After yesterday's endless Kindle product-page changes with Buy boxes disappearing and then reappearing before disappearing again, it was time for something to be said.
See Update below.
I just got back here and a note from vigilant commenter Edward Boyhan said we probably know about the press conference announced for Sept 6 in Santa Monica. Last year, announcements were made in NY, so this time the West Coast gets the event, and it probably has something to do with all the recent streaming-video Agreements Amazon has been making.
I browsed the news and saw that most are expecting 'just' a Kindle Fire 2 (calling it Amazon's "e-reader" (which IS a key function for Kindlers) and maybe a Kindle Fire 10" announced for year-end or early Spring as mentioned before. Some hope for a smartphone announcement too. Very few mention e-Ink readers probably because they may seem passe for those interested only in tablets these days. But it's the e-Ink Touch Kindles that have been noticeably missing from product pages recently and appearing "on hold" in a quiet way.
E-Ink Readers too
This reminds me of something in last year's atmosphere. I remember that a key analyst for Apple Insider predicted two Touch e-readers along with a Kindle tablet would be introduced and he gave price points also, but he was almost alone in this, and the other press conference attendees were quite surprised with a fairly full lineup and some attractive pricing.
A lot has happened in just the one year since.
What kind of Kindle device announcements are done (or not) via press conference?
In August 2010, there was no press conference when they released the Kindle 3 Keyboard model and the new Kindle DXG 9.7" - both with the Pearl 'Graphite' display which had considerably more contrast than previous Kindles. These more were more 'evolutionary' than something really new though.
Last year we had the unveiling of the new family of Kindles, including the colorful latest member.
It'll be definitely interesting to watch what's to be introduced with some fanfare this time.
Front-lighted e-Ink Kindle reader?
I did see one columnist hoping that the front-lighted e-Ink Kindle is going to be ready, finally, although I'm hoping they really did take the time to work out kinks of the type we've seen with the Nook Glowlight's fragility and some relatively minor contrast loss due to a 2nd piece of glass over the display.
I'm happy with my Beam N Read so will be more interested in what's happening with the follow-up tablet(s).
The tablet's capabitilities will be key, though I'm still enjoying mine, as I don't fill it with stuff but enjoy video streaming on it, including via the Wi-Drive external storage and simultaneous streaming (for up to 3 devices) of videos and documents from it and being able to read e-books and periodicals with photographs.
A key factor with the conservatively spec'd Kindle Fire has been the ability to read DRM'd ePub on it because Amazon allows Kindle Fire owners to install apps on the tablet from "unknown sources"
Important for any new Kindle Fire
What I personally want most from the next tablet will be 1) at least 16 gigs of storage so others don't have to worry about running out of space between richly featured apps and data, 2) 16 gigs of memory, and 3) an SD card slot, which the Google Nexus is lacking, and which I feel will be a key factor in the success of the next tablet.
I haven't read any rumors of an SD slot being installed in coming Amazon tablets, but I feel it'll be an very strong plus for Amazon if it's there and quite a drawback if it's missing. At least my Samsung 10" tablet and ipads have connector kits for USB and SD card adapters.
If an SD card is not there they will have missed a large opportunity to pull ahead instead of playing catch-up. Barnes and Noble put one on their Nook Tablets but they are far more restrictive than Amazon in that they don't allow non-company-store apps to be placed on the Nook while Amazon allows these on its Kindle Fire.. Most tablet owners who use tablets for entertainment don't want to depend on having to 'root' a tablet (with subsequent rooting updates necessary) to get basic functionality and flexibility out of it.
So, in about two weeks, we'll finally hear what they're planning.
This time the global community will be watching with great interest, as Amazon has asked that developers provide Android apps outside the U.S. (finally) for whatever it plans.
CNet's David Carnoy has expanded their article on this.
If I read anything unusual on this today, I'll be adding it to this blog article.
Update - Forbes's Eric Savitz describes the venue a bit.
' The dramatic ceiling vaults to impressive 43-feet at the center, providing an arched steel truss over a 150- by 234-foot cement floor ... The 35,000 square foot hangar is one of the biggest and most versatile venues in Los Angeles 'And Savitz says Amazon must expect a good crowd.
Whimsically, I'll add that the Department of State's e-documents distribution needs as described in its latest Request for Information, requires centralized management of multiple Kindle e-reader models and also tablets but that a key requirement is that the devices must be capable of 3G delivery of documents via 3G wireless to its staff and to schools worldwide.
The Kindle Fire would need to have 3G cellular phone access capability if it is used eventually in any Agreement made with the DoS, not necessarily in the coming model but eventually.
3G wireless is turned 'off' by going into 'airplane' mode on many devices, so having the announcement in an airport hanger would be somewhat humorous (and far-fetched but I enjoyed the idea momentarily today).
Also, Savitz mentions that "Google’s Motorola unit and Verizon are also holding a product launch event in New York on the 5th" and that this will be annoying to those wanting to catch both events 3,000 miles apart. Apple's own planned announcements may take place on the 12th of Sept. in San Francisco.
Kindle Fire 7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
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