Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Case Study Presentation: The Amazon Kindle

Last Thursday I presented a case study answering the question, "What is 'new' about new media? I used the Amazon Kindle as an example of a 'new' piece of technology in the new media industry. I began by giving a brief history of printed word, explaining that printed word has been a major component in the history of our society, especially in the realm of media. I also gave a brief history of e-books and e-readers (electronic books and readers). This helped explain the beginning of convergence in the realm of books. I researched the beginning of convergence in the world of books and found that it began with Project Gutenberg in 1971. This was the first time that printed books were put into a digital format. Although in the beginning they were limited by file size, only having the capability to digitize a 300 page book, the technology continued to evolve creating the ability to digitize any text imaginable. I continued to dive into the continued convergence of traditional books by discussing Amazon.com's selling books online as well as the beginning of e-readers.

I then discussed the introduction of Amazon's Kindle and how it was the first e-reader to really take off. I gave an overview of the product, discussing its features and capabilities. This helped give a better view of how this product is an example of convergence. The Kindle is completely digital and wireless. It also has wireless internet capabilities with its own network so that there is no hunting for wifi hot-spots, which also makes its wireless capabilities accessable in over 100 different countries. I brought to light the advancements that the Kindle has made in its three models over the past few years and how it continues to converge in the new media atmosphere. The Kindle gives the user access to thousands of books that can be downloaded in 60 seconds virtually anywhere.

I also discussed the Kindle's competitors, the Sony Reader and the iPad. I explained that the Sony Reader was the first completely touch screen e-reader and that it was originally cheaper than the Kindle. But even with these exciting differences, the Kindle is still the more popular of the two. I then discussed the iPad and how Apple's hopes are to have a big e-book market. Even with this, the iPad does not come pre-installed with the iBook software, which gives users the decision on whether to download the free iBook app or Kindles free app. I explained that this gives Kindle a major opportunity to expand their market and make even more profit.

All in all, the Kindle has been a great example of something "new" about new media. This is because it has taken an old form of media and made it digital, while encorporating the internet as well as the telecommunications industry through its wireless network. This also makes it a great example of convergence. Below I have attatched a link to the Kindle's main webpage, which gives a full overview of the product, as well as all of its capabilities and uses. It also gives a look into new innovations that the Kindle wants to encorporate into their newer devices and explains the benefit to these new features.


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