One is shiny and colourful, the other matte and monochrome - but which gadget gets my vote?
...looked at not looked through. It's designed to stand out and that's distracting. I don't want a gadget that stares back at me. I want something tailored to fit, so when I use it I forget I'm interacting with a piece of technology because it performs its function so well. And that's exactly what the Kindle does.
4. The Kindle taps into an established ecosystem - of book readers
The mobile industry is all about ecosystems these days. For smartphones this means apps. For the nascent tablet market an ecosystem of apps is arguably even more important, since a tablet's function is so multifaceted it has to offer more not less. But for the Kindle, apps aren't the key - its ecosystem is its users.
E-readers tap into a healthy and well-established ecosystem of book readers. People have been reading for hundreds of years so the Kindle benefits from standing on the shoulders of so many book lovers.
I don't need to invent lots of new processes for interacting with this gadget - it's just a book in a new incarnation. It feels intuitive because I've been reading forever so it gets to bask in a halo effect generated by this love of reading. If you're a reader, getting emotionally attached to the Kindle is almost inevitable. But getting emotionally attached to a shiny slate of glass? Well, good luck trying.
5. The Kindle sits on top of Amazon.com
Of course a Kindle without any ebooks is like a pasta fork without any spaghetti. The Kindle needs a solid ecommerce infrastructure underpinning it, to smoothly deliver a pipeline of ebooks. And it's difficult to imagine an online store more solid than Amazon.com.
Of course, Apple has its own ecommerce behemoth in iTunes, but I don't think people use iTunes by choice - they use it because Apple forces them to. On the hearts and minds index, and on the usability front too, Amazon beats iTunes hands down.
6. The Kindle's price tag hits the sweet spot
On the price front, the Kindle sits in what can only be described as a gadget sweet spot. The wi-fi-only Kindle is £111 versus a whopping £399 for the cheapest wi-fi-only iPad. The recent HP TouchPad firesale with its price cut to £89, down from £349, illustrates how much appetite there is for gadgets around £100. For this price, people will buy a gadget because they don't have to justify the expense to themselves. But there's no sneaking £400 under the radar.
Frankly, the Kindle is a steal at £111. Even the 3G Kindle is reasonably priced at £152. By contrast, the iPad's price tag is a barrier I'm just not willing to cross - not for a secondary gadget.
With a £300 price difference between a dedicated device - the Kindle - and a general purpose device - the iPad - plenty of people will be willing to pay for the former, yet won't touch the latter with a barge pole.
7. The Kindle's battery life lets you forget it's a gadget
Gadgets have never been so powerful but all that power comes with a price: battery drain. Being tethered to power sockets and chargers is always tedious. And if you forget to charge your shiny gizmo or use it so much it runs out of juice it's about as powerful as a potato.
How refreshing to step outside this cycle. Of course, the Kindle doesn't do away with charging entirely but the longevity of its battery life makes the cycle much less tedious.
A single charge of the wi-fi Kindle lasts...