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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

My name is Sean Mills, and I am a co-owner of Grantwood Technology, a maker of iPod accessories (the link to our website appears in my signature). We are always on the lookout for new product ideas, and we are currently trying to gauge interest in a case/cover for Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX.

We have browsed various posts where forum members have discussed their experiences with some of the current cases on the market. We have purchased a couple of cases ourselves (Amazon Leather, Belkin Neoprene), and for the same price point, we think we can do better. While we have some ideas of our own, we thought it worthwhile to ask the Kindle community for their feedback on what their ideal case would be.

To help with the collection of the feedback, we have created the following short survey:
Submit Your Feedback

For the benefit of other forum members, it might help if you added a new post that contains a copy of your feedback. I have added a reminder to the survey.

Of course, you are welcome to ask me other questions in this forum topic, and if we decide to make some prototypes, we would ask for volunteers to test them.

Thanks to Betsy for allowing me to ask for your feedback, and I look forward to your comments.

P.S. Our company is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and if any forum members live nearby, then we would be happy to discuss your feedback in person.
 

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Welcome, Sean!

I'm sure, knowing our members, you'll get a LOT of feedback!!!  We're always looking for new cases, members, here's your chance!

Betsy
 

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I like the sleekness of the Amazon cover and I do like the hinge system.  I would like to see some more cushion that would provide protection.  Of all the covers I have (4 of them), I like the lining that is inside the  Amazon cover.  It's soft and I like the dark charcoal gray color, doesn't get dirty.  I like the feel of real leather.  The pebbled leather seems to be very durable as opposed to a smooth leather which could show scratch marks and scars.  I would like to see a variety of color in the leather cover.  A design would be nice, but seeing that your price target is at 29.99, I wouldn't expect to see that.  I would like to see some type of closing method on the cover.  I'm not crazy about the leather strap on the M-edge.  It does seem to get in the way.  I bungee type closure is fine, or a magnet, or snap (as long is the screen is protected and pressing the snap wouldn't apply too much pressure).  If the hinge system is utilized, I really don't care if the opposite corners are secure or not.  I don't like the use of velcro on a cover.  As mentioned above, I like the sleekness of the Amazon cover, it's very light.  I'd be more than willing to give up a little bit of the weight issue to have the protection of a thicker cover (within reason).
 

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I should note, that in addition to posts here, Sean asked that members post at this survey site if you're willing (it's a little bit buried in his post):

grantwood said:
To help with the collection of the feedback, we have created the following short survey:
Submit Your Feedback
Betsy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello,

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but we have recently relocated to a new office. Anyway, we have decided to produce cases for the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. We are expecting a final prototype of the K2 case in about two weeks. I'll see if I can post a photo at that time.

Here is a description of the K2 case. NOTE: Just like any design, we made some tradeoffs. The main tradeoff is protection vs. sleekness.

1) It does NOT use a hinge, but rather four elastic tabs to hold the K2 in place. While we like the idea of a hinge, we want to avoid this:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10289340-1.html

2) It is zippered, so the K2 will be protected while in a laptop bag, suitcase, backpack, etc.

3) The initial color is black, and if initial sales go well, we'll at least add a brown case. Or we might produce a black and brown case initially. Not sure yet. Our color palette is apparently limited (black, gray, brown, red, and a few shades of these). I'll see if I can post a photo of the palette.

4) The cover is a smooth, somewhat soft, synthetic leather. I'm not sure if there are any existing Kindle cases that have a similar feel, but we went for the "executive journal" look, if that makes sense.

5) The inside is lined with a black felt-type material.

6) There is some stiffness to allow for reading with the cover folded back.

7) Our company name and logo are embossed on the back, leaving us the option to customize the front (e.g. college logos).

8) On the inside left section, there are a couple of pockets to hold items like hotel keys, business cards, brochures, etc. DO YOU LIKE THE IDEA OF A POCKET?

9) The retail price of the K2 case will be at most $29.99, probably lower. The Kindle DX case will literally be a bigger version of the K2 case.

I encourage you to leave feedback in this thread and/or the survey referenced in my initial post. We would definitely like some testers to provide honest feedback.
 

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I'd be willing to be a tester for the K2 cover if you need one.
 

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I like the idea of a pocket. It is always nice to have a place to store some small papers. The lack of colors is going to hurt you. Black is ok but most the people I know buying covers are buying them in a wide variety of colors.
 

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I would also be willing to test for the K2 cover since I only have the Amazon cover with the TrendyDigital fabric cover.  I am in the market for something sturdier to allow me to take the K2 away from home until I can afford (or receive as a gift) a more expensive leaher one.

I agree that basic black is good, but every other company offers this color and you would just be another one in the mix.  There are so many more conservative Kindle users and/or men who are not looking for the bright colors like the blues, pinks, purples, etc. and there is not a lot to choose from.  I think a company would do well if they offered more than just black and brown, but business appropriate in tone - such as burgandy, gray, taupe, tan, dark green, navy, etc.  A pattern is always nice, but again, something very, very conservative such as an embossing or a faint basic pattern would work - not a picture!

The weight and heft should be as minimal as possible (who wants to carry the equivalent of a hard cover book around??), but with practical coverage/protection for the Kindle, especially the screen.  A way to close the cover is also nice, but a way of completely enclosing the Kindle (not leaving top, bottom and side open) would be even better.  Pockets are great, but protecting the screen is always a concern with them...maybe pockets with a flap over them of some kind?

Price is always something that can sway someone either to your product or away.  Non-leather has to be affordable and less than the leather options!  Quick shipping and exellent customer service are a must or you will face the wrath of the Kindle Boards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
F1Wild said:
Quick shipping and exellent customer service are a must or you will face the wrath of the Kindle Boards.
The case will be sold and shipped by Amazon, so no worries about shipping, and you can read about our customer service on Amazon:
Amazon Feedback
 

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No hinge, no interest.  I think the issue with the hinge might have been some isolated incidents of people either forcing the hinge into the Kindle or just not securing it properly.  I have a M-edge cover and the one thing I like about it the most (besides the closure feature) is the hinge which in my opinion really secures the Kindle.  Just my two cents!
 

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I sent my feedback on the form, but I see that a prototype has already been made.  I think you are heading in the right direction, but certainly you will always get differing opinions.  I personally am not keen on the zipper (I see that M-Edge has a zippered sleeve out now too) because it would not be comfortable to hold on one side when it's folded back.  Anyway here's the feedback I sent for what it's worth.  And if you still need testers, I would be happy to help.  Hey maybe since I think I won't like the zipper, and I try it and like it, that would be a good testamony! :)

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Let’s see an ideal Kindle case, I am sure you will get as many answers as there are choices out there! 

1. It should be sturdy to help with protecting this expensive piece of equipment.
2. It should have a closure, so it doesn’t fly open unexpectedly.
3. The Kindle should be held securely in place, but not be totally covered so a skin still shows off nicely.
4. The front flap should fold flat to the back.
5. It should be comfortable to hold.
6. I like plain covers in brown or black, so they don’t draw attention as something interesting to steal when I am out in public.
7. It should be able to put in a load of laundry and preferably move them to the dryer when done.  (j/k on that one) (sort of)

In all seriousness I think it’s kind of hard to improve on what’s already out there.  One thing that comes to mind that I discovered would be super nice to have the other day, is a way to just slightly prop the Kindle case up at an angle.  I don’t want a full stand up thing like some cases out there, but some sort of attachment that unfolds and allows me to prop it up at a slight angle.  Oh and another thing I’d like to see is a really cool or funky fabric on the inside cover, rather than just the plain old plain old.  Like professional on the outside, party on the inside!

Good Luck!
Rachel
 

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Hello Sean and welcome!

Glad to see another manufacturer asking actual Kindle users what we would like in a case. I filled out your survey and look forward to seeing when you have the actual products available for sale. If you need to kick up the price to $39 would increase your options in a quality product. Kindlers want fashion and protection for their expensive devices. As a DX user, I don't mind spending extra money to safely protect an almost $500  device. Between the decalgirl skin, stuffbak registration and the Amazon extra warranty, a good case is a must. I am currently using the amazon DX case and am looking to see what the other manufacturers have.

1) Multiple colors, at least 4 or 5 choices in a leather or synthetic leather that doesn't show scratches. Black is a good start but many people prefer other colors such as sky blue, wine, or pink.
2) Hinges or rail system like the one Noreve uses. I much prefer the hinges over corner type flaps or nasty velcro.
3) Zippered closure using a high grade soft plastic zipper such as YKK brand so that nothing on the kindle gets scratched or that the zipper jams. If not a zipper, then high grade magnet system like the one found on the Amazon DX cover.
4) A couple of wide pockets, where you can slide notes or a packet of sticky notes into.
5) Ability to completely fold the cover back flat like the Amazon cover.
6) A seven day return policy. If a customer has a problem or doesn't like the product and it is still in new condition, you should be able to return the cover for a refund.
7) No nasty smells. Some covers I have tried have a horrendous chemical smell. Sorry, they get sent right back or gets sold on Ebay at a  $$ loss to me.

Best Wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Athenagwis said:
7. It should be able to put in a load of laundry and preferably move them to the dryer when done. (j/k on that one) (sort of)
That would be the upcoming Kindle LG. Haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Eeyore said:
2) Hinges or rail system like the one Noreve uses. I much prefer the hinges over corner type flaps or nasty velcro.
I realize that the lack of a hinge/rail system will be a showstopper for some, but the corner flaps accommodate those customers who want to easily remove the K2 from the case (some customers want to read "case-free"). In fact, you don't have to tuck the K2 under the corner flaps at all.
 

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Hinges are mandatory for me.  Even my lovely Oberon cover will be converted as soon as I can figure out how to successfully cannibalize my Amazon K2 cover to transfer the hinge mechanism.  The incidence of cracking seems to have been blown out of all proportions.  The hinges are almost completely hidden (unlike straps), don't add bulk (unlike velcro), and hold K2s securely.  When I got the Amazon cover I was very impressed with how they managed this, and I wouldn't use a case without it.

Black: doesn't everyone else already make that color?

Leather is a plus.

A small closure, such as a magnet, would be welcome.  I wouldn't think a zipper would be comfortable to hold but it would add protection, so I'd be interested to hear what testers think.

Wouldn't use pockets - afraid to scratch the screen.  To me, the whole idea of the Kindle is to be light and thin (OK, Oberons are an exception, but those are meant to be works of art) and the purpose of the cover is protection, not storage.

The lining is an interesting problem.  The Amazon cover uses something that is very soft and comfortable.  Whatever it is Oberon uses on the back of the front cover, to protect the screen, irritated me within 20 minutes (hot and scratchy). 
 

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I, on the other hand, abhor the idea of a cover with a hinge for my K2. With my luck, I would crack my K2. And with your product not being Amazon, a refund would be highly unlikely from them. I think this is a smart move, and it's better to be safe than sorry. Plus, all the bad publicity on hinge cases wouldn't help sales.

You have a lot of great colours your company can choose from looking at your swatches. I like the muted look because it's good for a more professional atmosphere, but it would give people something other than black. As far as starting out with black, I can understand the need to test out interest in your covers, but I wouldn't be interested in buying a black one. For me, it's too boring. And while I don't want to scream hot pink, I like to have a flash of colour.

The corners sound fine to me. I would be a little worried with the stretching of elastic over time, but for the low price of the cover, it wouldn't be enough to stop me from buying it.

A zippered case sounds perfectly fine to me as long as it doesn't interfere with folding it back and reading. And the zipper would have to be of decent quality so as not to be difficult to close or break after a couple of zips. You'd also want to make sure people can still charge their Kindles while its in the cover. While it's not a horrible hassle to take the Kindle out before charging, I've read many reviews where people are really bothered with the lack of the simple feature.

Whether it's leather or synthetic leather, this has never been an issue for me. As long as it doesn't scratch easily and looks like it's good quality, that's all that matters.

I have no issues with pockets. I own a Noreve, and I don't feel pockets add any additional bulk. In fact, I like the idea because it seems better made to me (for no obvious reason ... I guess I just like frills), and there are occasions when I just want to go into a coffee shop with my Kindle and a credit card.

I also like the idea of having the front clean for the option of customization. Is this something where people can send you custom orders? Or will you begin adding different designs over time?

Can't wait to see some product pictures and to see what colours you decide on!
 
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