Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hey Kindle...now the hard work begins

In announcing its new Kindle 2, Amazon implied it wants to do for books what the iPod did for music. Amazon’s vision is to make more books more accessible and portable for more people.

This analogy makes sense on the surface, but Mr. Bezos and company have their work cut out for them if they hope to emulate Apple’s success (and do so before Apple begins spreading iPhone book apps).

The original iPod was successful for reasons beyond its design and ease of use. Apple owned and grew the market through constant innovation. Even before the iPhone, the iPod kept evolving and changing to bring more people into its orbit – e.g., lower-priced models, smaller versions, more capacity, new colors, etc. Apple's frenetic pace of innovation prevented competitors from finding a way in.

The iPhone transformed the portable music player into a swiss army knife, with applications for business (email), entertainment (videos), and now with iPhone apps, every conceivable aspect of our life.

Kindle will need to do the same if it intends to do for books what the iPod did for music. Constant innovation. Broad price range. More functionality. And the audacity to dream of uses that go well beyond its original intent.

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