I was just revving a diagram of bettr@ today and looking for an icon for the Amazon kindle. Search for one on Google. You won’t find one. Okay, then search for “ipod icon” in images.
Now, there are already problems with the naming of the Amazon Kindle (yes, it reminds me of Fahrenheit 451 too). But for their second instantiation of the electronic book reader, does anyone else out there (besides for Shivani) feel there is a missed opportunity to establish some iconic design of the product, especially if its going to cost $360? In order for you to create a (literal) icon, you need to have an iconic shape or interface.. which I guess the Kindle is still struggling to find.
Creating something fast and releasing it to market is important, but learning from the first time and planning your next steps carefully are even more necessary at a time when the margin for failure is so slim. Remember, the first Kindle has been called the Pontiac Aztek of design. I would have thought that Ammunition and Amazon’s R&D group would have come up with something slightly more evolved than Kindle2. Maybe they just aren’t feeling too much competition this round, and they’re waiting until Kindle3 comes out to knock people’s socks off.
So what’s the value of the icon anyway? Everyone goes on and on about how the iPod was a runaway success and the brilliant ecology that Apple has established because of iTunes and iPod in harmony. And all the ancillary products that have been created because of the iPod. The skins, the cases, the chargers, the headphones. Granted, there are not that many accessories that are even possible for the kindle, but you don’t really see people personalizing their Kindle. The device (as far as I understand) is still not all that open… No API for instance. Even the ways to “hack” a kindle seem kinda lightweight right now.
I wonder how this might have been treated differently if Amazon had spent a little more time and made the Kindle design more iconic, and thus…. allowed it to be turned into an icon by its fan base.
* As a sidenote, I think that the information design of the box showing the buying options on the Amazon.com site could be much better, and they could even integrate the cute new Kindle icon I just made up in 8 minutes.