Last week, Amazon bought a touchscreen start-up whose technology would work with color LCD screens. Today, the New York Times’s “Bits” blog has some interesting new glimpses at possible changes to the next model of Kindle.

Robert Brunner, founder of the design company Ammunition, worked with Barnes & Noble to create the Nook e-reader and says he believes that the Kindle will actually become two Kindles. “I think they are going to have to split their line. They can’t abandon E Ink screens, but they will need to create a color device too,” said Mr. Brunner. “Where it gets interesting is, do they just do a device that’s a color Kindle or is it a full computer?”

By scrutinizing Amazon’s job listings board, “Bits” suggests, it is possible to see what kinds of technical specialties Amazon wants to add to its Kindle team. Those specialties include understandings of LCD technology, wi-fi, and application development.

The article quotes several industry executives’ pontifications on what Amazon should do to compete with the iPad on a more equal basis. The consensus seemed to be that Amazon should move beyond just putting books on the device as-is, and instead offer a richer, more compelling experience.

I would be inclined to suggest that Amazon should first concentrate on improving how they put e-books on the device as-is until they get it right. If you have trouble walking, you shouldn’t be trying to run a marathon.

Nonetheless, this hints at some interesting possibilities. For example, about a wi-fi-only Kindle that would be cheaper because it did not have to subsidize a life-long 3G connection, with LCD (or similar technology) for faster screen refresh and apps to use for more than just e-book reading?

Convergence, here we come.


  1. I love my Kindle. Like Mary, folders would be nice. But how about being able to see the name of the mp3 so you can pick a specific song while reading. Or better yet, the ability to create a play list.

  2. Colors would be nice.. as long as it’s e-ink or something similar, not LCD. It’s not important for novels but critical for magazines and comics.

  3. Color would be great for the Kindle, and necessary in the hardware wars. But NOT a backlit screen. I do not believe that Amzon will go with a backlit screen. My only caution to Amazon is that they have only one chance to get this right with a really good color screen. Don’t blow it.

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