Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clues to new Kindle capabilities at end of year

StrategyEye has been looking at Amazon's Lab126 job ads and reports that Amazon may be planning to improve the Kindle web browser, as they posted an ad for an engineer to design new features on an "innovative embedded web browser."

The article reports fears that Kindle customers who are newspaper subscribers could just go to a newspaper website for free (specifically mentioning the NY Times) and then cancel their newspaper subscriptions.  It's not clear to me that StrategyEye knows that Amazon Users can already web to the NY Times online.

We can already read the NY Times online in its full-text format, which I have a link to in the downloadable file of mobile-device-optimized websites described and available at http://bit.ly/mobiweb.

We can also go to the regular website but that would be masochistic as that is very slow.  The text-optimized NY Times though is fully available.

Wireless use drains e-readers quite a bit, but a full-throttle web-browser would drain it very quickly.

StrategyEye reports that some believe the planned improvements are "part of a damage control exercise in prepararation for next month's release of the iPad."

  But in no way would a new version be ready by that time anyway, unless one is thinking about e-readers that are rushed to market and unreliable.
  There ARE obviously plans for a touchscreen to be ready by the end of the year and almost surely some kind of color screen with it, from all that I read (rumors are heavy about both Touchco which Amazon now owns and Mirasol, the latter dropping hints but also trying to entice all e-reader makers with their impressive technology although the colors are somewhat muted and there may be less contrast).
  EInk/PVI has stated that they could also have color ready by the end of the year also.
  So, I think any web browser improvements would be slated for a new Kindle near the end of the year.

  In the meantime it would be very good if they could improve the current model's web browsing so that it's faster and handles 'https' links. But, as StrategyEye worries, a faster browser will eat up more bandwidth, especially when people use a much faster browser much more and then 24/7 web browsing would likely be put on tiered pricing.

  StrategyEye writes that "A better browser would open up the internet to Kindle users and could put serious strain on the AT&T network."  The Kindle is already open to the Internet and is the only e-reader that gives (free) cellular wireless for this -- the other e-readers confine customers' web access to their own stores.

  And there they note the possibility that "Kindle customers could potentially cancel their subscriptions to publications such as the New York Times and access the paper's website for free."
  Certainly, with the iPad, the publishers should worry about that even more, as they could access the regular web pages of the NY Times as opposed to accessing, more practically and slowly, the mobile-unit optimized text pages of the NYT.

I've always been patient with the slow Kindle browser because it's free and I need that kind of access outside only for quick lookups.  I imagine that any decent speed capabilities will bring tiered-browsing plans, so I'm not over-excited about this. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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  1. just tried to ask about spring design's new alex ereader, but my (more extended) quiry was lost.

    thanks for your blog, andrys. really enjoy it.

  2. Sorry re the loss after writing a lot - I really hate that when it happens to me, too often. Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the blog. It's neat to hear that some do.

    The new Alex has impressed people with its speed. I haven't heard when it's going to actually be out. Borders was to be the store and then there has been no news about that lately too.

    There is no 3G wireless in the first version, from what I heard.

    Maybe they're working on that as it wouldn't be very competitive w/o it.

  3. thanks for the reply. do you know whether the alex will be compatible with adobe digital editions for library use?

  4. Anonymous,
    I don't know but I'm pretty sure the Alex will support Adobe digital editions.

    I saw a new article on it last night but it too didn't say when it'd be ready.


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