I recently bought an Amazon Kindle. I’d been thinking about it for a while, but finally dived in. There’s lots about how it works on Amazon’s website but this is my experience; my review if you like. I was especially interested to see how handy it was for mobile learning.
The Kindle is about the size of a novel, but much thinner. Mine came 3G and wireless enabled which means it can nearly always connect to the net (via 3G phone signal technology) but will take advantage of wireless internet hotspots (and your own wireless network at home) for faster download speeds.
It’s designed mainly for reading books in its own Kindle format (and eBook/ePub variant standard). Indeed, it can even read it to you, as it’s loaded with a text-to-speech (TTS) engine. There’s lots of free classics for download if you like Alice in Wonderland or Aristotle, otherwise you have to pay – it downloads books very quickly.
The experimental functions it’s loaded with are what interests me here. It comes with a native pdf reader, so I could easily transfer my pdf course notes to it and read them. Yes, it’s black and white and shades of grey, but has excellent resolution and the ability to re-orientate the page and change the font size.
Pictures, diagrams and all that were perfectly displayed. Amazon run a free conversion service too – changing pdfs (and other documents) to Kindle format. This allows you to take advantage of the extra functions too, like TTS.
As well as being able to play audio books, it can play mp3 tracks. So, you can take podcasts and other audio learning media with you or even listen to it whilst reading. It has a 4GB flash memory, which is enough for 3,500 kindle books apparently but, if you’re adding pdfs and music, that doesn’t go all that far.
It comes with a basic web browser which is easy to use. I had no difficulty loading the RRC webpage and navigating around. It doesn’t play flash animations very well though.
So is it the future? I think it’s pretty good for the money. If you want mobile learning to replace everything else, I think you’ll be disappointed. If, instead, you see mobile learning as supplementing other means and fitting in with your lifestyle, then I think you’ll be pretty pleased. Get someone else to buy it for you and you’ll definietly be pleased.