What Would Make Me Buy a Kindle Scribe

Mari Silbey —  August 26, 2011


The blog Fusible discovered earlier this week that Amazon has registered the domain names KindleScribe.com and KindleScribes.com, prompting speculation that the next Kindle will include note-taking capabilities. Jared Newman over at Time’s Techland went on to pair that possibility with the fact that Amazon recently started a textbook rental program, which could certainly benefit from a virtual scribbling feature. Add on a function like LiveScribe, which syncs audio recordings, says Newman, and he’d be sold on the device.

For me, a note-taking feature could be compelling on the Kindle, but only if notes could be easily transferred to my PC, ideally with some sort of improved OCR handwriting-decoder technology. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stood with execs at trade shows trying to balance my netbook on one arm while examining new products, listening attentively, and keeping track of the other gadgets in my possession (camera, phone, data stick, etc.). I have been known to take notes on regular old notepads, but invariably when I go to do a write-up later on, I don’t have the right notepad with me. Or I run out of paper during an interview. Or I can’t find a working pen.

A digital note-taking option would fix my dilemma if I could then transfer any notes to the PC where I actually produce content. Having notes stuck on a separate device wouldn’t be any help at all, but if Amazon made them easily transferable, I might be convinced to upgrade my existing Kindle. It’s an opportunity I’ll likely be able to consider more seriously soon. Amazon recently reduced the price of its refurbished third-generation e-readers, suggesting that the next-gen Kindle 4 is not far from launch. Or perhaps this is all in preparation for Amazon’s new tablet? We’ve missed the back-to-school rush, but I see good things ahead for pre-holiday shopping.

7 responses to What Would Make Me Buy a Kindle Scribe

  1. “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stood with execs at trade shows trying to balance my netbook on one arm while examining new products, listening attentively, and keeping track of the other gadgets in my possession (camera, phone, data stick, etc.).”

    LiveScribe is actually your answer here. It’s reasonably priced, and it Just Works, including the OCR and the syncing. It’s Yet Another Thing to Carry, but how often are you at trade shows? And given how much attending a trade show costs all put together, can’t you justify an excellent single purpose device to carry at such events and similar occasions?

    I’d rather use a LiveScribe in such a situation than even a dream Kindle Scribble.

  2. I would buy a Kindle 4 if it was a copy of my Sony prs-350.
    5″, touch screen but with Amazon behind it and with the battery life of my DX.

  3. Whoever’s doing product development for Amazon, should look at the use cases for the LiveScribe and fold them into a future kindle. The LiveScribe doubles as a voice recorder which captures scribbling on special paper. If you put all of its note-taking features, including voice recording and scribble-capture into a kindle, it would make a useful textbook replacement.

  4. Not sure if there’s broad enough application here. Is the resolution on the display high enough?

    The kindle is certainly light enough to use this way though…

  5. Having handwriting function in Kindle would definitely excited me. I suppose touch screen will come in by default with handwriting feature :)

    However, I don’t seem to get any such information from Kindle 4 Dicussion yet.

  6. ‘Kindlezation’ is here and it’s a big business. This might be ideal for Christmas and then early next year, we’ll be ‘kindelized’ again.

  7. You can do this on a Fire, of course, as on a regular Android tablet–with a PDF and the right app, at least. But the addition of a stylus would be killer. The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet is too expensive, while the HTC Flyer is half-baked, and even after price reduction, still $100 more than the Fire. As to the question of whether it is a “broad enough application,” I think that’s idiotic. Students, lawyers, and most literate people write on printed matter at regular intervals, if not constantly (as in my case).