The Impact of Kindle
Posted by tjkuhn on February 14, 2009
I did it. I pre-ordered my father a Kindle-2 from Amazon.com for his Birthday/Father’s day. It has to be a combination gift in terms of two holidays as well in terms of multiple purchasers (Brother and Mother are pitching in too) because my Dad would go through the roof if he knew we spent the $359 on him….especially on a technology purchase.
And though both his Birthday and Father’s Day are months away, I don’t have much to worry about him finding out as he’s not online…at all. His exposure to the internet consists of my mother showing him grandchildren pictures that I send to her. Sometimes, I’ll send him (via my mother) an interesting news article or blog post which he has my mother print out for him.
My brother and I have noted that he felt a little left behind with the whole “internet thing”, but that he was not comfortable using traditional computer interfaces or looking at high-glare screens…that and he didn’t like sitting at a computer. But he does like the content that’s available on the internet. He’d just like it filtered for his needs with a minimum of fuss.
I’ve been watching how the Kindle technology has been developing. Reviews that I’d read of the original Kindle kind of left me with the impression that it “wasn’t quite ready for prime time”. Definitely not right for Dad. The new Kindle 2 seems to have addressed a lot of the concerns I had. For those that are interested, here are the new specs:
Say Hello to The New Kindle
Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images
Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging
More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books
Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns
Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you
Large Selection: Over 230,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available
Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise
In addition to the features advertised above, the new Kindle will enable my Dad to view email and have access to the content on the internet that he’ll actually use. There are a lot of hacks to the Kindle that I will explore for about a month before giving the device to my Dad and then teach the ones to him that he’ll use/like.
Now, this is not a tech blog. So why am I going on about the latest gadget? Well, it is my prediction that technology like the Kindle, the iPhone, and the like which make technology feel less like technology will have a huge impact on the medical industry, both in research and in general practice. Many physicians are like my Dad; they’ve specialists who have focused on things *other* than what many of us have started to think of as “standard technology”. I attended a conference (a little over a year ago) that was looking at the merging technological needs of both general practice and research. At this conference (put on by ExL Pharma), the representative from Microsoft (Les Jordan) showed this movie from Steve Ballmer’s key note. If you skip to minute 16:25, there’s a (four minute) peek at Microsofts vision of the future of technology in healthcare. The technology displayed in that clip essentially is in existence today. We’re just in the development-adoption lag. It will be interesting to see how some of these things work their way into healthcare.
For now, I’m just anxiously awaiting the new Kindle.