone in Feb?

  2. Been to Seattle, Microsoft OWNS that city and ones around it, especially Redmond.

    I rather like Portland myself, it’s green and growing, not ripe and rotting like Seattle. Lots of young upstarts are moving to Portland. Lots to do there, when it’s not raining of course. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    But the worst has to be Southern California, and yes sadly Cupertino is included. Why? All the smog, it’s terrible and the heat and the dryness and the traffic. That’s why I think Apple is looking to slide out to Austin Texas, take over Dell.

    Anyway about the Kibble, it’s the book sellers way of saving books in general, and the huge prices they charge. If what happened to the music industry happens to electronic books…

    I think I’m making my point. FIRE UP THE E-BOOK TORRENTS!!

    Kibble, Kibble, Kibble. I’m getting hungry for Doggie Chow. “Do you like Doggie Chow? I like Doggie Chow” – from the movie “Showgirls”

    I wish the Kibble would sell the movie “Spun” that was a hot movie.

  3. Why did Amazon have to tie it a cellular network instead of just adding a wi-fi chip like those in the iPod touch and iPhone. Could it be because they want users to pay for every kilobyte downloaded to the Kindle?

    If I have to pay a download fee to read my files on Amazon’s device, then I’m not going to buy it.

    Nice try Bezos. Kindle is a big pile of fail. The e-book concept patiently waits for a real champion to arrive.

  4. 3 – 5 minutes on the toilet? Improve your diet and save a few months of your life.

    BTW sitting on the toilet is the wrong posture, crouching is the natural way and only way to evacuate the bowels properly. Maybe that’s why some people are so full of …..

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    I was thinking of Ballmer, it’s obvious he has no idea how to dispose of waste products.

  5. @ Eric

    I can confirm the sucking sound. Seattle has been sucking pretty badly for a decade. But that’s the Seattle Spirit™. We deal with sucking in delightfully creative ways.

    A wise man once said of the people who built Seattle:

    “That they built a city in the process was purely coincidental. If they could have made more money by not building a city, then that is what they would have done.” <I>-Bill Speidel

    And it’s true to this day. Microsoft, perhaps, *could* make better software. But evidently there’s just not much money in it.


  6. Pete, are you high? Cupertino is in SoCal? Do you even know where Silicon Valley is? Oh and if the thought of Apple “sliding out” of Silicon Valley for Austin, TX wasn’t ridiculous enough on it’s own, Apple is building a new campus in Cupertino so I’m pretty sure they are staying put. Thanks for the well informed insight though.

  7. @pete

    “But the worst has to be Southern California, and yes sadly Cupertino is included. Why? All the smog, it’s terrible and the heat and the dryness and the traffic. That’s why I think Apple is looking to slide out to Austin Texas, take over Dell.”

    You need to look at a map before you make up things.

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