Amazon seems to be really slow and conservative on features for the embedded software (OS) running on it's Kindle devices. The last update (v3.1) was on Feb 2011. I don't see why they can't let users opt-in for cutting-edge feature experiments. This way they could easily roll-out wireless beta updates to advanced users and experiment with feature designs/variations, collecting usage data on what works/doesn't.
Some areas they could've been experimenting publicly for ages:
- Social features: why stop at public note sharing via twitter/facebook? Why not integrating to services like Evernote, Instapaper, Delicious? Why can't it sync my notes to Amazon's website? It would be nice to be able to review them online.
- Notes/highlights usability: The reading experience should be at least as powerful as the Real Thing. Why can't I attach notes to whole chapters or even books? Why restrict it to contiguous blocks of text? After all, the whole reading experience is mostly not about what I read, but what I thought about it, what I learned from it, how it applies to me, and people use notes for remembering these things.
- Podcasts: it has enough storage and CPU for playing mp3s and downloading data on the background. Why not scheduling the download and managing podcasts?
- Improve the experience for reading blogs. Why not integrating to Google Reader?