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:

kindle

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:

nano

Nah.

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

eames recliner

Uhm…no.

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

sony-reader.png

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:

tandy-computer.png

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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