Reuters: “Amazon aims to launch front-lit Kindle in July: source”

Reuters: “Amazon aims to launch front-lit Kindle in July: source”

Amazon is good at surprising me and, well, this report doesn’t. :)

Reuters article

That makes me think that, if it is accurate, it isn’t everything. ;)

The gist of the article is that an unnamed source told Reuters that Amazon will have a frontlit version of the Kindle Touch in July…and an 8.9″ tablet (larger than the current Fire) “…closer to the holiday season…”

The frontlit E Ink Kindle is pretty much a given. I wrote about an article saying that one was seen about five weeks ago. Barnes & Noble has already released their NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight, and it’s had good reviews (my guess is that the sales have been good as well). I saw one in a Barnes & Noble recently…it was hard to get a really good sense of the lighting in the store, but I did cup my hands around my eyes and look. The lighting was pretty even, although I mentioned to the salesperson that it looked brighter at the top edge, and the salesperson agreed.

That B&N, by the way, was unexpectedly empty to me. It really seemed to surprise them when I wanted to buy something. ;) That might have just been that day, I suppose, but I’m pretty sure they only had (out of, oh, a possible five) one register open.

By the way, side note…I was told this “loss prevention” story once. It was supposed to be true, although I have no way to verify it.

The story goes that an accountant for a corporation was on vacation. Coming back, the accountant said to someone, “You know, I went into store 221, and all twelve registers were really humming.” The person responds, ‘Store 221 only has eleven registers.” Accountant: “I’m an accountant…I know how many registers there were, and there were definitely twelve.”

Well, they send a loss prevention officer to the store. I dealt with those…they look for employee theft, among other thing, and that’s a serious problem. I had that happen a few times as a retail manager.

Anyway, it turns out that the manager had set up an extra register, for cash only. The register wasn’t actually hooked up to the system, so the sales weren’t recorded…and the manager just took the cash at the end of the day.

Sounds clever…and while I don’t think it would have happened quite the way the story goes, it does seem possible.

Okay, back to Amazon. :)

I think one tablet is part of what’s too conservative. I’ve been predicting at least three (a more full-featured one the size of the current Kindle Fire, and two larger ones, entry level and fancier).

I would hope we will see those before the fourth quarter, although it doesn’t hurt to have a hot new item going into that period.

Of course, a “Kindle phone” would be a hot new item, too… :)

There is some other interesting speculation in the article…I’d recommend you take a look at it.

One other thing…I just wonder if this might be a deliberate leak. It might be a way to slow down those NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight sales. I’m just sayin’…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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6 Responses to “Reuters: “Amazon aims to launch front-lit Kindle in July: source””

  1. Jack Bunce Says:

    Re: Your account story.

    It didn’t happen in B&N but it did happen at a local grocery chain here in the Northeast called Stew Leonard’s. He had several very successful large stores at least one of which had one or more checkout lanes which bypassed the accounting functions for tax purposes.

    He ended up in federal prison — not a lot of time but still significant. He son may have also done some time for it, too. His company survived his incarceration and he is back running it now. Very successful with great food and prices.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jack!

      Interesting! I just took a look, and that happened in 1993. I’m not sure if I heard the story before that or not, but it could certainly have happened more than once. :)

      Oh, and to be clear, I didn’t mean to imply it was a Barnes & Noble! I hadn’t heard it that way.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I saw the Reuters article, and several others — all saying more or less the same thing. There have also been a spate of stories about a color e-ink kindle. I must say I find myself singularly unexcited this time around.

    One of the stories remarked that the July release would be in time for back to school. A glowlight kindle doesn’t exactly seem a compelling back to school item to me — a color 8.9″ fire on the other hand might.

    Thinking big picture here: it seems that Amazon is being hemmed in on many sides by competitors limiting their innovation opportunities (in H/W, S/W, and content). There’s so much diversity in hardware EBR and tablet devices that I’m hard-pressed to think of anything really exciting that they can do. Also thinking over their last few release cycles, hardware hasn’t been their differentiator — price and content have been their weapons of choice (they’ve also been consistently making small “fit and finish” improvements to H/W and S/W).

    Whatever devices they announce, I suspect that the things that impress might be price (always :D) and software. The e-ink browsers could stand some improvement (silk for e-ink?). An AMOLED display would be nice on a fire. I’d like to see better management of multiple device content on single accounts on the web side of things, and better integration of the various cloud storage facilities (archive, cloud drive, personal document storage).

    If they’re serious about back to school, there’s probably a lot they could do to make EBRs more useful to students and teachers.

    What would you like to see; think they will do?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Those other articles seem to have had the Reuters article as their impetus, although they don’t always say which “report says” they are using. :) It was supposedly to Reuters that the person spoke.

      I think it’s an astute observation that a frontlit EBR (E-Book Reader) isn’t necessarily a big attraction to college students…is reading in the dark really an issue there? It is cooler, though, and it might be good an issue for younger users.

      I’d break things down this way:

      Hardware: I do think there is a long way to go on hardware. The Fire is still too heavy, I believe. I think speaker systems could really be improved on tablets (although software can help). Battery charge life is an opportunity. More pie in the sky, flexible devices will be in our future, I think. Mirroring to a TV and having projection would be big. For the KF, things that others have (like GPS and cameras) would change the battle. Touchscreens are maddeningly imprecise for some users…they don’t respond, they respond too easily. Devices that can do both backlit and reflective would be a game changer. Color reflective screens would matter to some people.

      Software: Lots of room here for competition still. Voice interaction in both directions is a big one. Movies are huge in memory storage…if someone can crack that nut, it’s a definite plus. Reading more formats more easily. Running more than one website on the screen at the same time. Device specific archives…that’s the big future.

      Culture: This is the key one, and might involve software, but isn’t just that. How can I get to my stuff easily? How can I interact with other people? How can I use my device to connect with my other devices? What’s the Customer Service like? How do I get what I want…and at what cost? This is where Amazon can exploit the Manage Your Kindle page more. How can it work with my kids? My employees? That’s what differentiates the soft part of tech from one company to another. Will you have more NOOK friends or more Kindle friends in your “circle”? Did Facebook dominate MySpace through software, or through culture? I’d say the latter…and that’s where Amazon should focus the most effort.

      Just my thoughts, though…

  3. szokekutya Says:

    Bigger tablet from Amazon. yay :-) Yupiiii! I already have Kindle Fire but some bigger (for real working) will be cool! I will be wait for it without breath :-)) Thanks for news, Bufo!

  4. szokekutya Says:

    Bigger tablet from Amazon? Yupiiiii you…. I already have Kindle Fire, but bigger tablet will be great for real working.. I will be wait for it without breathe :-) Thanks for news, Bufo!

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