Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year

Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year

I am going to put this in the “strong rumor” category, even though it seems to come from one source:

Good E-Reader post by Michael Kozlowski

That’s because it’s a source I like who is writing with confidence.

According to the post, Amazon will likely release an 8″ color Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader…not a backlit tablet, like a Fire) utilizing Liquavista for the holidays this years.

There have been rumors about this almost since the Kindle was announced in November of 2007, and they picked up more when Amazon bought


in 2013 as related in this

Reuters article by Alistair Barr

So, does all this pent-up demand for a color Kindle mean guaranteed success?

Nope. 🙂

You see, since the Kindle was released, Amazon has also started selling

Fire tablets (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can get a full color Fire tablet for less than the least expensive grayscale Kindle…about $30 less.

In fact, on the

Amazon devices bestseller list at time of writing (at AmazonSmile*)

the most popular Fire tablet is more popular than the most popular Kindle EBR, which is the

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Those are both behind the

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) (#1)

and the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (#2)

The obvious question: why introduce a color EBR when you already have a color reading device?

Well, EBRs usually have some real advantages over backlit tablets, the two biggest ones being perhaps the much, much longer battery charge life and the ability to read it in bright sunlight. An EBR with equivalent colors to a backlit tablet, but with the performance capabilities of a Kindle, would be a big hit…provided the price was acceptable to consumers.

Aye, there’s the rub!

The ability to produce some sort of color EBR has been around for years, but nobody has done it successfully in the market.

I would buy it, partially to be able to write about it for you…but I’d also be curious about it myself!  I’m looking forward to getting the

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which has audio via Bluetooth, restoring text-to-speech to a current model Amazon EBR. I’m expecting to write about it before Monday (should be in my hands Friday). I’m assuming new models will have that capability as well.

I haven’t bought the Oasis, because you can’t buy it without an animal leather cover at this point, as I wrote about here:

My biggest disappointment with Amazon to date

I would otherwise, despite the relatively high cost.

The Oasis is number #41 on the Amazon devices list…it had done well initially, but it looks like demand might have slackened. It’s possible that the market for a nearly $300 EBR just wasn’t that big.

That’s going to be the key for a new color Kindle, if Amazon does introduce one: the price.

If the color Kindle is close to an equivalent grayscale Kindle, I think people will pay the difference for the most part. If not…

What is “close to” specifically? I thought I’d get a sense of that from you. In this poll, assume everything else is pretty much the same (including battery charge life, which would be quite a technical accomplishment).

Again, this is only a rumor. However, Good E-Reader is more tied into the European market than I am, and Liquavista was a Dutch company, so they could have good sources on this. My intuition is that they are probably right, although not necessarily this year (even though that would be good timing, and seems more probable than waiting for next year).

What do you think? Would you care about a color EBR? What makes that attractive to you? What if the color was muted compared to a Fire tablet? What if it cut battery charge life down to, oh, a week (at an hour reading a day)? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


16 Responses to “Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year”

  1. alanchurch Says:

    There is a good chance I was would not buy a color kindle because there is very little color in books and anytime I want to I can use my iPad to see color.perhaps if it were cheap.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, alanchurch!

      It depends on the book. 🙂 There isn’t a lot of color in novels, but there can be a lot of it in non-fiction, especially textbooks and “coffee table books”. Since I have some color vision deficiency (colorblindness), there are times where I’m really aware of it. 🙂

  2. MikeOnBike Says:

    I’m curious to see what Liquavista screens look like. Will they have the ink-on-paper feel of e-ink? Will they be as sharp and fast as modern LCD?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, MikeOnBike!

      I response to your second question first: nope, they shouldn’t be as sharp or as fast as a backlit tablet…I think I’m safe in saying not even close. That also connects to your first question: I would think that they would seem similar, but it depends on what makes up that “feel” for you.

  3. booksfan Says:

    I’d prefer a waterproof Kindle to a color one. I agree with alanchurch about there being little color in books, although it might be nice to see bookcovers in color. My concern would be battery life. If it were cut to 7 hours, that would be a problem for me as I read more than an hour/day.

    In the summer, I spend a lot of time reading IN the pool, hence my desire for a waterproof Kindle!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, booksfan!

      Yes, I find it an odd omission that they haven’t done a water-resistant Kindle, when Kobo has one. Of course, a new device might be waterproof and color. 🙂 I wouldn’t expect the power reduction to be that much…I’m just guessing at this point, but you are suggesting a cut of more than a half, and I wouldn’t think that would be the case. I don’t think they’d try marketing it if it was less than a backlit tablet (nowadays, let’s call that 10 hours).

  4. hsextant Says:

    I would far more prefer to see a good Audible capability (not just text to speech) and the incorporation of immersion reading in the Kindle ebr. I am not sure what value color would have, but I would be willing to spend extra for it when my current reader died. But this pales in comparison to my desire for the Kindle to handle Audible. That I might actually upgrade for even with a perfectly working PaperWhite.

    I generally do not upgrade to the latest and greatest but tend to run things into the scrap yard, but an Audible capability may be the exception to that.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, hsextant!

      I haven’t been able to test putting an Audible book on the new device, but my guess it doesn’t have the software to play one.

  5. Man in the Middle Says:

    Perhaps if its battery lasted a LOT longer than my iPad mini’s, and could also run Fire apps. Non-starter otherwise.

    The feature I WILL pay for is text to speech, as soon as the Bluetooth support migrates to the Voyage or perhaps just to the Paperwhite. (I like the auto light level of the Voyage, but doubt I’ll pay that much again above the price of a Paperwhite just for a light sensor.

    I really dislike the Oasis – added battery life doesn’t count if it requires a cover to work. Lately, I find I no longer even use the magnetic cover on my iPad mini.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Man!

      I can’t envision a way that an EBR could run Fire apps, so this one is probably off your radar…that can simplify things. 🙂

      I do like the Bluetooth on the new Kindle, and I think it will migrate…

      The Oasis is off my radar, until you can buy it without an animal leather cover.

  6. Tom Semple Says:

    While I don’t find the specifics of this rumor credible, there’s every reason to think that Amazon would be interested in coming up with a ‘color EBR’. Liquivista is not quite the display to replace e-ink, since it would still require backlight mode for indoor reading. Power consumption would be less only when the backlight is not needed, but the strength would be that you could read it with strong lighting, unlike conventional LCD based displays.

    I would actually be interested in a tablet with a conventional display that is single purpose for reading: strip down the OS so it is not a general purpose device for playing games and other apps, just has a reading app, audiobook player, ability to play embedded video, and a simple web browser. Then refactor the components around those simpler requirements to maximize energy efficiency. You could probably reduce battery storage, make it lighter and thinner and more pleasant for reading (include page turn buttons). Liquavista would make this even more feasible while also giving the ability to read out of doors, but for me at least something the size of Fire HD6 that was 50% lighter would be attractive even without that.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Actually, I believe an “electrowetting” display can also be frontlit…so, I don’t think it would be the same as, say, a Paperwhite, but my guess is that you could get hour out of it. Oh, here, I found an article:

      My concern at this point with your second one would be the price compared to the lowest priced Fire tablet. I’m not convinced (yet) that people would pay say, $50 more for a couple more days without charging and for fewer options. Of course, that sounds like famous last words… 😉

      • MikeOnBike Says:

        I think a closer comparison is the $150 Fire HD 8. From the extremetech link, it sounds like LV acts a lot like LCD, but uses less power.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, MikeOnBike!

        I wouldn’t expect it to be marketed as a tablet with different tech but, as the rumor had it, a “Kindle with color”. The tech is similar to a tablet in that the image is between you and the light source, but my understanding is that it can actually still be seen without that…which is quite different from an LCD.

      • MikeOnBike Says:

        As I understand it, LV can be frontlit, like e-ink. And the display seems to be quick, like LCD. So it doesn’t really need to run the limited Kindle OS. It could run the Fire OS (including Kindle app).

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, MikeOnBike!

        I’ll be interested to see the implementation…if any. 🙂

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