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Hands-On Account of Amazon's Upcoming Color Kindle

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the nook-nook-who's-there? dept.

Android 156

jcgam69 writes with a description at TechCrunch of what's claimed to be an all-but-finished version of the upcoming color Kindle. "It's called simply the 'Amazon Kindle.' But it's not like any Kindle you've seen before. It displays content in full color. It has a 7-inch capacitive touch screen. And it runs Android." That last part inspires sharp words from some of the TechCruch readers, because the GUI described is an older version of Android wrapped so thickly in Amazon livery that it's hard to recognize. The author speculates that this new Kindle might be sold with a tempting sweetener — a free subscription to Amazon Prime.

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156 comments

Want: Added to to the list (3, Insightful)

Marble68 (746305) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294720)

$250 is a *great* price point, IMHO. We know quality hardware sold for $99 ($300 loss) sells like hotcakes because of HP.

Will be interesting - especially since they're not working with Google on it... FTFA "At all".

I have a nook color and nook touch (the nook Touch is awesome) - I'll gladly add one of these. Amazon is shaking things up. Killer.

When will Apple start suing them?

Re:Want: Added to to the list (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294802)

Even better than that, the real sweet spot is actually about $250 -$300 given that is the ebay going price. So people are willing to pay $300 for a discontinued peace of hardware. I think Amazon has hit it right on.

I wonder what it will do to the market. It might hurt other Android tablets, but I doubt it will put too much pressure on iPad for a while.

G

Re:Want: Added to to the list (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294838)

I think you're right about leaving well-enough alone on the iPad front. As TC put it, they're pimping a very, very nice ereader.... not an iPad wannabe. It just happens to be able to do a lot of what an ipad does too. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Re:Want: Added to to the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295732)

It'd be worth it once it's rooted and has normal stuff. My current experience with Amazon Appstore has been shit and I'd prefer to stay away.

Re:Want: Added to to the list (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295120)

$250 is still too much for a 7" tablet, especially one which should be subsidized by a service but I expect they'll sell a lot anyway. What I want to know is how long it will take before someone mods them to run vanilla Android.

Re:Want: Added to to the list (2)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295308)

Why do you need a third reader?

Re:Want: Added to to the list (0)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295450)

Why do you need to ask stupid questions?

Re:Want: Added to to the list (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295498)

The question is very much valid. Why would you need two, let alone three?

Re:Want: Added to to the list (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295898)

So we won't believe he is anything but a shill -- "It's better than my color Nook, so you don't need to buy one of those".

Re:Want: Added to to the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296686)

Why do you need a penis?

7 Inches Isn't Enough!!! (0)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296036)

I was really looking forward to this device when I first heard the rumors, but the problem is that it's 7-inches. I own the current Kindle and it gives me exactly what I need for reading books: a reflective screen that saves energy so I can read off it for a month between chargings. That's all I need for reading text.

What I desperately need is a device I can read my extremely large and growing comic book collection and role-playing game PDFs on. I hate reading these on my laptop and a color touchpad seems like it would be ideal for it, but a seven inch screen is too small. I need a screen that is at least as large as a comic book page and ideally as large as a RPG book page.

I'm not going to buy any touchpad until it meets this requirement, and I'm not buying an iPad period. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks a touchpad that's slightly larger than a smartphone is worthless, but these companies keep marketing them to us and declaring "There's not market for Android touchpads" when we don't buy them. Recall Benjamin Franklin's definition of insanity.

Re:7 Inches Isn't Enough!!! (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296136)

"I'm not going to buy any touchpad until it meets this requirement, and I'm not buying an iPad period." ...so why not a Samsung tab?

surely, they can read PDFs and there are Android versions of the comic apps/readers?

Re:7 Inches Isn't Enough!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296656)

... he wants e-ink, if you had read TFP you'd know that.

so much for e-ink... (3, Interesting)

spacecoyotefarva (2384168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294730)

The technology had promise.

Re:so much for e-ink... (3, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294990)

The technology had promise.

...and it is unbeatable for sequentially reading large quantities of flowing text - but until it has a much faster response rate, that is about all it is good for. Paper books have better random access! Aside from the lack of colour or video, it can't even implement a decent multitouch interface (sure, you can add the touchscreen but you can't give the sort of fluid visual feedback on which iOS and Android depend).

I have an iPad and a Kindle - the Kindle is far more relaxing for reading novels on, but for anything else, even for reading reference books and other PDFs, the iPad is more practical.

On the other hand, Amazon have kept the price of the e-ink Kindle down to the point where it is viable as a single-purpose device. If the price given in TFA for the Amazon Tablet is correct (presumably they will be subsidizing it from media sales) then you could get a tablet + an e-ink Kindle for the price of most half-decent tablets...

Wonder if its going to have "free" worldwide 3G like the Kindle?

However, it does sound a bit like Kindle Tablet owners are going to be able to tell iPad owners "Lock-in? That's not a lock-in... This is a lock-in..."

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296586)

The problem with having it be a multimedia device is: A lot of people will have kindles, but hardly anyone will actually be doing any *reading*!

"Oh! I love my e-reader! I can play games and browse the web and watch the latest videos...."

"What books do you have?"

"...books?"

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295258)

I'm surprised actually, because E Ink does have a colour product available. Maybe it just came too late for Amazon product development.

http://www.eink.com/display_products_triton.html [eink.com]

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295540)

Yeah, I was really hoping for a Kindle based on the colour e-ink display. I really like e-ink displays, it's just monochrome e-ink is pants for a lot of reference books.

Re:so much for e-ink... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296374)

pants?

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296790)

I don't know what kind of reference books you read, but excluding the covers and front matter, only 3 of my tech/ref books have any color. One uses red for chapter titles and to show changes in code snippets, two have center sections with full color images/renderings.

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295552)

My understanding was that eInk hadn't managed to overcome the issues with the colors appearing washed out. Has this changed in the last year or so?

Re:so much for e-ink... (3, Insightful)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295276)

so much for e-ink... The technology had promise.

Promise? I'd say that the technology is wildly successful for those of us that actually read books. I don't have a Kindle, but I have a Sony PRS-650 which is a comparable device (slightly better IMO). I've read more than 300 books on it, and it's just about perfect for its purpose. No eyestrain whatsoever, only needs charging every third week. For Internet and media on the go I have my phone, but you just can't find anything better than E-Ink for reading novels. I really don't see how my reader could be significantly improved.

Sign of the end times (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295312)

... for those of us that actually read books

... yet you're talking about e-readers.

Re:Sign of the end times (2)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295404)

... yet you're talking about e-readers.

Yes. I work at a publishing company, we publish books in hardcover, paperback, and electronic versions. It's still a book. If I needed to specify a format I could have written ebooks, but in this case I was referring to content, not format. I'm not arguing about this, this is just how the terms are used in the business. Oh, and if you're in the "only-paper-books-are-real-books"-camp, that's pure BS, I will not argue about that either. Go huddle with the vinyl record fanatics over there :) (I actually like vinyl for nostalgic reasons, but it's not exactly a practical format for carrying music around, and the sound quality is arguably inferior.)

Re:so much for e-ink... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295650)

That's what makes this thing and all other current colour "ebook readers" so lame. Nobody wants to read on an eye straining, non sunlight visible LCD screen.

Looks like I'll be sticking with my 1st gen Nook until someone can get it right and release a real reader with colour e-ink.

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

CyDharttha (939997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295942)

The article said it would likely be able to switch between e-ink and back-lit.

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

MrMatto (2429900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296342)

The article said it would likely be able to switch between e-ink and back-lit.

No. The article said

This will be the first Kindle with a full-color screen. And yes, it is back-lit. There is no e-ink to be found anywhere on this device.

and then went on to say

Amazon has been working on a multi-touch screen/e-ink hybrid tablet device. But that’s nowhere near completion, I’m told. So for now, this new Kindle will have to do.

So, this version has no e-ink, but if we wait long enough, maybe we will see a multi-touch e-ink device, like the Sony reader.

Re:so much for e-ink... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296230)

e-Ink's not going anywhere. BN has had a tablet out for a while, and they're still releasing new e-Ink models. So I wouldn't worry about it.

And in the longer term it'll be interesting to see what comes of the OLPC's screen, which was a dual mode back-lit + color/ambient light + monochrome thing. Personally, I think that's the way to go if this whole "Tablets and eReaders are the same thing yo" mindset really becomes standard, but never having seen the OLPC I don't know how well it worked in practice.

I wonder (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294752)

There were a lot of potential positives in the story. Amazon has demonstrated it knows how to put together a device people want, after all.

But there may be a big gotcha. This is a fork of Android, and Amazon's not working with Google *at all* on this. More importantly, there are no Google applications on the device (with the implication that they aren't available, period). You can use the Amazon app store, but not the Android app store.

I'm only one guy, but when it comes to my Android phone... I think the strongest feature is specifically Google's Android applications. I'm not really sold on Android; but I really like how Gmail is handled, how the free turn-by-turn navigation works, etc. Those apps are the one thing Android does better than anything available on iOS - and they're not going to be available on the Amazon tablet.

Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37294756)

Just another tablet in the realm of iPad ripoffs.. what the current Kindle has is weak but promising.. why couldn't they of done more of that?

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295350)

More of what? The ability to read two ebooks at once?! Where were they supposed to go?

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295362)

> why couldn't they of done more of that?

Why couldn't you HAVE read some more books about grammar on your Kindle?

Do not want (5, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294770)

Who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display? The display is such a vital part of the experience!

I get that you can "do more" with traditional display, but I don't *want* to do more. A big part of the appeal, for me at least, is that it's a very quiet piece of technology. It doesn't encourage me to check my email or browse the web; the display just isn't well suited for that task.

It does encourage me to read, however, as the display is so easy on the eyes. As a bonus, the thing has amazing battery life. So much so, that it can go weeks without a charge. It's not even something I think about. I don't worry about charging, or running out of juice in the middle of a chapter. In short, I don't have to manage it the same way I'd need to manage a tablet. It stays out of the way, letting me read in peace.

If I wanted to stare at a light bulb, I'd just read on the computer. Here's hoping Amazon doesn't abandon the tried-and-true e-ink display.

Re:Do not want (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294776)

The article states that Amazon are working on an e-ink device with a multi-touch screen but that is nowhere near ready yet.

Re:Do not want (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294854)

narcc: I agree with you in every respect except "who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display?" I can see a lot of people wanting that, for things like curling up in bed and reading without needing a lamp (or candlelight, as I had to do with my Kindle during power outages) or simply being able to see colour pictures and diagrams.

Still, the new Kindle sounds like a multifunction device which defeats the "quiet" part (which I also think is important), it wouldn't last long in a power outage, and a true tablet can do much more while running the Kindle software. So I really don't see this as being an engaging product.

Yet Amazon is fighting a two front war. There are a lot of e-ink readers on the market and there are a lot of tablets on the market. Both are encroaching on Amazon's teritory so they have to do something. (I simply don't agree on what they have decided to do.)

No kidding (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294860)

The e-ink display is what makes these things worth owning and why not to just get a tablet. If you want a tablet, fine and well, go right ahead, but don't say it is a replacement for an eReader until you've tried one. It is no more a replacement for an eReader than a stove is a replacement for a toaster.

The reason is the display. It really does look like paper. The e-ink name isn't bullshit, it really does work like ink and is fully reflective. The battery life is also really nice. It is a device that doesn't have to be plugged in every day.

I've played with tablets and they hold no interest for me. I don't find they fill any useful niche what with owning a laptop and smartphone. However I do have a Kindle and like it very much. It is because while it only does one thing, it does it very well. I would liken it to my toaster, or rice cooker. Those are specialty devices. I have another device that can do everything they do and more. However though they only do one thing, they do it really well, and that makes them worth owning despite having a stove, oven, microwave, and so on.

Re:No kidding (4, Interesting)

berj (754323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294890)

The e-ink display is what makes these things worth owning and why not to just get a tablet. If you want a tablet, fine and well, go right ahead, but don't say it is a replacement for an eReader until you've tried one. It is no more a replacement for an eReader than a stove is a replacement for a toaster.

The reason is the display. It really does look like paper. The e-ink name isn't bullshit, it really does work like ink and is fully reflective. The battery life is also really nice. It is a device that doesn't have to be plugged in every day.

I've played with tablets and they hold no interest for me. I don't find they fill any useful niche what with owning a laptop and smartphone. However I do have a Kindle and like it very much. It is because while it only does one thing, it does it very well. I would liken it to my toaster, or rice cooker. Those are specialty devices. I have another device that can do everything they do and more. However though they only do one thing, they do it really well, and that makes them worth owning despite having a stove, oven, microwave, and so on.

I have a kindle DX and before the iPad came out I *loved* it. The display is *amazing* and is extremely easy to read.

The problem is that in addition to reading books I read *alot* of pdf scientific papers. the Kindle (neither the small one nor the DX) is just plain old not suited to this task. The rendering is *very* slow. The display has the resolution but I find that the iPad's display can render the text so much cleaner and readable. I ended up turning the kindle sideways and reading that way but that's a sub-optimal way to read multi-column text (especially when coupled with the slow rendering). Add to that instant zooming and full color images and in the arena of reading not just books but also pdfs the iPad (and any other tablet for that matter) wins hands down.

If e-ink tech can get rendering and refresh rates similar to an LCD then I would return to that market because the screen really is incredible. But until then I can't justify a single purpose device that doesn't fill the actual purpose (for me).

Re:No kidding (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294912)

IMHO, it isn't even a refresh rate issue. The problem is with how quickly the Kindle renders a PDF page. I have found that Duokan (a replacement for the Kindle software) is much better in that respect. After my Kindle broke, I picked up a Kobo. Rendering PDFs is much faster (though the tiny screen is a problem).

Amazon needs to fix the PDF reader on the Kindle, as well as offer other improvements. (Example: offer ePub support, so that it works with existing mechanisms that libraries use to lend ebooks.) Of course a colour e-ink display would help tremendously too, especially on the DX, but I don't know if the technology for that even exists.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295604)

Surely rendering speed isn't an issue with the display technology? It's a problem with the processor: it needs more grunt, which is lacking in a cheap device like an e-reader.

Refresh rate is a problem with the display, but I don't think it's that big a deal for reading papers. (I'm planning to get an e-reader for the same purpose, in another generation or two.)

Re:No kidding (2, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294996)

The thing is: Most people don't want to lug around a separate device that can't be used for *anything* other than reading text, especially when the devices are reliant on proprietary (i.e. device specific) software, restricting the available input formats and causing rendering problems on more complicated PDFs and such. I've heard many a complaint about eBook readers' PDF rendering - they don't seem to be suitable for anything much other than reading fully reflowable text.

A tablet, on the other hand, will display PDFs (and other formats) exactly as they were intended, because apps are available to do so, and if they aren't, you could write one yourself. Also, being able to do everything from a single device is great... especially for people who don't need a laptop with them when they've got a tablet - add an E-Ink reader to that and you more or less double their load.

Also: Backlights are great for reading if you don't set them on full blast like an idiot (basically Apple's default "Fucking blind me!!!!" auto-backlight settings), and in the dark, when you don't want to keep the SO awake.

Re:No kidding (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295316)

The thing is: Most people don't want to lug around a separate device that can't be used for *anything* other than reading text, especially when the devices are reliant on proprietary (i.e. device specific) software, restricting the available input formats and causing rendering problems on more complicated PDFs and such. I've heard many a complaint about eBook readers' PDF rendering - they don't seem to be suitable for anything much other than reading fully reflowable text.

That's not really an e-ink problem, it's not like e-ink and PDFs are incompatible

Re:No kidding (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296250)

It's a bit of an E-Ink problem, because the E-Ink devices are all single-purpose devices - that significantly reduces the size of their target audience and will therefore keep devs away. Take Adobe - do they have PDF reader software for E-Ink devices? Because Android has an official Adobe Reader app that renders complex PDFs more or less perfectly...

That's just an example though - what if a new format for, say, technical books, shows up in the next year or so? On Android, you can be sure you'll have an app that can display the format within half a year or so, and after about a year you'll be able to pick and choose according to app quality, rendering quality and so on.

If you're lugging a tablet around already, which works perfectly fine for eBooks, are the E-Ink advantages really worth carrying around a whole additional device?

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296722)

PDF rendering on the Kindle 3 works perfectly fine, thank you very much. Also, stop confusing e-ink (a display technology) with e-readers (a type of device that may or MAY NOT use e-ink)

Re:No kidding (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295386)

apps are available to do so, and if they aren't, you could write one yourself

The number of people who can actually write PDF display software that is both accurate and fast may not be small in an absolute sense, but as a percentage of the market it's so small as not to be worth bothering with.

The eInk devices have succeeded because they're cheaper, lighter, longer-lived, and better at one specific task than the real tablet alternatives.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295472)

I like how people state their opinion as fact, and act as a representative of everyone else. How the fuck do you know what most people want? Oh right, you don't. Back to your mom's basement, there is glue waiting to be sniffed.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295492)

"Most people don't want to lug around a separate device that can't be used for *anything* other than reading text"

I disagree... billions of people carry (and have carried) books ("device") every day of their lives.

Re:No kidding (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296012)

When you say "most people" you really mean "I".

The Kindle replaces books. It doesn't replace your laptop. If you want to replace your laptop, then you're not in the Kindle's target audience - you're in the tablet's target audience.

Re:No kidding (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295132)

The reason is the display. It really does look like paper. The e-ink name isn't bullshit, it really does work like ink and is fully reflective. The battery life is also really nice. It is a device that doesn't have to be plugged in every day.

This, a hundred times this. If they can get the contrast looking like real paper, make it in colour, slap in a solar charger somewhere and ruggedise it, I'll buy three on the spot.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294878)

Who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display?

Well, Apple sold quite a few iPads. Besides, Amazon has a lot of stuff to sell beyond ebooks. Not least of which is video content.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37294908)

Who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display?

Oooh, I know the answer to this one...me!. (with apologies to pterry)

I'm waiting for a decent cheap colour e-reader to appear on the market so that I can transfer all the damn IC datasheets, application notes, general Electronics and CAD reference books (and a shedload of other PDF files on technical/engineering subjects I currently have/refer to on a regular [read:daily] basis) from the various HDs they lurk on to said (mythical) decent colour e-reader.

Putting it frankly, a large percentage of the tech/science PDF files I have look like shit on every e-ink display I have so far tested them on, but display fine on any colour laptop display. I'm sick of lugging a laptop around, and the last demo of a colour e-ink reader I looked at was ok, so long as you liked shades of pastel..

So yes, I want a colour e-reader without e-ink, I also want it without any BS 'branding' bundles, sans any sort of wifi/gprs/whatever, sans the ability to play my mp3 files..or any other 'media' files, I want just a colour e-reader, with a standard/micro SD card slot, changeable batter(y|ies) of a standard and readily available design, and the ability to render pdf and djvu files properly.

Not that I'll be buying this KIndle beastie, or anything else with an Amazon branding (or, for that matter, purchasing anything from them, period.)

but that, as they say, is another story..

(Apologies re AC'ing this, but for some strange reason I cant log in..)

Re:Do not want (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294982)

Then why not just use one of the already available Kindles or the other E-Ink based competitors? It's not like they're going to phase out E-Ink completely in favor of LCD... they're just adding an LCD-based device to their portfolio... no harm in that. :)

Re:Do not want (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295542)

they're just adding an LCD-based device to their portfolio... no harm in that. :)

You say that now. Just watch ..

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295030)

Who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display?

People who buy iPads (currently massively outselling kindles) and use them to read books, and the net, and watch videos etc. apparently do.

The display is such a vital part of the experience!

For you. For most people, the disadvantages of an e-ink display outweigh the advantages. That's why more people buy tablets. I'm not sure why e-ink aficionados constantly insist that they can't be compared to a tablet - the two devices do similar things in different ways. They are both good in their own way, and yes they are (for many people) comparable. On some things tablets lose in this comparison (battery life, display in sunlight), but on many other things e-ink devices lose out (colour, response time, resolution, which leads to touch screens and the ability to function as a mini-computer). It's really just a matter of what you want it for - if you just want it for reading novels, an e-ink device definitely wins, if you want to do other stuff (argue on forums about the relative worths of eink and lcd for example), a tablet wins.

If I wanted to stare at a light bulb, I'd just read on the computer. Here's hoping Amazon doesn't abandon the tried-and-true e-ink display.

I doubt very much they'll abandon eink in their cheaper models for years to come. Perhaps they never will if the tech improves and gains colour and a decent refresh rate (though inevitably that'd bring it closer to lcd in power draw). In the meantime, you can enjoy cheaper eink kindles, what's not to like?

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295306)

"People who buy iPads (currently massively outselling kindles) and use them to read books, and the net, and watch videos etc. apparently do."

I the basement, yes. Mom and Dad use an e-Ink reader on the deck in full sunlight.

Re:Do not want (2)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295332)

"People who buy iPads (currently massively outselling kindles) and use them to read books, and the net, and watch videos etc. apparently do."

In the basement, yes. Mom and Dad use an e-Ink reader on the deck in full sunlight.

So true... that is the primary advantage of an e-Ink display other than sheer battery life. I can chill out in the cockpit of my yacht and read a book on my Kindle in broad daylight with the sun shining on the display... Used to read e books on my Palm Tungsten E, but I had to find a really good shadow or else go indoors and lurk in the shade to even begin to make out any text on the display

Re:Do not want (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295330)

Reading this thread, I'm thinking, isn't it great we have choices and aren't subject to just one approach?

Having tried both devices, I prefer the iPad, but I can see why people prefer e-ink.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295420)

You mean you only read inside because you know you cannot use LCD outside in the sun.

Re:Do not want (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295666)

I can use LCD outside (I use my phone all the time outside, not sure what people are complaining about).

But I only read inside anyways. I don't think I ever read outside in my life.

Re:Do not want (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296064)

Compare apples with oranges much? You keep citing sales figures to "prove" that most people prefer to read off tablets over e-ink. But how many people are buying tablets as e-readers?

You may as well say that since more people own stoves than barbecue grills, they must prefer to grill their food on stovetop.

You even then go on to admit that for reading, e-readers are better. So then why even post an argument to the sentence you quoted, "who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display?"

Re:Do not want (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296776)

You even then go on to admit that for reading, e-readers are better. So then why even post an argument to the sentence you quoted, "who wants an e-reader without an e-ink display?"

I said 'if all you want to do is read novels' eink is better. For all the other forms of reading and writing I do, and because I don't only want to read novels, I prefer a tablet. That's not to say that e-readers are inferior or useless, but they are only really useful for one particular kind of reading, and the majority of reading and writing nowadays goes on on the web, not in novels, plus in addition to text-only books I like a few books which have images, are more interactive, some magazines, etc. Thus I compared both, and chose a tablet. I also read books on my phone, and would consider that an ereader too, but prefer a bigger screen when not travelling.

I'd suggest that most people buying a tablet do so because it is a good ereader, among other things. Just because it does other things too doesn't mean that is not one of its primary functions.

If you wish you are welcome to compare only eink devices to other eink devices, but don't be surprised when the rest of the world chooses another tech to do their reading on because they have other priorities. The fact that *you* dont consider them comparable matters little to those of us who do.

Do not want LCD or touch (1)

janek78 (861508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295114)

I am with you. I bought my Kindle a month ago, after very very long hesitation. And I love it. It's light, small, portable and the display is amazing. I love the fact that I can sit in the sun and read, just as I would with a book. That I can read in the evening in bed, without having to look at a back-lit display (some people may not mind, I do).

I love the fact that it does nothing else - I was impressed how immersive the reading is and I guess the fact that it does not have Skype, email, news, facebook, or any other of the million distractions is a huge plus. Of course, I know that on a tablet you can switch all these off and get the same undisturbed experience, but Kindle just makes it so much easier for you. When I read to fall asleep, without being tempted to check my mail one last time.

And don't underestimate the importance of the incredible battery life. I hope for a future where all devices will be like this - you just use them without having to constantly care about battery charge. With my android phone, I have to make sure that it's fully charged when I leave the house in the morning.

As for touch - I don't want to touch the screen of my e-reader (or my computer for that matter) with my dirty greasy fingers, thank you.

YMMV, but for me, the future Kindle should have a larger display, colour and possibly be even a little lighter. That I would buy immediatelly.

Re:Do not want (1)

DThorne (21879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295136)

Agreed. My wife and I have a bunch of gadgets, couple of nexus phones, xoom, and we use them constantly. My kindle, however, is my 'book'. Different tech, different use. Sure, I can and do read on a light emitting screen, but long hours reading print needs e-ink.

Re:Do not want (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295518)

It's probably a tablet. Not an e-reader. If you want an e-reader only get the regular Kindle.

No-one gives a shit about what you want or not. If you don't want the device don't buy it.

And there goes kindle (2)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294774)

Relating the two products will dilute the name of kindle.

Expanding a name is very risky and you need to be very careful since people will still buy it to read on and will notice that it's garbage for it (too heavy, doesn't work in sunlight, needs to be recharged quite often).

Poor decision.

Sharp words? Why? (1)

polymeris (902231) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294786)

That last part inspires sharp words from some of the TechCruch readers, because the GUI described is of an older version of Android wrapped so thickly in Amazon livery that it's hard to recognize.

Respecting a fine tradition, I didn't read TFA, but isn't the point of Android (a version of Linux wrapped so thickly in Google livery it's hard to recognize) to be hackeable & modifiable by any company, organization or individual? Why would someone object to this?

Re:Sharp words? Why? (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294812)

This is a good thing. People can choose what they want. If you want a Google device ... there are lots, with hardly any differentiation. Most have one feature that differentiates them.

I am happy with my Xoom and my nook touch, but I hope this device goes very well, even at the expense of my Xoom. Pressure to make em all innovate I say

Very disappointed (4, Interesting)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294808)

If the initial report is to be believed, and I've read this all correctly, this is very disappointing news.

Amazon's tablet is basically just that: a tablet that is linked into Amazon's store.

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I was expecting something more: some sort of LCD / eInk combo or even a colour eInk screen, that Amazon may have been keeping secret to hit the competition with.

As it stands, this is basically just an Android tablet, capable of downloading and listening to music, downloading and watching films, and reading books (and not as well as a true Kindle at that, given that it's a LCD screen..!!) Just like any other damn tablet out there!

Probably the only thing going for it is the price. Other than that, this seems... pointless.

Re:Very disappointed (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294942)

There is already color e-ink technology but it is very washy and not vivid. Amazon will release an updated Kindle based on this technology when it's mature enough to represent a significant upgrade from black and white e-ink tech.

Re:Very disappointed (1)

torako (532270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294976)

I think this could actually be the first tablet that might have a chance of challenging the iPad. The hardware+OS quality is important, but I dare say that the integration with a healthy apps and media ecosystem is just as important, and that is where Amazon could really shine:

As it stands, this is basically just an Android tablet, capable of downloading and listening to music, downloading and watching films, and reading books (and not as well as a true Kindle at that, given that it's a LCD screen..!!)

The excellent tie-in with for-purchase or for-rent media is one of the big things that make the iPad so interesting. You only need to enter your Apple ID and you're set. Amazon could do the same thing with their huge MP3, video and books library. You won't have to download any apps that might be not so well-integrated, you won't have to set up several different accounts (and subscriptions): just enter your Amazon login and all that media is right there, with the option to stream or sync whatever you've purchased in the past.

So even if the third-party apps selection isn't that great (right now, Android's biggest weakness), Amazon still has a cheap tablet meant for media consumption that ties in excellently with their services. This could be big.

Re:Very disappointed (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295178)

sounds like a more expensive version of an archos 7, I have a version 2 archos with android 2.1 running the kindle app.

It did have a problem with drm when i bought a book from amazon it downloaded but it said to delete it and download it again, which happened repeatedly.

In the end i got a kindle pc version running in wine and used deswindle in wine (had to install python for windows too) to remove the drm from the book and side load it to my archos 7.

my archos 7 cost around 120 euro's from car phone warehouse and the android version is reasonable with most apps working. Yes the archos 7 has a resistive touch screen. (there is an archos7c which has capacitive touch) but it works fine.

It also has wifi can be tethered via barnacle and has usb host mode which enables mass storage and hid devices. It is a bit lacking in the sensor department just having a g sensor but do you really need more?

As an ereader, my archos 7 performs adequately the battery life is maybe 7 hours or so but can do better if wifi is turned off. bright sunlight makes it near impossible to read some angles are better than others but its still difficult.

The nice thing about the archos and pretty much any android device really is that it works with my existing infrastructure. Printing works with google cloudprint which is bundled within chrome browser (even in ubuntu) so i could get my printers (connected to an iomega iconnect) to enable printing from android. There are a lot of printing apps but non seem to work with my printer setup other than cloud print.

There is even an app for my satellite box, (enigma 1) dreambox clone.

So far Amazon's new ereader seems to have little to recommend it. However perhaps being dedicated to being an ereader the user experience will be polished, mythbusters proved it is possible.

Re:Very disappointed (1)

eples (239989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295972)

Probably the only thing going for it is the price. Other than that, this seems... pointless.

If I can read in direct sunlight, in color, you can expect to see this device appearing on beaches everywhere.

I love my iPad but it never goes outside.

How is it different to a Nook Color? (3, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37294944)

  • * Price is the same
  • * Size is the same
  • * Hardware is (pretty much) the same
  • * Display is the same
  • * Lack of Google apps is the same
  • * Heavily-skinned, older version of Android is the same

You could buy a Nook Color and root it (to enable sideloading), install the Amazon apps (market, books etc) and get the best of both worlds (and Google apps as well). So I suppose the only real difference is Amazon's custom UI instead of B&N's, or if you prefer Amazon's services and don't care to root it.

Either way, I don't see why pundits are suddenly predicting it'll disrupt the market. Maybe if they'd put a Mirasol display in there...

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295084)

Amazon app store.

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295146)

I expect the Kindle device would be higher specced to be able to push out streaming video and games. I think Amazon will suffer heavily from rooted tablets, especially if the default experience is perceived as constrained or broken.

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295284)

The Nook Color runs Android 2.2 it's implied the kindle is even older then that so it's likely based on Eclair. It's also unlikely that B&N hasn't been working on a Nook Color 2 or a gingerbread update either way this new kindle is over hyped and late to the market for what it offers outside of the amazon app store.

Also based on what we know about the hardware which is a generalized description it could basically be a repackaged nook color since the specs sound identical right down to the rubberized back...

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (1)

tsj5j (1159013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295432)

Either way, I don't see why pundits are suddenly predicting it'll disrupt the market. Maybe if they'd put a Mirasol display in there...

I'll hazard a guess here: don't underestimate Amazon's branding and market reach.
The Kindle series is massively popular and has raised awareness in the e-reader market far better than any of its competitors.
Many people might actually give an Android tablet a shot (not referring to geeks here) considering the stellar track record Kindle presents.

Time and again, /.ers always predict a product's performance based on it's technical merit (e.g. Apple products).
What many fail to realize is that the vast majority of the consumers don't give a crap about technical merit; marketing, usability and design is really important.
Amazon's services has gathered a strong following and a tablet guaranteed to work with all their services may appeal to quite a few people.

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (1)

SolemnLord (775377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295556)

I don't see why pundits are suddenly predicting it'll disrupt the market.

1. "Amazon" and "Kindle" already have significant mindshare in the general public, while Android tablets had to start from scratch.
2. Pundits are expecting it to "just work" with the same sort of tight vertical integration that helped make the iPad such a success.
3. Yes, its specs are similar to the Nook, only it does more than a Nook without having to be rooted first.
4. The "heavily-skinned, older version of Android" is not the same. All UIs are not equal.
5. There's no "suddenly" in the pundits' predictions. People have been expecting the Amazon tablet to be the strongest iPad competitor when it was barely a rumour. [suntimes.com]

I'm looking forward to seeing what Amazon has to offer. I love my iPad 2, but I'm eager to see something that actually challenges it, too.

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295664)

I think your #1 is the best point. Yes, it'll be vertically integrated, but that's meaningless in itself, only in what Amazon can do with it. Yes, it'll have more apps than the B&N store, but I suspect most non-geeks class tablet app stores into "Apple" and "not Apple" anyway. The UI is likely better than the Nook's, but that means even less to the consumer (WebOS was lauded for its UI design). But what this certainly isn't, is an iPad challenger. Wrong size, wrong price, different market and totally different focus.

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (1)

SolemnLord (775377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296206)

I think it's foolish to dismiss the strength of good vertical integration on user experience. You're completely right that it depends on what Amazon does with it, but having it in the first place is vital to controlling the user experience, and thus being able to ensure that it's high-quality). Apple does it by controlling every facet of their iDevices. Amazon did it with the Kindles and, outside of the speed of eInk, they're very easy and pleasant to use (I own a Kindle 2). Microsoft does this with WP7 and its requirements for phone manufacturers. Of course, if Amazon messes it up it can't pin blame on anyone else.

I suspect most non-geeks class tablet app stores into "Apple" and "not Apple" anyway.

No doubt. Which is a huge uphill battle for Android tablets. Amazon has a better shot, because people understand "Kindle" as opposed to "iPad". This goes back to point #1, of course.

But what this certainly isn't, is an iPad challenger. Wrong size, wrong price, different market and totally different focus.

It's likely not fair to say that it's entirely a "different market" from the iPad, but I think you're right here. Amazon's tablet will (in theory) steal away some potential iPad buyers, but it's also likely to draw the attention of many others who weren't going to buy an iPad, for whatever reason. Amazon isn't trying to beat Apple at its own game, it's trying to squeeze in where there's room. I think that reasons #1-#4 will be instrumental in its success (or failure). So you're possibly right that it's not an iPad competitor, but if it's a viable tablet that sells well, then it'll be considered a wild success.

Re:How is it different to a Nook Color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295834)

The Nook isn't available in the UK (and I would guess many other countries as well).

It might not disrupt the US market, but then again, Amazon sell a lot more than books and even have their own Android app store, so they can push more content to their tablet than B&N can, which might make it more compelling for some people.

Worth every dime of it (1)

dadman (576569) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295014)

... if the display is indeed an e-ink color. That is it, nothing else mattered (for a Kindle).

Re:Worth every dime of it (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295144)

E-ink color is wretched technology. It's a conventional e-ink display stuck behind a transparent layer which "tints" the pixels with different colours. If you want to get an idea of the effect, print out a gray scale picture on some cardboard and colour it in with felt tip pens. If there is a future in e-ink displays it is likely to be Mirasol [mirasoldisplays.com] which offers vivid colours, high screen refreshes and optional backlighting.

OOOOOH !! YOU SEXXXY THANG !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295054)

Gaws I just luve a parade !! Amazon's color kindle is sooooo gay it just gives me gooosse !! I just must have it !!

Free shipping (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295106)

An important piece of the article is where is says that this device will come with an "Amazon prime" subscription. Amazon prime provides 2nd day delivery to all orders at no cost.

So why on Earth would someone want to get *physical* stuff from amazon if they have a reader that gets its content electronically? This alone makes me thing that amazon doesn't intend this to be a book reader (even if it can display PDFs). It's probably just another tablet, and amazon doesn't expect people with kindles to buy it...

And yes, I know that amazon ships things other than books. But I think Amazon prime is only worth it for people that get regular shipments from amazon (maybe 2 a month or so), and I can't think of anything other than books that one would buy that often from amazon.

Re:Free shipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295738)

Prime now includes free streaming video of some TV shows and movies. I imagine they'll have a player for that video on the tablet.

Now you know ... (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295130)

... why the Android 3.x source didn't get released. Google didn't want want Amazon lifting it, forcing them to either fork or come back to the negotiating table. The publically cited excuse that the 3.x codebase broke stuff and the code needed to be fixed probably had some truth but IMO this was the real reason.

Re:Now you know ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37295914)

... why the Android 3.x source didn't get released. Google didn't want want Amazon lifting it, forcing them to either fork or come back to the negotiating table. The publically cited excuse that the 3.x codebase broke stuff and the code needed to be fixed probably had some truth but IMO this was the real reason.

Brilliant logic. Google's not playing ball with the source because Google wants to spite Amazon of what will amount to less than 0.1% of all Android devices.

Pass it on, dude, don't hog it... what you're smoking HAS to be good.

Re:Now you know ... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296006)

Amazon is likely to sell tens of millions of these things. Possibly as many as all other Android tablets combined. Furthermore, since they don't ship with Google's apps they are competing against the Android platform. So if you can't comprehend why Google might consider Amazon a threat and wish to withhold source you clearly aren't thinking it through.

Re:Now you know ... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295918)

Ice cream sandwich will be a full source release. I am willing to bet that this will have the Amazon market on it as well as all the Amazon shopping software and video on demand. I would have gotten the Nook except for the lack of Kindle software for it. Now that I can root it it would be interesting except that my wife just got a 10.1 Viewsonic for the same price and rooted it.
I know why BN wanted to keep all the purchases but I already had a Kindle so I wanted to keep my books. If I could have had Kindle software on there I would have then had a choice and might have been willing go shop at BN as well.

hopefully the kindle app sucks less on this device (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295158)

I hope that if they produce a full scale Android device, that they actually produce a quality app!

I've been using the Kindle app on Android for about a year now.. or at least, since whenever it came out. It has *tons* of failings, including the ability to navigate it, backlight annoyances, and so on.

Even the Amazon store through the app, for some bizarre reason, is less function than the full web.

Heck, there are probably about 20 e-book reader apps, for free on the market, that actually provide more functionality than the Kindle app. *Far* more functionality. Heck, I can't even choose what precise colour, or font I want with this app!

The most annoying part of it all, is that I emailed the Kindle team about this. *No* response. Thanks guys, I actually spent time thinking about how this annoyed me, and provided something that companies sometimes pay millions for.. customer feedback!

Anyone got a device that can handle spreeder.com? (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295546)

My prefered reading format isn't supported by anything but a webpage ;( Anyone willing to pop it on the Android store for >$2.99?

Here's http://spreeder.com/app.php.

Spreeder format supported anywhere??? (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295550)

http://spreeder.com/app.php Anyone seen this before? Can someone port it to Android for >$2.99? Please please please!

Too little, too late (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295638)

For $290 you can get an uncrippled 8" tablet.

The only reason this will succeed is the Amazon name.

No e-ink? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37295760)

Then that leaves me out.

The ONLY reason i would upgrade is to color e-ink. I already have a LCD 'tablet' and it sucks for long term reading. The only reason i use it to read it is that tech manuals suck in b/w. But if i don't *need* color at that moment its back to my e-ink device, which i can read for hours on end and not hurt my eyes, or worry about the battery for weeks ..

Oh well, perhaps hancom will bring one of theirs to the states that isn't stupid priced.

We need 'just yet another tablet' like we need more taxes.

Needs to be hacked to be successfull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296034)

I got a new nook color on sale for $200 and all I had to do was put CM7 on a microSD card to get a fully functional tablet. It is probably the easiest hack I ever did. It was so easy that anyone who is able to push a power button could probably handle it. If the amazon device is locked down then I see more people getting the nook color since it is so easy to hack which allows people to install whatever apps they want, run any ereader they want, etc. The amazon device needs to be hackable in order to compete against the nook color. It might be a tough sell for amazon even if it is hackable, though, because B&N has already run nook color promotions for $200. They could probably lower the normal price to $200 and take most of the sales away from amazon.

New e-ink Kindle also? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296048)

There were articles claiming that a new version of the e-ink Kindle was going to be released in conjunction with the tablet. Is this the case?

Amazon Instant Video is confusing to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296098)

If you get Prime it doesn't give you access to all Amazon Instant Videos, it only gives you access to videos which are marked as Prime viewable (a small subset of the total). Didn't seem like that good of a deal to me.

And, 7in is too small for PDFs.

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