Amazon Kindle 4
We still don’t have a firm idea of when the Amazon Kindle 4 reader will be ready. Before the third-generation reader was released, it could be pre-ordered. The same is likely to happen with the next version of this device. But both current Kindle users and people who don’t yet own an electronic reading device have a number of questions regarding this newer model. For example:
- Will it have a color screen?
- If so, will this mean a move away from e-paper in favor of an LCD screen?
- Will it offer touch functionality similar to that of the iPad?
- How much will it cost?
- When will it be ready?
Some of these questions are a little easier to answer than others. For some, we simply have to wait for an announcement from Amazon. However, we can certainly make an educated guess about most of them simply from the information that is already available online. For example, by looking at media reports and going directly to the websites of companies involved in innovating the technology that the Kindle uses, we can get a lot of useful information.
First of all, there is a possibility that we will be reading with a color Kindle 4 in the not too distant future. This is more than a dream. The fact is that an electronic color display is already a reality. Currently, it is a company called E Ink that manufactures the screens for the Kindle 3. The version used for this model is called Pearl. Its new version that can display more than 4000 different colors is called Triton. Since Amazon already has a relationship with this company and they are comfortable using their inventions, it is a logical step that they will take a step to use the most up-to-date electronic paper display technology.
It is debatable whether a color screen will add much to the user experience. That said, it will be an important marketing device to be able to compare the Kindle reader, at a lower cost, with the more eye-catching iPad tablet devices. The fact is, the Kindle and the iPad only compete with each other insofar as they are both portable electronic devices. But the thing is, they are really designed to perform different tasks. The Kindle has one main function, to allow its users to read e-books. The iPad, on the other hand, offers a wider range of capabilities, but does not have a specific function. The Kindle is more functional while the iPad is cooler. Pulling out a Kindle with a color screen may not add too much functionality, but it certainly gives this device an improved coolness factor.
As you may have gleaned from the previous paragraphs, a color screen does not need an LCD screen. There is no doubt that LCD screens can operate at higher resolutions. After all, these are the kind of screens computers use. But e-paper displays offer some advantages of their own. These include a far superior battery life compared to devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and the iPad. The current version of the Kindle reader can last a month between battery charges. Second, reading with the Amazon Kindle is really the same as reading a book, as far as your eyes are concerned. I still don’t have a headache or feel the effects of eyestrain from using my Kindle. They are definitely more relaxing to use than staring at a computer screen for a long time.
Another interesting feature that the iPad offers is its play ability. The third-generation Kindle uses a small QWERTY keyboard that sits on the bottom of the device. However, it is still unknown whether the Kindle 4 will continue to have a keyboard or not. Advances in this area include Amazon’s purchase of a company called TouchCo in 2010. This company was developing touch functions for electronic paper displays. In fact, at the time of purchase, they had already invented functional prototypes. So, assuming otherwise, it is quite possible that this technology is now fully operational. We do not know for sure if Amazon will choose to include this in their Kindle 4 reader, but as long as they have it working properly, it would be surprising if they did not make use of this innovation.
So it’s quite possible that Amazon could steal some of the thunder from the iPad device. When it comes to marketing your next handheld reader, having a color screen and touch functionality would be a great value. The question is whether these features will add much, if anything, to the price of the device itself.
At the moment there are three different models of Kindle. Two 6 “versions (Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G) as well as the larger DX device. We could say that the 6” Kindles are the standard type while the DX is a deluxe version. The cost of the Kindle DX is about twice the price of the cheapest model and twice the price of the 3G model. Will Amazon be able to sell a color and touch version of its product for less than $ 150? A big part of the appeal of the Kindle reader is its affordability. It would be a shame if the price had to go up to more than $ 200, for example. This would undoubtedly limit the ability of some people to purchase the handheld device.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we don’t know exactly when the Kindle 4 will be released. There has been no announcement from Amazon other than to say that there is still a long way to go. To date, there have been three versions of the Kindle so far. The first went on sale in November 2007. That was just over three years ago. So if you stick to a similar time scale, you may be able to buy a Kindle 4 before the end of 2011. The release of the next version would ensure a sales record in the run-up to Christmas. But potentially more important to Amazon than short-term profits is making sure the Kindle 4 e-reader is the best device of its kind. So instead of working to a sales schedule, it seems likely that they’ll only come out with the next incarnation of their best-selling phone when the device is good and ready. This might not be until 2012.