Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AppleInsider predicts Kindle E-Ink eReader announcements Wed. also. - Update

E-Ink Kindle 4 also?  AppleInsider thinks so.

AppleInsider's article was unexpected.  While I (and many others) have been hoping for a new eInk eReader release, no other electronics site has said anything about the eInk model, much less two.

Tucked away under the headline,"Amazon Kindle, tablet lineup will test the water for bigger form factors in 2012" are statements that Wednesday's announcements will include release information on "two new Kindle e-reader models" as well as the 7" Kindle tablet.

  AppleInsider's Josh Ong posted the article at 5:44 PM PST, the page says, and after noticing the wording, I waited to see if other gadget news sites would have something similar.

  I didn't find any.  Also, the AppleInsider often cites Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as telling them what he knows but without a link, as there's no website involved.

  Ong writes last night (Monday) that Kuo "has detailed three new products" to be announced on Wednesday at Amazon's media event. Also see Update

 So, here is what Ong has written, based on what Kuo tells AppleInsider -- the information that Kuo has, differs some, Ong says, from what TechCrunch's MG Siegler has.  Ong opens right off with:
' Online retailer Amazon is set to release two new Kindle e-reader models and an aggressively-priced 7-inch media tablet on Wednesday, as the company feels out the market in advance of larger 10.1-inch and 8.9-inch tablets planned for next year, according to a new report. '

Well, that's quite a statement.  Comments section is focused on the Amazon tablet and no one has mentioned the e-readers that Kuo gives more details for, further into the story and which I'll repeat here (even if it turns out he's wrong -- it's just too interesting not to pass along.

   While Siegler prepared us for the possibility the Amazon tablet will be $300 rather than $250, Kuo has other ideas.  All along, Amazon would have had to be thinking of managing expectations, I thought today, when Siegler's price estimate went up in his TechCrunch column.

  Here's Kuo on that:
' According to a channel check by Kuo, the bill-of-materials for the device is expected to be $180.
  Amazon may choose to price the device at an aggressive $199, Kuo said.  That's cheaper than the $250 price that an earlier report had suggested. '

  Ong also says that despite what TechCrunch has reported re Kindle Fire launching the 2nd week of November, Kuo "expects the device to launch in late September..."

And the key information for those of us who are interested in continuation of the Kindle e-Ink eReader line, with whatever improvements they have in mind, heres what Kuo is telling AppleInsider as of yesterday, or what would be called the "money paragraph" *IF* Kuo has strong basis for his information:
' In addition to its much-anticipated media tablet, Amazon will also release two new versions of its popular Kindle e-reader, Kuo noted.  The low-end version, codenamed Tequila, may cost as little as $99 and will feature a Freescale i.MX515 processor with an integrated controller that should provide "better system design and lower cost."

The high-end Kindle, which is codenamed Whitney, will sport the same processor, while also including features missing on the Tequila, such as touch controls, 3G connectivity and a speaker.  According to Kuo, the Whitney will not arrive until early October because of a "more complicated design and assembly." '

For Kuo's expectations on how many units Amazon will ship, of the tablet and the two e-Ink readers, by the end of 2011, as well as other descriptions, see Ong's full story.  The figures are high.

A commenter to the story writes he's heard these rumors.  But there are no other reports like this out there as of this morning (early Tuesday).

  If you hear more either way, on that or on Kuo as a reliable analyst, please let us know in the comments area.

REMINDER: I have *NO* idea at all whether Kuo's information has strong basis behind it, but his info seems quite trusted by AppleInsider.  His information is based on "industry contacts" and "supply chain sources."

Update - Also note that after discussing the 10" tablet expected in early 2012, Ong references Kuo on something else that's very interesting:
' The company is also reportedly preparing an 8.9-inch tablet with an "amazing form factor" for release in the second half of 2012, though suppliers are said to be having a tough time meeting Amazon's requirements for the device. '

I imagine that might be the hybrid dual-screened (back-to-back) e-paper/LCD screen that many have said is an actual work project at Amazon for next year.

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  1. Thanks, highly interesting. I think I'll make a note on eReaderJoy.

    (I found you via Kindle Chronicles, where I was also interviewed recently.)


  2. Eolake,
    Haven't had a chance to listen yet (after developing an ear problem) but I plan to. Len is a good soul and an excellent interviewer.

    In little more than a day, we'll know if Kuo had enough basis for the information he gave AppleInsider.

  3. "right now", I'm only interested in e-ink devices from Amazon. Honestly, that locked-down tablet from Amazon doesn't look that great...compared to the other "open" Android and IOS alternatives; I don't care about it's price, because, $200 or $250 is not that cheap relative to the other options.

  4. Mark, I'm mainly interested in the e-Ink also!, because I already have a 7" device. But having another 'open' Android tablet, also 7", I'm pretty sure that would not be a good situation for the target audience for Amazon. It's fun for people who like to try to find workarounds and solve problems :-) but not for people who want something "to just work."

  5. While I am frothing at the bit for an Amazon tablet, they have done such a good job with the current Kindle that I can wait on the touch function.

    I'd be a little surprised if they stopped with just that. Amazon has made a habit of leap-frogging B&N on the nook, I guess the purpose of just pulling even would be to compete for Xmas sales?

  6. Is it known if there will be any Amazon webcast available?

    If not, what is the best choice of early information while we wait for your encyclopedic coverage?

    Thanks, Don

  7. I'm interested what the cost of the device will be for those of us that are already Prime members. We've heard $300 w/ Prime $250 w/out rumors. I'd be willing to pay the extra $50 for a year of free Prime when my subscription is due.

  8. I also am more interested in the eink offerings, assuming there are no big surprises with the 7" tablet. The 2 models described would be faster than K3 (800 v 532MHz), which would be welcome. I'd be especially interested in a higher resolution screen, in addition to a touch interface.

    And I'm still wondering what the Kindle '3.3 update' that some people have gotten is for...

    Anyway an exciting week in the Kindle World!

  9. This rumor gives me an actual reason to look forward eagerly to that press conference. I was expecting the tablet, one way or another, and I don't intend to buy it right now.

    But a Kindle 4 would be another thing altogether. It would make a nice Christmas present :) And I'm very curious to see what improvements could Amazon bring to an e-ink e-reader. I'm thinking that a lower price is likely, also a touchscreen, but I can't imagine anything else. Maybe just overall improvements: weight, thickness, refresh rate, browsing speed etc.

  10. I've been around the web today looking at reactions to the 'Fire' and am really surprised at the continued short-sightedness on this topic.

    First, I don't think that Amazon is in any way poising this device to be competition to anything out there today. It's neither an iPad killer nor a Kindle replacement. This is an Amazon mobile device. Just as the Kindle was a way to make buying/reading books more convenient; this is a device that will make it easier to consume Amazon's media (music, movies & TV and books) as well as provide anywhere one-click access to everything else that Amazon sells.

    Looking at the advent of the Kindle, Amazon is taking the long view on this stuff. They introduced a device that was pretty much laughed at by most techies. We readers 'got' it. They then proceeded to upgrade and improve it at their own pace, with perhaps a couple of moves dictated by external forces.

    Consumers are demanding instant access to any and all media that can be delivered instantly. Apple is in a position to make money on media via the iPhone/iPad, but Amazon is in a position to make more simply by the fact that they sell pretty much everything.

    As a consumer, my preference is to buy something from a company who has demonstrated that they can work with others. If I get something from Apple, I am limited to Apple devices. Amazon has shown that they only care that I purchase it from them. Those 600 Kindle books that I bought are device agnostic. When I had an iPhone, I could read them, I can read them on my iPad, on my computer, now on my Android phone and in the future on my Amazon (or any other) tablet via a browser. Plus, anyone on my account can read them as well.

    That book from the iBookstore? I can only read on two devices. Now that I no longer have an iPhone and whenever I give up my iPad, I'm pretty much out of luck because I can't even read them on my pc.

    I can watch my Prime movies on any of my TVs or pcs and I anticipate an app that will allow me to watch on my phone as well.

    Even better? All of the above including my music are available via wifi/3G from wherever I am.

    Lastly, most potential buyers of this device don't give a hoot about the OS, single or dual core, what type of glass or any of the other things that the techies are talking about. (My Mom has never asked me what type of processor is in her Kindle.) All they care about is if it works and delivers what they want.

  11. Don and others,
    re live-blogging

    I couldn't quickly find anything on Engadget or CNet, but there's one by Gizmodo, who will begin one hour early at 9am Eastern time.


    ALSO, Kindle-guys Len Edgerly of TheKindleChronicles podcast will live-blog it along with Stephen Windwalker. Here is Len's tweet yesterday:

    "In partnership w/ @Windwalkerhere I'll liveblog Amazon's press conference in NYC at http://bit.ly/LEN-LIVE-FROM-NY-ON-KTAB. Feel the heat!"

    I'm going to watch on two monitors (one a netbook because I'd not want to miss either perspective).

  12. Jazz,
    One reason for the touch screen would be to meet the needs of "the rest of" the crowd, who wants the ease of touchscreens or what's perceived as 'modern' or 'up to date.'

    I don't prefer touchscreen on a reader because those virtual keyboards are just too unreliable for me when highlighting or inserting, deleting, but others will love them because it's just point and press. That does seem more natural (if they were more precise and not oversensitive to heat from the hand).

    Also, I don't think Amazon likes the constant stories of how "behind the curve" and "in the stone age" the superb K3 is, no matter how baseless their descriptions are.

    It's the "cool kid" syndrome sometimes.

    Amazon might as well do the work and fill the need -- just more sales for them, on everything, that way. And, yes, Christmas sales :-)

  13. Jazz,
    You have some hope until we wake up in the morning and maybe have cold e-water thrown on our sleepy faces. The AppleInsider's analyst said he hears the prices will be *lower* than said earlier while Siegler says higher, so that's another place I hope that AppleInsider's Kuo is right.

  14. Tom,
    Me too, but I don't think they've a cost-effective higher-res screen in e-Ink right now. Faster Kindle, even lighter, smaller and touch, that would be good for those who don't like the K3 but want a Kindle.

    The K3 v3.3 is likely some code having to do with options that may come for this or that and some people are trial-users. That's all I can think of...

  15. Corneliu,
    Agreed, on all of it.

    Your description of all the factors has really good points, and I wish some of the columnists could read it.

    You're really right about the tech info. At the forum thread I made for this AppleInsider posting (http://amzn.to/af-k4maybe, people tuned out when questions were answered with too much technical info. Like you say, people want it to just work for what they need or expect.

  16. And that's why I don't read any of those tech sites. They "report" rumours, hearsay, speculation, and downright fabricated stuff as fact and newsworthy.

  17. Anonymous,
    That's a good decision for some.

    Me, I enjoy learning what may be coming and I'm seen how often they are right while of course they can also be wrong or the original source of a story is just copied by others while they speculate. Most of them tell you where they got the info and then you decide whether or not to pay much attention to it or go see for yourself what it really said.

    I actually learn quite a bit from the various sides of speculation, and the fact is that companies do like to leak or some employees do and it's like a mystery. When I see something interesting to me, then I post it here.


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