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5 Things Amazon Needs To Fix In the Kindle DX

Amazon has released a larger version of the Kindle 2, which adopts the DX suffix and comes with a much higher $489 price tag. The device, which will be available in the summer, could well be one of this year's best selling consumer gadgets.

The biggest online retailer in town has already said that it wants to make every book ever printed, in any language, available on the Kindle in less than 60 seconds and with more than 275,000 books available, Amazon could well have clinched a winner.

But we ain't there yet, especially as the Kindle DX suffers from a number of issues that could hamper its meteoric rise and restrict it to a niche market. There are five things that Amazon could to improve it chances of becoming the iPod of Print.

(1) Price

The Kindle DX is too expensive at $489. Even the $359 Kindle 2, with its 6-inch screen is too expensive for most. Amazon needs to sharply reduce the device's price if it is to sell more than a few hundreds of thousands of them. Other manufacturers like Sony will also need to do their bit and compete more efficiently against the Kindle. There's also the threat that Apple could well launch a supersized iPod touch tablet which we believe will be a dud.

(2) WiFi

Still though, such a device, if sold for around $500, complete with a colour screen and a few adjustments could make the life of the DX a misery. It still lacks basics like WiFi connectivity which is on the brink of ridiculous. We understand that Amazon is trying to emulate Apple; the problem is that Apple executes its plans almost perfectly. The 2G imperfection in the first Apple iPhone was quickly zapped. WiFi in the Kindle family would have made life so much simpler.

(3) Card Slot

A card slot will come handy if the user wants to add more content to the Kindle or transfer documents, books or magazine across platforms or Kindle. We understand that the main reason why the Kindle comes without a card slot has to do with digital rights management and copyright issues. But if the Kindle is set to become a more useful device, it will have to evolve into a multi purpose gadget, in which case a 4GB memory won't be enough. Amazon could perhaps introduce SDIO (Secure Digital Input Output) slot, which would allow for a whole raft of peripherals to be connected to the Kindle.

(4) Screen

The 9.7-inch screen might be a full 50 percent larger than the one in the Kindle 2, but it is still not big enough for magazines. The 1200x824 pixel resolution is roughly on par with that of high end Netbooks but its readability is vastly, vastly improved. We desperately hope that Amazon has a 15-inch DX in store. Such a size would be a boon for newspapers, tabloids and other larger format publications. Amazon may seriously need to look into the way the Kindle is built. As it currently stands, the screen covers only around two thirds of the Kindle DX's surface area.

(5) Improve The Web browser

The browser on the Kindle is near useless (Wired said (opens in new tab) that, not me). If Amazon fixes it, the it might just open the gate to a more complete content consumption experience. Amazon knows all too well that Apple is its most potent competitor. Stanza, the ebook reader that Amazon purchased a few weeks ago, already has gathered more than one million users for the iPhone alone. Amazon's core business is content, not hardware, which means that the quicker it slashes the price of the platform, the better. That could mean slightly changing the Ebook's primary focus.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.