On Aesthetics (or lack thereof): Kindle

So, amazon.com’s ebook reader,Kindle est arrivé, and it’s certainly more of a whimper than a roar.

While the well-covered rationale for the device’s unhappy emergence (basically: books are tactile, books are keepsakes, etc.) are perfectly apt, what is baffling to me is that more people aren’t deeply upset by the look of the booger.

I mean c’mon! This is what they came up with:


This would be offensive to the eyes in 1985, but it’s downright aggressively lame in 200(almost)8. It’s as if they consciously decided to eschew any design developments over the last 5 years or so:



Or, any great design over the last 50 years or so:

eames recliner


Even the failure that is the Sony Reader looks a heckuva lot better:


No, it seems amazon.com instead looked to inspiration from…oh…the Tandy Color Computer 3 from that awesome era of all things design, the 80s:


I truly do not understand this move. I LOVE amazon.com, I really do. I love their innovation, I love their desire to understand and delight their customers, and I truly admire Jeff Bezos (not just for amazon.com, but also for his investment in 37signals – did he even think to ask the 37signals guys what they thought of the Kindle??), and that makes it all the more disappointing to look at the Kindle.

I do believe that there is a place for an e-reader device. It won’t be for everyone, and it won’t be for every book, but it will provide value for a large number of people.

Kindle has some interesting features, and perhaps that makes it all the more frustrating that they sooooo dropped the ball on the design.


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