Is Open Source A Recession-Fighting Tool? - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems

Is Open Source A Recession-Fighting Tool?

Information Week
InformationWeek Daily - Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009

Editor's Note

Amazon Announces Improved Kindle 2.0 For $359

Until very recently, my family was a two-Kindle family. The first unit was an Amazon-furnished review unit that I grew so fond of, I bought another one for my wife, for whom I'm certain the Kindle was designed. For unknown reasons, the review unit failed but that hasn't shaken my wife's love for the device.

For reasons that I won't go too far into here (I've painstakingly detailed them before), the Kindle is revolutionary. Beyond being an ebook reader, the Kindle does a great many things. For example, you can subscribe to blogs and newspapers (the latter of which come to you ad-free). You can also email documents and PDF-formatted files to the Kindle in such a way that they're automatically converted into a Kindle-compatible format by some sort of cloud-based sausage factory that Amazon runs behind the scenes.

But the Kindle's biggest vulnerability in the market is the inability to consume "Kindle books" on platforms other than the Kindle (for example, a PC or a handheld device like a BlackBerry, iPhone, a Sony PSP, etc.). I've been testing rival Lexcycle's Stanza ebook reader on an iPod Touch and I have to say that after being so convinced of the Kindle's strategic market advantage, I'm not so convinced anymore.

Monday, at the Morgan Library in New York, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos presented the new Kindle's features. The highlights:

  • It's thinner than the top five selling 3G cell phones on the market.
  • It includes a speech-to-text feature that will read books to you.
  • A feature called WhisperSync lets you switch back and forth between separate Kindle devices and continue reading the same book without losing your place.
  • It renders 16 shades of gray as opposed to the original Kindle's four.
  • It can hold more than 1500 books.
  • Its paqe navigation buttons have been improved.

But now that I've used Stanza on the iPod Touch, I can't help but wonder if Amazon really expects buyers to shell out hundreds of dollars for an ebook reader when many of those same buyers already have an ebook reader (and a very good one at that), in their pockets.

To read my full account of today's presentation, and to see my photos and videos of Bezos, the new Kindle, and a special guest at the event, click here.

David Berlind
[email protected]

Surviving and Thriving in 2009: Looking Ahead in a Time of Turmoil
Sponsored by Wipro:
This breakfast roundtable has been created to help CIOs and senior
level IT executives identify and spearhead IT projects with maximum
short-term payback in 2009 despite budget and/or staffing cuts so that
they can successfully position their company for continued growth and
innovation in the later part of 2009 into 2010.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 NY, NY Thursday, March 19, 2009 Chicago, IL

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"There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself, 'It all depends on me.'" -- Andre Gide

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Surviving and Thriving in 2009: Looking Ahead in a Time of Turmoil
Sponsored by Wipro:
This breakfast roundtable has been created to help CIOs and senior
level IT executives identify and spearhead IT projects with maximum
short-term payback in 2009 despite budget and/or staffing cuts so that
they can successfully position their company for continued growth and
innovation in the later part of 2009 into 2010.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 NY, NY Thursday, March 19, 2009 Chicago, IL

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