Hey iPad, over here!
Hey iPad, over here!

Fifteen years ago, Nicole Kidman was To Die For (and in my books still is, Robot look or not). Now it seems it’s either the Apple iPad or just released Amazon Kindle 3 that are stealing all the headlines. What has happened to us? Gadgets, it seems, are the new sexy.

Speaking of killing husbands, yesterday the Amazon Kindle 3 arrived at Stark Insider labs (unboxing, first impressions). Now that we’ve had the device for about a day, we’ve come to some early conclusions, mostly good, but some bad as well–as Robbie Williams sings, “You’re a star, but you’ll fade.”

Endless comparisons with the iPad are inevitable, but I’m convinced those that lust whole-heartedly after one or the other won’t be swayed. Each serves its purpose. Though, it does beg the question: What if… ? As in, what if a hybrid screen technology emerged that could offer the best of both worlds; stunning, crisp legibility for words (Kindle), but colorful, touch fun (iPad)? I’m sure that day is closer than we think, at least I hope.

My fingers are compelled to touch the screen. Call it the Apple effect. Or smartphone halo. We’re increasingly trained, like pre-schoolers, to touch, to point, to swipe. So, with Kindle it takes a certain amount of re-training. You can’t swipe from page to page; old school buttons do the trick–but just fine thank you very much.

The early word on the “experimental” browser: bla. I think I’ve had more fun using a Commodore Vic 20 and 300kbps modem. Or, in today’s terms: Like CNN without Anderson Cooper. It’s just not pretty. When I pulled up Gmail, artifacts littered the screen occasionally. And typing on that tiny chicklet keyboard is anything but productive. However, this is not Kindle’s mission in life. It is–as I was reminded on Facebook–to read. Yes, read, read, read. And that, I’d say it does very well… eliminating any barrier between the reader and the intended experience of the author.

Now I present: Amazon Kindle 3: 7 Features To Die For

(coming soon: the not-so-great features; think Chevy Chase in unfunny mode, or Lindsey Lohan back to re-hab)

1. The Display

In a word: killer. Crisp, with high contrast, it deceives the eye. You might think it’s a sticker. But then you realize, that’s a display. Wow.

The Amazon Kindle Screen vs. Nicole Kidman
The Amazon Kindle Screen vs. Nicole Kidman

2. Battery Life

The Who could provide the soundtrack here, albeit geekily modified. I can go for miles and miles…

Battery Life, months...
Battery Life, months…

3. Screen Saver

Because it educates, inspires, and reminds us that reading is important.

A break from Lindsay Lohan headlines
A break from Lindsay Lohan headlines

4. Navigation

Forward / Back. On both sides, lefties and righties unite. It works and it’s simple.

Forward/Backward: OK, got it.
Forward/Backward: OK, got it.

5. Kindle Store

Largest digital collection of books in the universe. Also easy to browser. Plus, Stark Insider is there.

If you want it, here it is...
If you want it, here it is…

6. Love the Sun

Unlike my fair skin that burns after ten minutes, the Amazon Kindle loves the daylight. It passed the Beach Boys test just fine here in California — sunglasses and surfboard optional.

Hey iPad, over here!
Hey iPad, over here!

7. Amazon Kindle Apps

Keep reading… on your laptop, on your Droid smartphone, on your iPhone. With the Amazon Kindle Apps you’ll have access to your library wherever you go, regardless of device.

Kindle App on iPhone
Kindle App on iPhone

What: Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6″ Display, Graphite – Latest Generation

Buy: Amazon

Improved: Smaller, lighter, less expensive, even better display

Great for: Reading! (books, magazines, newspapers, blogs)

More: Amazon Kindle 3: Unboxing, first impressions