Amazon Kindle unboxing experience

Amazon Kindle 2

My lovely wife, with help from my parents, her parents, and her Granny, bought me an Amazon Kindle 2 for my birthday. This is the best gift I’ve received in a long time (which is what Janene was going for, since, after all, this was a milestone birthday). Thanks, everybody!

One aspect of the unboxing experience impressed me. You know how most electronic devices come with a thin clear plastic film over the screen to protect it in transit? And you know how sometimes the manufacturer prints something on that film that approximates what the display might look like when turned on, or includes instructions for using the device the first time? Well, keep that in mind and check out this picture of a Kindle 2 fresh in the box (this is not my photo, just a random one I found so I could show you what I’m talking about).

Well, I started peeling the film off and noticed right away these helpful directions weren’t printed on that film! This gave me pause for a moment, wondering if there was a second film I needed to remove, or if Amazon had done something really stupid and printed permanent ink on my device before applying the film, but then I remembered an interesting aspect of e-ink displays: they don’t have to be continuously powered to keep something visible on the screen. Power is only needed to place the ink; whether the device is powered or not, the ink will remain until you replace it or clear it away. As a subtle but impressive touch, Amazon had placed these getting started instructions on the display before it was powered down in the factory. Brilliant! End mark