Even if Amazon’s got a Kindle 3 locked and loaded, it won’t be shipping with a color display. At a shareholder meeting today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that while he’s seen such technology “in the laboratory,” it’s “not ready for prime time production” and a color screen Kindle is “a long way out.”
I’m perfectly fine with the Kindle ($259) staying black & white in the near term – as Amazon doesn’t need to provide a full-on iPad competitor. In fact, I’d further simplify their e-reader line by dropping 3G connectivity – which increases the cost of entry, both in terms of hardware and ongoing cellular service. So let’s go WiFi-only. Macworld Editor Jason Snell also suggests possibly dropping the keyboard for a more compact form. Facebook, Twitter? Pass. Focus on providing the absolute best (monochrome) digital book experience. I’d also take a (free) RSS reader that caches content. Not a hard requirement, but a nice-to-have.
Amazon thinks they’re moving a lot of units now. But should they drop the price to $99 in a stripped down model, the response would be overwhelming. Although, $129 might be a more realistic price point to cover engineering, hardware, marketing, etc while making a few bucks on the front end. At $99 or $129, I’d immediately buy three. One for Melissa and I, and one for each of our moms. (All of which Borders is probably banking on with their upcoming $150 Kobo reader competitor.)