Congratulations, You’re Obsolete!

Hooray! I finally took the plunge and ordered a Kindle two days ago.  Hooray! Amazon announced their next generation of Kindles today!

One of the big news items about the new models is that they are much cheaper.  Geez.  Initially, I was bummed when I saw this.  But now that I’ve read the release and seen the new Kindles, I’m glad.  These new devices eliminate the keyboards..  I don’t understand this desire to eliminate physical keyboards from everything.  So, although I’m paying $140 instead of $80, I think I’m getting a better device.

The new devices are smaller.  Now, how small is too small?  Everything nowadays has to be thinner and lighter, it seems.  When researching covers, I read reviews by people saying they ordered a cover that would add heft to the device.  I would agree with that.  Until we get to the point where we can carry a device the size of a small tape measure that can be stretched out into a 10” multi-touch screen, then collapsed back into its 2” square dimensions, everything else seems less usable to me.

And it’s no surprise that these new devices are adding web capabilities.  Now they are competing with phones and tablets.  I had a thought a while ago about a distinct perceived difference in generations, where Gen X people treated going on the Internet as a scheduled event.  They would go to their office and get on the Internet.  Later generations didn’t have this concept.  The Internet was and is always available on their phones.  Taking this a bit further, older generations have other “events” that they feel are best served by distinct devices.  You want to listen to music, you have an MP3 player.  You want to read a book, you have an e-reader.  You want to get on the Internet, you have a laptop or tablet. You want to make a phone call, you have a phone.  You want to do something, you plan to do it, you gather the tools to do it, and you do it.

Newer generations look at this behavior as complete inefficiency.  They don’t want to have to choose what they want to do at any particular time.  They want to be able to do anything at any time, which necessitates the need for an all-in-one device.  Is it any wonder younger generations are so attention deficient? 

When did it become normal to be so dissatisfied?  You could be hiking somewhere in the mountains and come upon an incredible view.  This should be a personally inspiring event.  At some point, people said, “I wish I had a camera so I could share this when I get home”, then “I wish I had a phone so I could share this with someone right now”, then “I wish I had internet so I could share this with everyone right now.” And when each of these needs wasn’t met, there was disappointment.  What technology is going to come along when we have the pressing need, “I wish I had all my friends right here so I could share this with them right now.”

I guess I’m just one of those lame, old people that wants technology to stop once I buy into it.  In some ways, I pity the early Kindle adopters, who bought in at $400.  I think I’m getting in at just the right moment, before some functionality was sacrificed in the name of saving millimeters, grams, and pennies.  And I don’t regret buying a dedicated device, since I’m still not in the mindset of “do anything, anywhere, at any time”.

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