The New Kindle range for 2011 offers much more choice to consumers looking for an ebook reader. For now, the entire range looks like this:
Kindle Fire Tablet
As many expected, a back-lit Kindle tablet has been added to the range of gadgets. With only a 7″ display and no camera or 3G option it is unlikely to be an iPad killer, but expect it to make a serious dent in the sales of Nook color tablets. Reports suggest nearly 100,00 were ordered on its first day of release. You can read more about it here.
This is an entry level tablet, only slightly larger than the keyboard Kindle, but with a 7″ full color, multi-touch display. Yes, you can still read your ebooks on this, but it is most suited for those that want something truly multi-functional.
Kindle Touch Reader
The touch screen Kindle has been eagerly awaited all year. This does pretty much what we expect from a Kindle. With its 6″ E-ink display it produces crisp text that looks just like ink on paper. Beautiful for reading outdoors, this is the best display for simply enjoying a good book. Whereas older generations featured a keypad, this ones uses only touch for all navigation. If you do want to type of notes, search, or browse on-line one touch brings up a virtual keyboard for you to use.
Available in both wi-fi or 3G + wi-fi models this comes with or without special offers and advertisements, so the price range is pretty low starting at only $99 for the wi-fi with ads model.
This was perhaps the biggest surprise, an ebook reader starting at only $79! It has a slightly smaller memory than any of the other readers, and no keypad or touch-screen. But if you just want to read, it does that as well as the others. Still using a 6″ Pearl E-ink display it is far smaller in size and weight than any of its predecessors. The new Kindle, is the cheapest one to date.
This one is a true pocket reader since it is the most handy to slip in even your jeans pockets. It only comes with wi-fi, but will be perfect for book lovers that use other devices to access the web. The controls are 4 simple menu buttons and the usual 5 way controller. You can use this to navigate an on-screen keyboard but I imagine few would ever bother.
The 4th generation Kindle makes the perfect choice if you just want to read, no frills, no fuss, and not too much cash!
The Kindle 3, or Kindle keyboard is the version released in the summer of 2010. Unsurprisingly Amazon have chosen to keep this model available (at least for now) too. This satisfies those that do not want touch-screen and do want a keypad to use for typing. Of course it is somewhat larger than the two new Kindles, but it has the same display so works just as well for reading (though it weighs around an ounce more).
This model is available in both wi-fi or 3G + wi-fi (just like the Touch), and both with or without ads. It is also priced very similarly to the new touch-screen models.
As well as the 6″ version with keypad, you are still currently able to buy the Kindle DX. This is similar in design but features a 9.7″ display. Don’t expect this model to hang around though as it is nearly double the price of the color Kindle tablet!
New Kindles 2011
So there you go, all your new Kindle choices for 2011. Rumors suggest a 10″ version of the Kindle Fire will be available by the end of the year. Expect to see some pretty quick upgrades to the tablet range too in order to survive in this fiercely competitive market.
Update Sept 2011 – Read about the latest Kindle Fire Tablet in our more detailed article. You can pre-order now and shipping starts mid November.
Back to the original article:
The latest generation of Kindle products; the Kindle tablet looks set to be unveiled on 28th September. We doubt the official release date will be for another month or so, but expect to be able to pre-order the latest gadget in the next week or so.
Why do we think we are getting so close to some serious news on a Kindle tablet release? Simple, Amazon are holding a press conference in New York on 28th September. This is something the company only do when they have big news, the kind of news a new Kindle would be!
Perhaps sadly it now seems unlikely we will be seeing two tablets like we thought earlier in the year. For now at least it seems likely Amazon will introduce one 7″ tablet. Then if sales are as good as expected we could see a 10″ potential iPad killer released next Spring.
As well as a true tablet version of the Kindle, there is still some speculation that a touch-screen Kindle is also on the cards. I won’t hold my breath on that one. It will come, but whether it will arrive this year or next is definitely very debatable at the moment.
It looks like the new 7″ tablet will offer easy access to a vast array of content on the Amazon site. Ebooks (of course), bespoke Android Apps and games from the new Amazon App store, view movies and TV via their instant download and streaming services. Hooked up with everything Amazon (and their new Android friendly web-site) will make this a gadget for those eager to easily get content onto their tablet. This (and the low price, currently rumored from $179 to $299) is likely to make the new slate from Amazon the most popular tablet competing against Apple. No we don’t think a small format device will kill off the iPad just yet. But, it is likely to prove a hit with those consumers that like the idea of a tablet, but not quite enough to spend the price of a good lap-top on one!
Update Oct 2011: The new Kindle Fire Tablet has been released. You can read all about it here. Pre-orders can be made and deliveries will begin in mid November.
Back to the original article…
The web is pretty crazy right now, with so many new Amazon tablet rumors. The latest bits of gossip to appear are hinting that we could be seeing one new tablet this year and another next year. What is even more surprising (since the Kindle news has been a little over-shadowed by talk of tablets lately) is that two new Kindle readers are also expected in the third quarter of 2011.
This is possibly the summer release date we were thinking about. A new touch-screen Kindle along with another new Kindle 4 (but sadly not in color just yet!). This is very interesting, in that it confirms what we had hoped; that Amazon will continue to market dedicated eReaders to those that want something perfect for just one activity, regardless of just how impressive their multi-function tablets look set to become.
Whilst a viable alternative to the iPad would be nice, we don’t want to see the demise of the dedicated ebook readers since they really are the very best way to read, if that’s all you primarily wish to do.
There is a whole heap of discussion concerning the technical details, and since no sources are being openly acknowledged it’s pretty difficult to determine who is really in the know, and who is simply speculating without much to back it up.
Both the Wall Street Journal and Digitimes are in the center of today’s debate regarding the next tablet PCs to hit the market. But their sources are giving quite different opinions. Whilst WSJ are claiming a 9″ tablet is ready for shipping come October, Digitimes are sticking to their “2 tablet” rumor, claiming that Foxconn are producing a 10.1″ tablet that won’t start shipping till 2012, and Quanta are already shipping a 7.1″ version.
Who to believe? Who knows! Until we have some firm announcement from the company themselves, these Amazon tablet rumors and snippets of news are set to continue popping up. One thing for sure, as soon as we have something concrete we will be letting all you newsletter subscribers in on it too!
Important update: The Amazon tablet release has begun. Pre-orders can be made today, with deliveries scheduled to begin in mid November, on a first come, first served basis. Check out our color Kindle tablet article to find out all about the new Fire.
Back to the original article:
We should have a firm Kindle tablet release date in the next few days. In late September Amazon are due to hold a press conference in NYC. Since we didn’t get the August release we hoped for, this event would lead us to think that the new Kindle is being officially launched. That means we should see the tablet for real, as well as find out when we can start ordering it!
Back to the original article (which was very wrong!):
An August release date for the Amazon Tablet / Color Kindle looks like a near certainty today. More news from Digitimes confirm that shipments are expected before the end of summer.
Not that we are surprised – after all when is a better time to release the ideal Christmas gift?
The report did bring some surprises though. We had all got used to the idea of a quad core NIVDIA processor, but now it seems the hardware is being designed by Texas Instruments. Even E-ink Holdings look like they’re out of the picture since the new story is that the touch panel is coming from Wintek.
It all seems a little odd that the previous reports were so wide of the mark.
So what will the new Kindle in color, and tablets from Amazon really be like? You can bet we’ll be hearing all about them in the next month prior to a summer release. And, if you want to find out first, subscribe at the right. We’ll be in touch as soon as we have concrete information rather than simply more speculation!
The rumours simply won’t stop at the moment will they. We have already been rather over-excited about the prospect on a tablet Kindle from Amazon, and now it seems that actually we might really see 2 Amazon tablet devices instead!
Code-named Coyote and Hollywood it will be interesting to see what these two new tablets actually offer consumers.
While tech insiders are unsure if we need more tablet computers (75 new versions were shown at this years CES alone, and who has heard of more than 2 or 3?), many do agree that only Amazon has the power and infrastructure to actually deliver a tablet that would appeal to the Apple avoiding masses.
Well think about it logically, Amazon have recently entered both the cloud computing, and the media download markets. So perhaps a large tablet could become your must have media player for films? If so the Hollywood tablet code-name might be rather apt; this might just be the Kindle for Movies. Particularly when you consider, that if the rumours are correct the Hollywood tablet will be sporting Nvidia’s Kal-El quad core chipset, which in theory increases the performance by 500%.
If speculation is correct, this large format device, which much better resolution than the current iPad 2 would make for a great Blu-Ray viewer wouldn’t it. And, focussing on one aspect of its use, could be a simple way for Amazon to educate customers as to why they might actually want to buy a tablet. So far tablet uptake has been relatively slow (massive Apple iPad sales excluded of course). Price, and the fact that we already have a lot of gadgets in our homes that can do much of the same stuff a tablet can is likely to put off all but the early adopters. If Amazon sell us a media viewing computer, that also happens to be great for surfing, gaming, and chatting we might change our minds.
It now looks likely that the movie tablet from Amazon will feature free video streaming (for a limited time at the very least), similar to that offered to Amazon Prime customers already.
Coyote Amazon Tablet
And, as for the Coyote Tablet? Well, we think this will be an entry level Nvidia Tegra 2 powered tablet Of course, for now it looks like LCD will be the chosen display, but by 2012 it seems that displays using both back-lighting and e-ink could be a workable reality, so perhaps then the Coyote will become the real color Kindle so many of us are waiting for.
And, since Jeff Bezos responded to an enquiry about Amazon’s likelihood of creating a tablet last week, with the words “stay tuned” it seems things are likely to be announced pretty soon.
Update 15th July 2011 – It now looks like we might even see only one of the new amazon tablets this year, whilst the larger model could well be ready only in 2012! But further speculation suggests that 2011 will bring the release of the long awaited Kindle Touch which would be kind of groovy! Read more Amazon Tablet News.
Updated 22nd June 2011 – Great News – Amazon Tablet Release Date August 2011 – well we think so anyway.
More Amazon tablet news arrived 15th July which might mean we see only one new tablet this year, but another in 2012. On the plus side it seems that a new Kindle with touch-screen, along with an updated version of their current reader are both in the pipe-line too…
Based on Digitimes latest report it seems that and August release of Amazon’s tablets looks more likely than ever. And its all change on the specification too. No more Tigra, but instead Texas Instruments provide the processors, with Taiwan-based Wintek to supply touch panels, ILI Technology to supply LCD driver ICs.
Whether these new rumors will be proved right of course, remains to be seen – but if you want to be first to know when Amazon themselves confirm the release date of their new tablets just complete the form at the side. We’ll be in touch as soon as firm news is in!
Back to the original post…
It looks like more fuel to the Amazon Tablet rumours this month. Taiwanese tech news site Digitimes released news on 3rd May, that indicates sources within the supply chain are saying Amazon have already placed an order for a new tablet device.
The manufacturer of the future tablet is said to be Quanta Computers who currently already the tablet OEM partner to Sony. Of course both Quanta and Amazon have nothing to say on the matter so far.
But up-stream components manufacturers are suggesting quantities of up to 700,000 or 800,000 Kindle tablets might be shipped each month during peak production.
Of course no details have emerged, though it is expected that E-ink Holdings will provide the touch-screen panels and possibly more. Samsung are still thought to be in frame, perhaps as co-designers of the new tablet itself.
And when is this all likely to happen? Well the rumours persist that a tablet release date in the 2nd half of 2011 is expected.
Rumours have been circulating for the last two years that an Amazon tablet device (probably Kindle branded) is imminent. Obviously those rumours were a little off the mark, since as of today there is still no such thing as a tablet Kindle. Update 27th Sept saw the release of a Kindle 4, touch-screen Kindle and new Kindle Fire tablet.
But, that is not to say that such a device is not on the cards. There are many reasons to assume that an Android Kindle device is indeed on its way from online giant Amazon:
2010 Apple release the iPad, and contrary to expectations the tablet revolution kicks off with a bang.
2010 the Nook Color proves a hit, as a budget priced mini tablet/e-reader. The competition with B&N hots up.
2011 Amazon open their own Android Apps store.
2011 Amazon are recruiting Android experts.
2011 Amazon introduce MP3 store and Cloud Player for Android.
2011 Amazon introduce their Cloud store for all your mobile computing back-ups
2011 Fforester blog that unless an Amazon tablet does appear, no one is going to be able to make a dent in Apple’s iPad sales.
2011 Cheaper Kindles arrive, with the sponsored ads wi-fi Kindle 3, and one day sales on the Kindle DX. Are they trying to get rid of stock?
2011 a deal with Samsung is rumoured, and an Android Kindle is expected by the summer.
May 2011, yet more rumours – this time that a Korean manufacturer has been given an order for 800,000 Amazon tablets per month, starting in the second half of 2011.
Sept 2011, amazon finally unveiled their new Kindle Fire. Deliveries begin in November but pre-orders are massive so expect some serious delays if you don’t order pretty quickly!
A lot of this is conjecture of course. Android experts might just be being recruited to help with the App store. But even the App store itself could make even more money if an Amazon branded tablet were being sold alongside it.
All the mobile content that Amazon are able to offer suits an Android computer more than any other gadget available today, so why not produce their own?
With Amazon’s ability to offer cut price devices that deliver, and convince us to part with even more cash for content, they could really be a force to be reckoned with if a tablet computer is released. Particularly this year, because try as everyone else might, no tablets to date have seemed to offer much to compete with Apple’s expensive iPad. Something from a retailer we trust, that we already have an account with, and know how to order from could open the tablet market up to a much wider audience.
Amazon Tablet Release Date
So when would we get to see an Amazon or Kindle tablet device? Well August 2011 sounds like a good time for something new to come from the brand. August last year was when the iconic 3rd generation reader was released, so an annual upgrade could just be in order.
The only snag? What on earth would they call it; an Amazon Tablet, a Kindle Color or simply the Kindle 4? Whatever it will certainly be new!
Could we really see free Kindle readers for all? Hardly, but there is the distinct possibility of “free” Kindles for some at least. We all think we know that Amazon already sell their ebook readers at less than cost.
That isn’t such a silly idea when you consider just how much content owners are downloading. But a free ebook reader? Really? Well the jury is still out, but checking how the price of Amazon’s reader has dropped since 2009 you can see that in theory at least the price really should end up at zero.
Cheap Kindle Readers 2011
Frankly, we just don’t buy it. But what we do buy, is Amazon giving us a much cheaper Kindle. $100 has always been the real bench-mark. Get your gadget price lower than that (whilst keeping the quality up) and you have an impulse buy that far more consumers will indulge in.
Well so far we are still a little way off that $100 threshold. But with the wi-fi only version available (at the time of writing) for only $139, that magical price bracket is looking a lot more realistic than ever.
Hold on, you don’t even have to pay $139. In May 2011, Amazon will start shipping their Kindle With Special Offers. This is priced at an even lower $114 and to all intents and purposes it is identical to the $139 model. The only difference is that instead of screen-savers depicting famous authors, you get sponsored ads and special offers. These only appear when the device is “resting” so won’t actually interfere with the reading experience (though you will see them at the bottom of the home screen page too), and might just encourage more consumers into the Kindle fold.
Free Kindles for 2011
The possibility of free ebook readers from Amazon is likely to be a little more complicated. Rather than simply give away their best selling product to all and sundry, it seems a distinct possibility that Amazon would give them to their Prime customers.
Those are the folks who spend around $80 to enjoy free 2 day shipping, and free video streaming, as well as other benefits as loyal Amazon customers. Perhaps if you give those guys an ebook reader, they will spend even more at the online store?
Personally I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a free Kindle reader, but you never know, perhaps the blogging gossips will be right. It would seem more likely if a simple wi-fi Kindle was reduced heavily in price as another version of Amazon’s reader were introduced, say a color Android Kindle tablet for example?
Update – well we now have a $99 Kindle Touch and a $79 Kindle 4 (both ad supported), so the prices are most definitely moving in the right direction!
Update Sept 2011: The Kindle Touch starts shipping on 21st November and you can pre-order yours now. The device brings a much more attractive look to the most popular ebook reader range (providing you don’t want a keypad!).
The basic guts of the machine is pretty similar to what we already had with the 3rd generation reader, but (and this is important for many), removing the keyboard allows the whole thing to be reduced in size, whilst still retaining its 6″ display AND you get to use IR touch to navigate the buttonless device.
Kindle Touch v Kindle 3
So why are people buying the latest touch screen Kindle in their droves? And is it the right one for you?
There are a lot of similarities between the two devices:
Both available in wi-fi or 3G + wi-fi versions so that you can download new ebooks in seconds just about anywhere.
Both available in ad sponsored or ad free versions so you can choose to save more money so long as you don’t miss the author screen savers (the screen savers on the sponsored ads versions shows ads or special offers amazon think you might be interested in).
Both have the latest generation Pearl e-ink display for paper-like reading even when in direct sunlight.
Both are similarly priced (both the Touch, and the Keyboard wi-fi models start at $99, and the 3G models start at $149 and $139 respectively).
Both have text to speech audio function (where publishers allow it) and access to the same Kindle book store (as well as new library lending features).
Both have the same experimental web browser should you want to go on-line.
Both have the same long battery life of up to 2 months, and the same memory of around 3GB available for storing around 3000 ebooks.
In short, the latest generation has more in common with the previous one than you might expect. But the differences make this a hugely popular choice:
The new generation are significantly smaller and lighter than the keyboard models (nearly an inch shorter and an ounce lighter).
They keyboard is gone, and instead a virtual keyboard can be displayed on screen for touch-screen typing of notes or browsing. With no buttons at all page turns are easy (tap almost anywhere to page forward, and in the top left for page back). Tap the very top of the screen for more menu options (so you won’t be accidentally turning pages and can hold the device in either hand).
New X-Ray feature means that books are downloaded to the device along with a whole host of additional look-up information, such as ideas, historical figures, places and topics of interest.
The latest generation Kindle with touch-screen does not have the audio Voice Guide feature which allows users to navigate the device with an audio description of the various options. It does however have the more often used text to speech option which is great when you get into the car but would like to hear more of the story you were reading.
The new models are supplied with a USB charger (to plug into your computer), whilst the previous generation come with a charger that can be used from a power outlet or a computer (you can buy these if needed for the new generation eReaders).
The new 3G Touch Reader only allows internet access to the Kindle store, and to download new books and periodicals, and to access Wikipedia via its 3G service. For all other internet browsing you will need to use the wi-fi connection. The current keyboard version with 3G allows all internet access using the 3G network. This might sound like a problem, but since the internet experience when seen on e-ink is basic at best, this issue is unlikely to affect any but the most ardent fans of social networking.
The key way to compare the Kindle Touch with the Kindle 3 is to determine how important both size, and keyboards are in your world! Personally I find using the keypad a little fiddly, so prefer the idea of freeing up space by removing it, and benefitting from an overall lighter device.But I know some people are not fans of touch-screens and will prefer the more old fashioned keyboard. Since Amazon are continuing to sell keyboard versions everyone should be happy.
Have a look at our run down of the new Kindles in our other piece.
And now back to our original article (from may 2011) detailing why Amazon would eventually bring us a Kindle Touch Reader:
You might already wonder why there is no Touch-screen Kindle already. After all, didn’t Amazon buy a touch-screen developer (TouchCo) in 2009? Why the wait then? Well we don’t know yet, but of course it seems pretty likely that Amazon have something touchy feely in the pipe-line. In fact TouchCo was amalgamated with Lab126 which is the hardware division of Amazon responsible for developing the Kindle reader today.
Of course this led to rumours all through 2010 that a touch-screen version of Amazon’s eReader would be released any day. What we got instead was the fantastically improved Kindle 3, but no touch-screen at all.
Why Create a Touch Screen Kindle?
Now, you can get buy perfectly well without touch, but consumers are getting more used to it since it features so heavily in all our favorite new gadgets. In fact, it is becoming simply the expected way to navigate our hand-held gadgets, thanks largely to Apple.
Late in 2010 Sony actually re-worked their entire e-Reader range so that all included touch-screen navigation. Even the Nook Classic, Kindle’s biggest rival features a small touch-screen panel at the base of the display, for easy browsing.
Of the big ebook reading devices it seems only the Kindle is left without touch. Now, for many users this is no bad thing. After all touch brings the dreaded smears and greasy finger marks that some people really worry about. Frankly, most of the time you are simply start looking at the page so I don’t see this being that much of an issue. In fact a Kindle with touch-screen is likely to get a lot less smeary than all the other touch screen gadgets you own. But, each to their own obviously!
One of the key benefits of adding touch screen navigation would be that you can slim-down the size of the ebook reader even further. The slightly old-fashioned keyboard can be removed and the whole thing made smaller, or else the screen enlarged without having to make the device any larger or heavier.
The real reason to have touch screens though is for doing things other than simply reading. Navigating the web or playing games might be a whole lot easier if we had touch. But the current device really isn’t that great for such things anyway since it uses that slow refreshing e-ink display we love so much.
Ah But Will We Get a Kindle Touch Screen?
Whilst many consumers do continually ask about a future touch-screen Kindle, my gut feeling is that we are more likely to a tablet Kindle with touch instead. That would “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak, and ensure that the current style of Amazon’s ebook reader which already popular with a wide demographic does not alienate any of its loyal fans.
The best world would be one with a new generation e-ink based ebook reader similar to what the current Kindle 3 offers, along-side a touch-screen Kindle tablet for those that want something a little more flexible and multi-functional. The Amazon ebook reader has been continually evolving but perhaps it is time for a very new approach.
It seems to us, that we will see a touch screen Kindle in 2011, but it is unlikely to be just any old ebook reader.
Sept 2011 Update: The color Kindle for 2011 is the new Kindle Fire Tablet.
For those of you hoping to see full color E-ink, the wait continues… But those hoping for a compact, low priced tablet Kindle to view color, should be more than pleased with the new Fire. Available for pre-order now, orders will start shipping on 15th November. But with sales reputedly hitting 100,000 on the first day expect to have to wait a while if you leave it too long before placing your order!
Kindle Fire Tablet v Kindle E-ink Readers
Well you cannot have it all just yet at least. Choosing the latest tablet over an e-ink based reading device will mean a lot of compromise. In fact I imagine there will be a lot of people choosing the new tablet Kindle as an additional gadget, still choosing to use their traditional ebook reader when reading for long periods, rather than switching entirely from e-ink to the back-lit tablet.
Both formats have distinct advantages, but neither can truly replace the other just yet. Rumors do keep materialising that both Apple and Amazon are trying to develop a screen that can switch between E-ink and LCD. When that happens there truly will be a revolution, and potentially only one type of reading device needed by the majority. But for now at least it seems both tablets and ebook readers will continue to expand their market base alongside each other, getting along in many households happily together!
The Advantages of a Color Kindle Tablet
So I don’t think most of us need to ditch e-ink in favor of back-lit tablets. But there are many advantages to having the new Fire tablet. If you don’t have an ebook reader yet, a traditional E-ink reader is the best choice. But if you already have one of those the Fire might be a nice addition to your gadget collection because:
The Fire is affordable (not much more than a 3G e-ink based reader), bringing tablets within the grasp of those unwilling to pay Apple prices.
This is a small tablet, with a 7″ display and an overall size similar to that of the keyboard Kindles. That makes it more portable, lighter and comfortable to carry around than many others.
The display uses in-plane switching technology to give you a wider viewing angle so it is easier to show others what you’re viewing.
It really is a colorful Kindle, with a vibrant display able to show 16 million colors.
This is back-lit, so whilst vibrant indoors it will not be a beach reader like your e-ink based model!
With its free Whispersync ability, you can start a book where you left of, or continue watching a Movie on your TV from the point you left of on the tablet on your way home.
Using a Kindle reading app you can access your same library of Kindle books as you can on your dedicated handheld reader.
Download music from the Amazon mp3 store to listen offline, or live stream as you like. There is a set of stereo speakers at the top of the device as well as a headphone jack.
Choose from more than 100,000 TV shows and Movies, also available for live streaming.
Use the built in webmail app to access email accounts such as gmail, yahoo etc.
Access to your own online back-up. As with the Kindle readers, all you download or stream is saved on your own little section of Amazon’s cloud computing system, so you can re-access whenever you like.
The device comes with an easy to use navigation based on a library scheme which is intuitive and simple to find your way around.
Of course it is touch-screen. There are no buttons so the whole thing looks pretty much as you would expect from a modern tablet.
You have access to a growing (and already impressive) range of Android Apps from Amazon’s own app store.
Being tied into Amazon’s cloud means that the device doesn’t have to use lots of resources of its own when browsing online. Some pundits have pointed out that this means Amazon knows your surfing habits. We’re still waiting for confirmation as to how long such information is kept, and what if anything, the company plan to do with it. Personally I don’t see it being a big issue to ensure browsing down on your tablet is only stuff you have no qualms with the company knowing! You can make things entirely private but this will slow down the browsing experience.
Any Drawbacks for the Tablet?
Well, there aren’t any majors flaws discovered so far. But there are a few key points to remember before buying the new Kindle Fire. Most are simply about remembering the differences between an e-ink based product and a back-lit LCD one:
The display has an anti-reflective treatment, but it won’t be as easy to view in bright sunshine as an e-ink model.
The battery charges in around the same time (4 hours), but will only last around 8 between charges.
Only comes in wi-fi version. We expect 3G will follow but quite possibly not until 2012.
The memory is not massive, at 8GB you can store 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. But remember this is intended to be used in conjunction with Amazon’s free online storage Cloud so you always have more room, you might just need to remember to archive things more often!
Overall as far as tablets go, the Kindle Fire is looking pretty hot, particularly with that tasty price-tag. It won’t kill the iPad with its 10″ display and cameras, nor will it kill the original e-ink based Kindles. It seems there is a place for all at the moment, and that is a great thing for gadget fans!
And now back to our original article contemplating the potential for a color Kindle…
Talk is pretty non-stop at the moment regarding a potential Color Kindle Reader. Now whilst many of us are using our ebook readers just for fun, reading novels, browsing the papers or checking our emails, many are demanding color.
Do We Need a Kindle in Color?
Why would we want a color reader from Amazon? Well its obvious really. With color the world of electronic reading grows considerably. After all wouldn’t your kids be happier with a little color bed time reading? Your glossy magazine subscriptions make a lot more sense with color images, and of course the more serious will appreciate text books, reference material and work documents if they are a little more colorful!
But surely a color ebook reader has always been possible. Didn’t Barnes & Noble bring us a color Nook reader last year?
Well yes they did, but it used an LCD display which means it got more expensive, and had to give up some of the low power consumption associated with e-ink displays used in most other dedicated reading devices. Basically what B&N gave us was a tablet with limited use. Great if you want a small tablet, but not so great if you want to sit on the beach for a fortnight reading.
LCD is impossible to read in bright light, so not great outdoors, it gets hot and it uses a lot of power to run. True it is perfect for computing, it refreshes fast and you can read the screen in a darkened room. But that is not what many of us want when considering a reading device purely for pleasure.
So How to Make a Color Kindle Without LCD?
Until late on in 2010 the only way to create a reading device in color was to switch back to LCD back-lit display technology. As we have discussed this is far from ideal. But the makers of Amazon’s current Pearl display can now produce an equivalent product, but one capable of displaying thousands of colors. In addition Mirasol have developed a similar color screen using iridescence (similar to the way butterfly wings look so bright), to bring us low energy color.
The likely contender, should Amazon create an e-ink based color reader is Triton e-ink. The technology is currently being used by Hanvon to bring a color e-ink based device to the Chinese market. Mirasol have been expected to launch a color reader since last year, but though rumours continue, no firm partner has yet been announced.
Will People Like a Color E-ink Kindle Reader?
This is the big question. When asked if people would be interested in a color version of Amazon’s reader, the answer is very often a resounding yes. But to enjoy color e-ink they would need to be educated as to its limitations. Yes, it will make for brighter charts and kiddies books, but e-ink is subdued. You will not experience the same vivid colorfulness of an LCD screen. This keeps it easy to read, low energy and so on, but some users might find it a little disappointing, and perhaps not quite so impressive after all.
You can get an idea of the possibilities available today, for a color ebook display by watching the videos:
Personally I think once people have seen color e-ink for a while, they will view it as the perfect medium for a color ebook reader. But, in the mean-time I expect many will be expecting something a little brighter, and might wish instead that a Kindle tablet were created.
Of course Amazon could easily go down this route instead. But for now, we shall have to wait and see.