Musings on media, tech, and other thoughts that cross my mind

The Kindle Is The Best Of The Worst

Today, the Kindle waterproof edition is out and available for $90. On its face, that’s a pretty good deal. But it strikes me that it is 2019, and I am excited about a… waterproof Kindle (with audiobooks on the side).

The more I think about that, the more I realize Amazon is really getting away with the bare minimum with the Kindle.

For instance, turning pages still causes that ugly black and white refresh. Nearly all book covers look terrible. Responsiveness is debatable, and there’s a number of times I’ve swiped only to stay on the same page. And on my non-waterproof Kindle Paperwhite, dog hair constantly finds itself stuck in the gaps between the screen and chassis. Finally, no Kindle has even backlighting. Instead, splotches of LED light emanate from the bottom half of the display.

But are these complaints enough to put the Kindle down in favor of the modern-day equivalent of firewood? No. But it’s annoying that the Kindle just… hasn’t gotten substantially better in terms of software, e-ink display capability, and build quality. Amazon, since the release of the Kindle, has barely strived for more than middling with its only successful consumer hardware product.

There are, of course, reasons that Amazon gets away with the bare minimum. It is the only ebook player with millions of customers already built in. I mean, sure, iBooks is an alternative, but only sort of. Who wants to read a book on a device that thrives on interrupting you?

Anyways. The Kindle is the best in its category. But that’s not because the Kindle is some great piece of hardware. It simply gets to set the bar because it has no competition. And unfortunately for us consumers, that bar is pretty low!