What Devil did Phil Rickman sell his soul to in order to be the only author mentioned on Amazon’s latest Kindle-flogging page? So the Kindle Paperwhite is here, promising the ‘ultimate reading experience’ (next to a book, that is) and the whole format game has just got more complicated. Because the Kindle family is growing, and their Fire HD is now firmly establishing itself in iPad territory, which in my head removes it from being a reading device. Still, a gremlin of tech-desire is telling me that I need the Paperwhite.
I will justify this, my third Kindle purchase, by telling myself that as a professional reviewer and writer I need the best tools available. It can’t stop there, of course; then I’ll ‘need’ a colour version. The trick is to stop any overlap between your devices; I live on my Macbook Air, a laptop that does everything I need except run DVDs (you need a clunky peripheral on an absurdly short cable to do that) and this means that I don’t own an iPad. But that’s problematic as topical news sites migrate away from websites to apps.
The toaster became ubiquitous in the kitchens of the world because it was the first kitchen gadget designed to do just one thing well. There’s no need for it at all, but the idea was simple. So, too, the Kindle began as a way to read and store many books, but like the game you downloaded that insisted on becoming a worldwide social network, it now has delusions of grandeur and wants to upload your emails. The more it wants to be a tablet the less I want it.
And there’s no getting off the treadmill.