original-amazon-kindleBefore every man, woman and child owned a tablet, Amazon’s Kindle was one of the industry’s most desirable gadgets. Oh, an entire paperback library on one device. The idea was novel, and the implementation groundbreaking. It’s not everyday a company introduces a new way to experience an ancient tradition.

The Kindle was a harbinger for the e-reader market. Five years later, after a multitude of iterations and improvements, Amazon is at the top of the heap with the Kindle Paperwhite as its crowning jewel. Long before that, however, before we were cramming more guts in smaller packages, Amazon’s first-ever Kindle was a Frankenstein of form and function, a hideous sight.

The original Kindle specs, in hindsight, are laughable, too: an 800 x 600-pixel e-ink display, 4-level grayscale, 250MB of internal storage (with expandable memory!), and a whopping $399 price tag. It was an unwieldy beast, but one full of potential. The device has matured quite a bit over the years, into what is now the best e-reader money can buy.

It’ll be interesting to see how the market improves over the next five years. Tablets are currently the new Thing. But e-readers are clearly still part of the conversation. What will Amazon introduce in the next iteration? Color e-ink? Even better resolution? I can’t wait to find out.

[via SlashGear]