The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Is It Time For My Kindle Break-up?  

I still love my Kindle, although it now already feels like an 8 track stereo compared to the iPad. I am certain the bright color screen and page flipping will be more compelling than having the physical keyboard, although I can buy a keyboard dock for the iPad to compensate for any challenges I have with its onscreen multi-touch keypad. However, there is one thing I don’t think the iPad will do better than my Kindle and that is seamlessly connect me to wireless networks. With my Kindle, I never have to log in to a wireless hotspot, know an SSID or worry about proxy servers and sign in pages.    

The nookTM, which also uses AT&T hotspots, has a post on its help board online helps me clarify this point:

nook is programmed to automatically connect to the free AT&T Wi-Fi in any Barnes & Noble store...We see there are lingering questions about Wi-Fi ... So, for a point of clarity, you can connect on any 802.11b/g Wi-Fi hotspot, or wherever you have the SSID password. The exception to thie is Wi-Fi hotspots that use proxy settings (like you typically see in a hotel), where you have to enter a password or some other information before you can connect.

The truth is, for most consumers, even though free wifi is all around us it can still be somewhat confounding to connect to a hotspot with an iPod Touch, nook with a wireless-enabled device. Interstitial pages sometimes don't require logging in with credentials, but do require a web page to be clicked on. Occasionally, the iPod Touch is connected to the wireless network, but there is no Internet connection, making it unclear what state the device is in, until a browser is launched.

I  never have to ask someone for their network password to access wifi on a Kindle, and it doesn't ask me for a log in password to use my Amazon account when I lose connectivity and then re-connect. Every time my iPod Touch falls out of range of a wifi network, it seems to ask me for my iTunes login credentials when it discovers the wifi again. Once authenticated to the Amazon store, it sends me what I need as long as my Amazon account has a current credit card.

The frictionless access connectivity and consumption have spoiled me on my Kindle. I'm hoping Apple has fixed the machine to machine connectivity to be more seamless on an iPad than it has been on my iPod Touch. If so, somewhere during the 60 days till I can get my hands on an iPad, my Kindle and I will have the "it's not you, it's me" break up conversation.

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