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Amazon rumored to introduce Kindle 2.0 next Monday

post #1 of 34
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Speculation is mounting that Amazon could announce a new version of its Kindle next Monday, a move that one analyst believes will help propel the e-book reader into a $1 billion dollar business for the online retailer by next year.

Last week, Amazon sent out invitations to a Monday, Feb. 9 press event at the Morgan Library in midtown New York. The Seattle-based company's last New York event, in November 2007, was used to introduce the inaugural Kindle device, leading observers to conclude next week's event will help usher in a new product dubbed "Kindle 2.0".

In a report to clients this week, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney estimated approximately 500,000 Kindles were sold last year. He based the figure on a filing by Sprint, which partners with Amazon for the device's cellular wireless service.

Based on his research, Mahaney expects the Kindle (review) to become a $1.2 billion business (and generate 4% of revenues) for Amazon by 2010, assuming its adoption will follow in the footsteps of the Apple iPod, doing for e-books what the iPod did for digital music. The estimate also assumes every owner of the $359 device will buy an average of one e-book per month.

As for the future of Kindle, Mahaney expects the "new device will be longer and thinner than Kindle 1.0, with a more user-friendly keypad and device side-buttons that are less prone to accidental hits/accidental page turns.

"We dont expect the device to have touch-screen capability, nor do we expect the device to have a color screen," he said. "We also expect the device to incorporate faster page-turning functionality."

Rumors have also surfaced about an upcoming education model that would feature a larger screen and be marketed to students as an alternative to textbooks. Large publishers like McGraw-Hill already publish 95% of their books electronically. However, the education version, while possible for a Monday introduction, is expected to hit the market sometime in the first half of this year, while the updated version of the base retail model is rumored to arrive in the current first quarter.



Photos leaked to the Boy Genius Report are believed to represent the new retail model, as the screen isn't noticeably larger than the one employed by the existing Kindle. According to the associated description, Kindle 2.0 will still utilize EV-DO for downloads, but sport a sleeker, wider and more elongated footprint with a metal back and speakers at the bottom. It's also said to be thinner, slightly heavier, but more robust than the model it will replace.

Kindle 1.0 (left) sits beside a Kindle 2.0 prototype (right) | Courtesy of Boy Genius Report

Other reported changes include a new joystick user-interface input, more natural keyboard layout, and a leather carrying pouch as opposed to the current binder-style protective holder.

Those claims are mostly consistent with ones published a few months earlier by BusinessWeek, which noted that Amazon is believed to have tapped renowned global innovation firm frog design to craft the enclosure and hardware interface for the new model. The business publication also spoke with a person familiar with prototypes of Kindle 2.0 who praised many of its design improvements.

"They've jumped from Generation One to Generation Four or Five," that person said. "It just looks better, and feels better."

The same report claimed that Amazon may also slash the price of the new Kindle to $299 or $249 in a bid to boost adoption.

The backsides of Kindle 1.0 (left) and a Kindle 2.0 prototype (right) | Courtesy of Boy Genius Report

When asked to comment on the Kindle last year, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs downplayed the device, saying it was destined to fail because it was based from the top down on an aging concept.

"It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore."

That said, many industry watchers believe that the much-rumored Apple Newton tablet -- due whenever it's deemed fit for consumption -- will indirectly give the Kindle a run for its money, serving as a digital slate capable of accessing every newspaper published online and any digital books that turn up on the iTunes and App stores.
post #2 of 34
[CENTER]Oprah take the wheel! [/CENTER]

I don't know if I could shell out for just a book reader.
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post #3 of 34
Hard to tell until it arrives, but this design doesn't look noticeably better than the 1.0 design to me.

The screen is still tiny relative to the giant white plastic box it's encased in. The keyboard has been radically altered, but only to a completely *new* impossible to touch type on keyboard.

Hardly a "5.0" product.
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #4 of 34
And this is Apple news how?
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post #5 of 34
Why make it any thinner?

Make it easier to hold!
post #6 of 34
No touch screen?!? Seems like such an obvious way to go. Turn pages with a finger swipe (or multi-finger swipe)... etc. E-paper is cool... but I won't buy one of these until it has an intuitive touch interface.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

And this is Apple news how?

Because some iPhone & iPod Touch users read ebooks (in PDF, Word, Pages, TXT format) on their device. With Apps like AirSharing and Stanza, its possible to have a decent eBook ecosystem going, albeit with no modern releases.

But, if Amazon's Kindle 2.0 should make ebook reading better than an iPhone/Touch, especially with new releases, hmmm.

Perhaps that would put Apple into the mode of opening an eBook store in the iTunes Store.
post #8 of 34
For Amazon to give credence to Job's admonition that the product is destined to fail because "people don't read anymore", Amazon would have to close down their bookstore.
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post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I don't know if I could shell out for just a book reader.

This does more than just let you read books. With its built-in wireless networking, your newspapers and magazines are delivered electronically as they're available (think: if you commute via public transport, your reading material is always fresh). It also supports RSS feeds, so various online news sites (including AppleInsider) are available.

If they got the price down to $200-250, I'd almost certainly snap one up. I've got the eReader application for my iPhone, and love it, but find the small screen just a little bit too small for comfortable reading.
post #10 of 34
I know it might be true from a harsh, bottom-line standpoint, but I always hated SJ's "people don't read anymore" line. I just can't get behind the idea of trashing reading. It's not like reading a book, in paper or electronically, is inherently outmoded.

And if 40 percent of Americans choose to be intellectually non-curious, that doesn't mean Amazon shouldn't come out with something like this. I wouldn't be surprised if the other 60 percent of Americans read quite a bit. After all, if you're willing to finish one book, odds are you don't mind reading others as well, meaning you read quite a bit in one year.
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post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

For Amazon to give credence to Job's admonition that the product is destined to fail because "people don't read anymore", Amazon would have to close down their bookstore.

Ha! Brilliant point, that.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

Because some iPhone & iPod Touch users read ebooks (in PDF, Word, Pages, TXT format) on their device. With Apps like AirSharing and Stanza, its possible to have a decent eBook ecosystem going, albeit with no modern releases.

But, if Amazon's Kindle 2.0 should make ebook reading better than an iPhone/Touch, especially with new releases, hmmm.

Perhaps that would put Apple into the mode of opening an eBook store in the iTunes Store.

To be clear, the iPhone has every feature but one that would make it the best e-reader out there: digital ink (eInk).

The Kindle and other devices are great because it's a whole lot easier on the eyes to read. However, their usability plainly is not as good as iPhone/iPod Touch.

Kind of a bummer, like not being able to have my Tivo and AppleTV+Boxee in one box, this is one where if you like the digital ink, no amount of iTouch sexiness and usability will replace that. Likewise, if you must have the usability of multi-touch, you'll never consider the Kindle.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

I know it might be true from a harsh, bottom-line standpoint, but I always hated SJ's "people don't read anymore" line. I just can't get behind the idea of trashing reading. It's not like reading a book, in paper or electronically, is inherently outmoded.

And if 40 percent of Americans choose to be intellectually non-curious, that doesn't mean Amazon shouldn't come out with something like this. I wouldn't be surprised if the other 60 percent of Americans read quite a bit. After all, if you're willing to finish one book, odds are you don't mind reading others as well, meaning you read quite a bit in one year.

Relax...it's just Jobs way of making competitors think they're not interested in that business space.

Both netbooks and the Kindle could possibly be sideswiped by one killer Apple touch-based tablet.
post #14 of 34
Is it just me or does $359 for a such a device is way too much when you can get a full computer for $10 less - okay it will have windows on it - but nothing is perfect.

I have not done a full specs comparison - I suppose overall size and weight and battery life could be issues but still.
post #15 of 34
The biggest problem in my not so humble opinion is the lack of PDF compatibility.
Thats a deal breaker for me.

Also Apple has the infrastructure to immediately be able to compete with Kindle.
Apple just needs to create a PDFcasting directory.

PDFcasting is like podcasting but with PDFs instead of audio.
This would create a wealth of mostly FREE content that can be used to sell more hardware.
post #16 of 34
Why have this and the iPod? Just buy and iPod and be done with it.
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Is it just me or does $359 for a such a device is way too much when you can get a full computer for $10 less - okay it will have windows on it - but nothing is perfect.

Unless Amazon can bring the price down to $199, they are not going to sell more than a million units over the next two years.
post #18 of 34
I know others have commented on price, but $349 for an e-book reader is too much by far. I read alot, and fail to see the advantages of an e-book reader over a laptop or just a plain old book. In fact there are temendous disadvantages. My laptop does much more. I can give a good book to a friend when I am done and frequently do. E-books in general aren't that much less expensive than paper books. It isn't like an ipod... people like to carry lots of music, but what is the point of carrying a library with you.

I agree it is a flawed concept that will see limited adoption especially in this economic climate.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathonc1 View Post

I know others have commented on price, but $349 for an e-book reader is too much by far. I read alot, and fail to see the advantages of an e-book reader over a laptop or just a plain old book. In fact there are temendous disadvantages. My laptop does much more. I can give a good book to a friend when I am done and frequently do. E-books in general aren't that much less expensive than paper books. It isn't like an ipod... people like to carry lots of music, but what is the point of carrying a library with you.

I agree it is a flawed concept that will see limited adoption especially in this economic climate.

The one big advantage is the ePaper screen.
1) easier on the eyes
2) easier on battery life.

But since I prefer the tactile experience of books, its not on my short list of purchases.

My bigger dilemma is that my 1st Gen touch just got stolen, I'm headed on vacation, and really don't want to buy a gen2 when a refresh is likely to happen in Sept.
Oh well, maybe a 8-gig touch to hold me over until the tablet.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Relax...it's just Jobs way of making competitors think they're not interested in that business space.

If that's true, the problem I have with that is that it's a dishonest stunt at best, kind of weasely in my opinion. Another problem is that if it's true, then that would be poisoning the market that they're considering, and I think that could hurt them if they ever do release such a device. Would publishers be very interested in hearing Apple's pitch knowing Apple poisoned their market like that, whether intentionally or otherwise?

People are clearly buying books, though I can't say for sure they're all being read. I can't find 2008 data, but apparently 2006 & 2007 showed more than 3.1 billion books made each year, and it might have been a $35B industry last year in the US.

I'd say there's a clear opportunity to anyone that can convince the publishing industry to allow the prices to go down more to fit the use, they just don't seem to see how it's to their advantage. I'm not interested in paying the same price as a paper book, but not being able to loan, sell or trade the book AND having to use an expensive device to read it.

As it is, the way I see it, Kindle and eReader are only sufficient for the people that don't mind paying that premium for the ability to carry all their books everywhere, and to buy a ebook any time, anywhere. I'm not sure if the current pricing and business model can expand beyond these users.

As it is, I don't think Amazon is being forthright about how many Kindles and ebooks they're selling.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

The one big advantage is the ePaper screen.
1) easier on the eyes
2) easier on battery life.

That's true, but another big issue is the form factor. A laptop just isn't comfortable to read with on a train or plane, or in your easy chair. You need a tablet-like device with at least a 5" screen for novels, 7 to 8" for books with significant graphic design or illustrations.

The iPhone is close, but is not comfortable for reading more than about 15 minutes at a stretch.

Jobs's comment shows he's not infallible. It's the stupidest thing he's said in the past 10 years. I suspect part of the problem is that he drives (drove) to work, as probably do all Apple executives. These guys never sit in a train for 40 minutes, not to mention twice a day, five days a week, on their way to work. They never travel coach on aircraft, they never take the Acela to Boston or Washington or New York.

People do read. People who commute using public transport more so. Who buys all the bestsellers? People in the Northeast, in Europe, in Asia. Lots of people.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

This does more than just let you read books. With its built-in wireless networking, your newspapers and magazines are delivered electronically as they're available (think: if you commute via public transport, your reading material is always fresh). It also supports RSS feeds, so various online news sites (including AppleInsider) are available.

If they got the price down to $200-250, I'd almost certainly snap one up. I've got the eReader application for my iPhone, and love it, but find the small screen just a little bit too small for comfortable reading.

I'm with you. I love my iPod touch, but for anyone over 30 or with fading eyesight, reading on the touch without high-powered reading glasses is a near impossibility.

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post #23 of 34
Wouldn't want to be caught dead with one of those.
post #24 of 34
Give me an old fashion paper book any day of the week. I also love having a large full bookcase to thumb through.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

The biggest problem in my not so humble opinion is the lack of PDF compatibility.
Thats a deal breaker for me.

Also Apple has the infrastructure to immediately be able to compete with Kindle.
Apple just needs to create a PDFcasting directory.

PDFcasting is like podcasting but with PDFs instead of audio.
This would create a wealth of mostly FREE content that can be used to sell more hardware.

Great idea, cheesy!

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post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by r00fus View Post

To be clear, the iPhone has every feature but one that would make it the best e-reader out there: digital ink (eInk).

WHAT????

Name 1 single area that the iphone is a better e-book reader than the Kindle. Your saying the iphone is better in every single area, and I'm challenging you to name one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by macshark View Post

Unless Amazon can bring the price down to $199, they are not going to sell more than a million units over the next two years.

At $299, they would easily sell over a million in 2 years, possibly double that. If there is significant adoption by the medical and educational industries its will be 10x that.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

No touch screen?!? Seems like such an obvious way to go. Turn pages with a finger swipe (or multi-finger swipe)... etc. E-paper is cool... but I won't buy one of these until it has an intuitive touch interface.

Those 2 big buttons right next to the screen aren't intuitive enough?

I don't think the expense of a touch screen is worth adding to a e-reader, unless significant other features were also added along with the touch screen.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

WHAT????

Name 1 single area that the iphone is a better e-book reader than the Kindle. Your saying the iphone is better in every single area, and I'm challenging you to name one.

I bought a book from webscription via bookshelf in a format that isn't locked just to the iphone.

I have a bunch of free baen books on my iPhone not in some unreadable kindle format.

I can transfer those books to a Sony or illiad...

Amazon screwed the ebook market IMHO.

Quote:
At $299, they would easily sell over a million in 2 years, possibly double that. If there is significant adoption by the medical and educational industries its will be 10x that.

Have fun accessing the books you bought on any other device.
post #29 of 34
What amazes me is the continuous emphasis on ugliness. You think that with a single simple function they would spend more time to maybe think at the aesthetics as well. But no.. they intensionally making it ugly instead.
post #30 of 34
If Apple should make a dedicated e-book it must be for the masses, people who buy reading material on regular bases:
Students - study mtrl - must be a way to make notes in the book
Average Joe - news paper - perhaps with text to speech reading function
Youngsters - Harry Potter...
Chefs and cooking - cook books - with check list and sturdy design
Maybe with that screen/camera hybrid patent Apple as filed for it could actually function as a scanner. Easy to scan your notes, recipies,.. Etc.
I think there can be a healthy e-book sales model if one just thought it through..

Sadly I kind of fall into the category of people described by Jobs though..
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

For Amazon to give credence to Job's admonition that the product is destined to fail because "people don't read anymore", Amazon would have to close down their bookstore.

Obviously, people still read - that's not Jobs' point. Enough people buy books to fuel a market where people buy $5, $10, $20 books (more for textbooks, manuals, etc.). It's another thing to say that people will spend ___ hundred dollars on a READER device with no content of its own.

I read all the time - news magazines, newspapers, Wired, a textbook or non-fictional piece here and there...I'm not really into novels. This device absolutely does not appeal to me. I'm thinking that Jobs is simply saying that there are too many people like me, and not enough people willing to spend $200, $300 on what is essentially a document reader with some bells and whistles.

I say, give the technology 5-10 years. By then, maybe we'll be downloading our magazines, newspapers, and books onto something thinner/more flexible, and a few times cheaper.
post #32 of 34
So $359 for an e-reader plus $$ per e-book OR get a library card and as many free books as you could possibly ever read..... hmm
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

So $359 for an e-reader plus $$ per e-book OR get a library card and as many free books as you could possibly ever read..... hmm

Yes, that is true, but there is also something to be said for being able to carry a virtual library worth of books in such a small package.
post #34 of 34
I am an avid Kindle user. Let me share a little of why this is a great format for me.

1. I always have multiple books going at one time, and I love the convenience of having them all with me in my bag. I've been able to cut down considerable on the size of bag I carry. 1 Kindle takes much less space than 3-5 book.

2. I am a writer and public speaker and am often reading for research. The Kindle has allowed me to cut the cost of my research with lower cost e-books. Many of these are books that I want to keep around for future reference, but will probably not read through more than once. An e-version is perfect for that. One added benefit of the Kindle for a researcher is its universal search. I can enter a phrase or key word and immediately see passages pop up with the search string from across the entire library in my kindle. My own notations in the books are also universally searchable. It's very cool to be able to find that perfect quote in a few seconds anytime or anywhere.

3. I still buy books in physical form if they are ones I want to keep on my shelf, and I still by books to give away - but there a lot of books I buy that I want to read, but that I don't need for either of those reasons. I buy 2-3 kindle books a month, and probably 1 physical book, on average.

4. As for other formats - I can certainly read ebooks on my iPhone or on my computer. But it's nice to be able to instantly have the book available without any boot time - and at least for me, reading long-term on the iPhone screen is not comfortable. The e-paper screen of the kindle has been very comfortable on my eyes.

5. Ther EVDO download is really great. My family and I just had a trip over the weekend driving to a speaking gig of mine. While we were driving in the middle of nowhere on I-84 (no WiFi, very poor edge reception) my wife decided she's like to read something new. She logged onto the Kindle store, found a fantasy novel that intrigued her and downloaded the sample. 50 miles later she downloaded the rest of the book, and by the time we were home three days later she'd read the whole thing - and all for $6. That seems like a great thing to me.

I can say for sure that the Kindle 1 didn't get everything right. The industrial design is a little klunky. But I love the concept and am really excited to watch it develop. I am looking forward to seeing how Kindle 2 turns out.
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