There are a number of additional features introduced with the Kindle 2.0 that foreshadow a future intent to compete with Apple’s iPod and RIM’s blackberry to be the preferred mobile computing device. Less advertised, experimental features of the Kindle include:
- Web Browsing – The device is equipped with a simple web browser that allows end-users to search for movie times on Google or to look up historical references on Wikipedia while reading. I suspect it won’t be long until Kindle is repurposed for a broader set of browsing activities.
- B2c E-Commerce – Kindle is preconfigured to allow shopping on Amazon.com for other kindle products such as magazine and newspaper subscriptions; blog feeds and e-book downloads. I would bet that Kindle 3.0 offers the ability to purchase any product from Amazon.com’s store for free “Prime” delivery to the owner’s address.
- Wireless E-Mail – End-users can e-mail Microsoft Word documents and Adobe PDF files to the Kindle for easy reading on the go. There is $0.10 per document charge that is inclusive of the wireless networking fee. Will Kindle 4.0 offer the ability to check e-mail on Windows Live, G-Mail, Yahoo! or a Microsoft Exchange account?
- Digital Music – Perhaps, the most controversial feature of the new Kindle is its “Read-to-Me” capability that offers text-to-speech conversion. Users can also download MP3 files for playback as background reading. This version of Kindle only offers 1.4GB of storage, but I suspect the next iteration will be equipped 14GB of storage for books and MP3s rivaling the iPhone. Combine the text-to-speech capabilities with e-mail, e-commerce and web-browsing features and you have a powerful mix of capabilities unlike any on the market.