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There are already millions of Kindle enthusiasts all over the world. Many of us are eagerly anticipating the release of the Amazon Kindle 4 reader. I feel that the 3rd generation Kindle is the best hand held electronic book reader sold today so am expecting great things when the next version comes out.
Kindle 4 Release Date
Breaking news: The Kindle 4 release date is here. As of September 29th, we can pre-order the new Amazon Kindle Touch readers and Kindle Fire tablet. They will be sold on a first come first served basis so to avoid disappointment this Christmas – order a brand new Kindle today!
The question on everyone’s lips is when will the Kindle 4 be released? At present however, we simply do not know the answer. There is certainly a lot of speculation going round the internet though.
While we do not yet know when the new version will be ready, we do have historical data about previous Kindle releases. This may well give us a clue.
Original Kindle November 19, 2007 – 15 months later…
Kindle 2 February 23, 2009 – 19 months later…
Kindle 3 August 27, 2010 – 7 months and counting…
So if history is anything to go by, it would seem very unlikely that Amazon are going to bring out the next Kindle 4 reader before the end of October 2011 (15 months after the release of the Kindle 3) at the earliest.
On one hand, bringing it to market before Christmas 2011 will generate millions of dollars in revenue. However, Amazon seem to have a longer term plan for their Kindle readers. Reputation and customer satisfaction being more important than turning a quick profit. With this in mind, I am now beginning to suspect that we shall not see the release of the Kindle 4 electronic reader until 2012. I am sure it will be worth the wait!
One of the most anticipated developments is the graduation from the E Ink Pearl display, used in the 3rd generation Kindles, to a Color screen. This may well be the E Ink Triton display which, in addition to the 16 shades of gray of the Pearl display, also offers 4096 different colors. Just so we are clear, a color display does not mean that the Kindle will become a backlit device like computers and the Apple iPad.
E Ink are not the only company producing high quality Electronic Paper Displays. So we cannot take it as a given that Amazon will stick with this manufacturer. For instance, the Korean conglomorate LG is another manufacturer of Electrophoretic display technology.
Issues that have to be addressed relate to cost and battery life. The Kindle is a hand held reader for the masses. We have become used to the long lasting battery and reasonable purchase price of the Kindle 3. Therefore, if a color display is to be introduced, hopefully the great price and long battery life will not be compromized.
This is the other potentially huge change for the Kindle reader. A touch screen could mean the death of the Kindle keyboard. This in turn could lead to a larger display size for the same overall body size or a more compact Kindle reader. Research and development is already well under way into this type of technology. Indeed, Amazon have already acquired a firm, Touchco, who have been working on this very functionality.
- Amazon are brimming with new ideas. Not only do we have the Kindle 4 to look forward to, there are rumors that they will also soon be releasing an Amazon tablet. It will be really exciting to see how it compares to iPad 2.
As you’ve sure to have heard already, the Amazon Kindle Touch is now on sale, as a pre-order item. The first units will not be shipped until 21 November. These models, both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G are only available for delivery within the U.S. This is bound to disappoint customers, like myself, who live outside the States. You can read more about the possible reasons for this lack of availability in Europe and the rest of the world, below.
The focus now is going to be finding out what the new Kindle Touch models have to offer. For those of us with a a Kindle 3, is it a good upgrade path? Or would we be better advised to choose an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet?
The way I look at it, the Kindle Fire isn’t a Kindle as we know it – it’s a tablet. A true Kindle in my eyes is an electronic book reader. That’s why I’m going to get both, a Kindle Touch and a Kindle Fire. They’re two separate devices.
Kindle Touch Features
So what does the new Kindle Touch have to offer? Is touch functionality a gimmick or is it going to improve the Kindle experience? It certainly looks pretty impressive.
The fact that the handset is smaller than existing Kindle 3G models is pretty cool. It’s also lighter than the current model. What worries me is that the way I hold my Kindle, I often touch the screen. I wonder if this will cause a problem with the Kindle Touch models.
Its appearance looks cleaner than existing models. The lack of keyboard makes it appear more book-like. From looking at the videos available on Youtube, it appears to have all the standard Kindle features with the addition of a touch screen.
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Which Kindle Touch?
Being a current Kindle 3G owner, when I get a Kindle Touch, I’m not going to buy the 3G model. I think it’s a pretty neat feature but I don’t think I’ve ever really needed the 3G functionality. I’m certainly not against it, but on a personal level, the Wi-Fi only version will be adequate for my needs and it means I’ll be able to save a bit of cash when I finally get the chance to buy one.
Cheap Kindle Touch
You can save $40 if you choose the Special Offers version of the Kindle Touch or Kindle Touch 3G. On a personal level, I would pay the extra to get the non-Special Offers model. Being bombarded by advertising that I can’t turn off or control is not something that interests me. Admittedly, I’m sure it’s quite easy to get used to the offers popping up on screen and you never know, perhaps one of the deals will be of interest to you.
Techcrunch asks: Why No Kindle Touch Or Fire For EU, UK? Their belief for the lack of Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch in the U.K. being,
They don’t have the content. This is almost certainly it. [...] They’ve spent years developing relationships and clout [...] in the US, and Bezos can be confident that they’re providing not just a good tablet experience, but a huge selection of content along with it. Clearly he’s not confident they can do the same in the EU.
ZDNet ponders the question: Kindle Fire, Touch not available to Europe: Blame U.S. legal concerns?
Their hypotheis is that,
it may be due to U.S. cloud and legal concerns regarding the Silk browser [...] [T]he tablets cannot be sold in the European market because the cloud-based browser would be in breach of European data protection laws. Though data would reside in an EU-based datacenter, because Amazon is a U.S. headquartered company, the data would still be vulnerable to U.S. law.
My theory, for the lack of U.K. release information, is that it simply isn’t a priority for Amazon. Sure there are millions of customers who would love to own these products all over Europe. However there is a huge market, in Amazon’s home country who are desperate for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch devices. The logistics of the release of multiple products in multiple markets at the same time is perhaps just too much for them. So rather than risking falling flat on their face, simply concentrating on the one major market, the U.S, makes the best business sense. It’s not that Amazon doesn’t love their European customer base, they just love their U.S. customers more. Why not? We know that Americans are much more prolific internet shoppers. Amazon are simply following the money.
Amazon Kindle Reader Information
Color Kindle DX: Image of the Future
Some ideas of what we might be able to do with a larger color screen on the Kindle. Check out the mock up image!
How to Change Kindle Screen Alignment
Short tutorial discussing Kindle screen rotation and how to use the built in dictionary.
Reasons to Buy a Color Kindle DX Reader
The Kindle DX is often regarded as a bit of a mis-fit. Not a budget electronic reader and not in the same league as the iPad. Having said that, when a color DX comes on sale, it will be mine!