Saturday, December 15, 2007

kindling for the fire

Maybe starting off with a terrible pun was a bad idea.

OK, I'm going to make a stand here. I'm going to risk apostasy and say it: I kind of want a Kindle.

The online jeering at Mr. K has become somewhat silly. I have never seen so many reviews of a physical object (especially a piece of personal electronics) that were done without even touching or using the object. The internet is being used as a ten-foot pole, people are just poking at it and then wringing their hands, saying "it looks like an obese albino blackberry!

Even from a purely compositional standpoint I'm not that offended. Since when is random asymmetrical chamfering a terrible design concept? And don't tell me it's about the interface. You have to touch it first if you're going to talk about that. In fact, the public reaction is far from terrible. The first run has sold out. Nerds like it. Old people like it. And these people actually have one. They're not shrieking "see! see!" when Philippe Starck says something critical, jumping on an anti-hype bandwagon that is becoming increasingly divorced from reality.

Actually, the Blackberry is a great example. This is a device whose original looked like a half-chewed version of its namesake, had the color choices of a facial bruise, and had buttons so small you had to carry an infant around with you as an operator. And the last time I checked, these little monsters weren't going away.

This isn't to say that I think that this device is anything fantastic. One typface? No USB port? Unholy DRM? And yes, I'd much rather this thing had been designed by Dieter Rams. But it's not. And I'm still curious, because this thing is responding, if not perfectly, to a deep-seated desire for an as-yet unaddressed solution. So get off your iPhone high horse and touch the damn thing before condemning it.

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