I haven’t (yet) played with Kindle, Amazon’s new book reader. But it looks like they made a brilliant design decision: instead of connecting to the Internet through a host PC, the Kindle includes built-in wireless network access through Sprint’s EV-DO network.
This is a great example of “simple power” that I wrote about earlier. By eliminating the host PC, the designers removed an entire layer of complexity. There’s no Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop software to install and manage. Users don’t even need a PC, and there is no monthly account for wireless network access (charges are built into the cost of the device and content).
With the simplicity, users get more power: they can browse and purchase new content from anywhere, at any time. This is a dramatic upgrade from the typical iPod download-n-sync experience.
This suggests a design challenge: is there some element of your software or system that you can totally eliminate, making things both simpler and more powerful?