Mostly I blog about EDA software however the end objective of IC design is to produce an electronic system like the Kindle Touch, a popular e-book reader from Amazon introduced in late 2011.
This particular model has the following components (Source: Tech Republic):
- Prime View International (PVI) 6-inch ED060SCG E Ink Display
- 3.7V, 1,420mAh (5.25Wh) Li-ion Polymer Battery (Model: S2011-002-A)
- Macronix MX25U4035ZNI memory chip
- 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 Freescale Semiconductor i.MX508 Multimedia Applications Processor with integrated Electronic Paper Display Controller (MCIMX508CVK8B)
- Samsung K4X2G323PC-8GD8 DDR SDRAM
- 4GB SanDisk SDIN5C2-4G NAND Flash memory module
- Freescale Semiconductor MC13892 Power Management Integrated Circuit (M1382AJ CTPQ128R)
- Texas Instruments SN92009 Power Management IC (SN92009 A4 TI 19IL A3RR G4)
- Wolfson WM8962 Audio Codec (WM8962E 19BRKBC)
- Qualcomm Atheros AR6103 Wi-Fi package (AR6103T-BM2D)
- Texas Instruments M430F2272 16-bit Ultra-Low-Power Microcontroller
- NXP 74HC4067 16-channel analog multiplexer/demultiplexer (HC4067BQ L1E8R024 UnD138E)
- National Semiconductor LVM654 12MHz, Low Voltage, Low Power Amplifier (VM16AH LMV65 4MT)
- Texas Instruments YF04E TI 18K AGHQ
- Texas Instrument CEF TI J 15YN
I bought mine in November 2011 and was quickly impressed at what my $79 had purchased (originally $99 plus a $20 credit from BestBuy for opening a credit card). The packaging looked like a recycled container and the only thing inside the box was the Kindle Touch and a micro-USB connector, no user manual in sight.
There are only two buttons to push, and the On/Off button is on the very bottom of the device. When you depress it a small green led lights up and the system boots up with an image of a boy reading a book under a tree. Boot time is several seconds and there is no annoying chime like from Windows booting.
The user manual is the first e-book that you see, so it was easy to ready through the pages and learn about the capabilities. It took some getting used to the quirks of the e-ink display because it literally flashes every time that you turn a page, something that I’ve never seen before and wish that they could avoid in the future. Yes, you can read for hours on end with no eye fatigue so it’s a better experience than viewing my LCD display on a laptop or smartphone.
Font size can be adjusted however you cannot rotate the Kindle Touch and see a landscape display of your book. I had expected that i could rotate my e-book like I can with my smartphone, but then decided it wasn’t a deal breaker for me.
The Home button is on the front and from that screen you can start to organize your book library into categories that make sense to you.
I already had an Amazon account so I just linked my new Kindle to the Amazon account and started looking for free books. There’s a few million free books over at Google. Just like the success of Apples is their iTunes store, the success of the Kindle family of e-book readers is tied to the online infrastructure for books and movies at Amazon (another reason I didn’t go with the B&N Nook device).
You can search for books however many of the books at my home are not available. I really wanted to find We Seven the book about the Apollo astronauts but it isn’t in e-book format yet (maybe never). Finding a book on the Amazon network is easy and downloading is through WiFi (they call it WhisperNet).
If you own a smartphone and then try using a Kindle Touch you’ll find out that the responsiveness is quite slow on the Kindle. Turning a page takes under a second, however clicking the top to get a menu will take a few seconds. Likewise, pinching your fingers to zoom in or zoom out take several seconds on the Kindle unlike on my Android phone where pinching is simultaneous (thank you Samsung).
To my delight I discovered that the Kindle allows me to email Word Documents and PDF files to my special kindle.com email account.
Battery life is advertised as two months when reading for 30 minutes a day. My experience with WiFi turned on is that it lasts about three weeks between charges. To me it’s more of a hassle to disable and re-enable WiFi just to save power. Recharging is thru the micro USB connector, which presumes that you have a computer with a USB port for charging (and transferring MP3 or other files).
Hidden away are some special beta features that are fun to play with:
- web browser (greyscale only)
- MP3 player
If you want to convert something into e-book format or between formats then check out the Calibre program (no relation to Mentor Graphics).
Amazon Return Policy
Just this week my Kindle Touch started to reboot, the page turning sometimes didn’t work, and the power button would turn the Kindle on-off-on-off. A quick visit to customer chat and I am now receiving a replacement, no hassles, no arguments.
The Kindle Touch lets your read books in a comfortable form factor that is easy on the wallet and the eyes. I recommend the Kindle Touch for all readers.