Jeff Bezos on Future Versions of the Kindle

At the D: All Things Digital Conference Jeff Bezos had this to say (which sounds awesome to me) –

“There will be a second version, a third version, a 10th version and so on,” he said, but “a second version is not that near.” It may take a decade to get the product where Amazon wants it, he said.

And two things that I especially like – A newer model may include a Web browser that serves “as a companion to reading,” and also a new model might include international versions of the device.

Kindle 2.0 WishList – Suggestions for Kindle 2 and Kindle 3

Here are my wishlists for the Features I’d like to see in Kindle V2 and in Kindle V3. The price cut (i found out about it today) inspired me to finally polish these a bit. What would be your personal most wanted features?

Kindle V2 Wishlist

  1. Price: Cut the Kindle’s Price. This is the single biggest deterrent to most people. Cut it more than just the 40$ which I’ll give props to Amazon for.
  2. Design: Make it look prettier and make it customizable. This will be especially big when Amazon starts targeting the Kindle at teenagers and kids in general and girls in particular. Provide colour options and accessories and allowing customizations like etching (like Apple provides for ipods) and tag on bookmarks and stickers.
  3. Extend Functionality: eInk writeable screen. This is big, especially in context of school and college use as it goes from ebook reader to ebook + journal. There also needs to be exceptionally good usability in terms of switching from textbook mode to internet mode to book mode to journal mode. Also redesigning the homepage would be a big plus (which brings me to perhaps the two single most wanted features on my list)
  4. Extend Functionality: Open up the linux platform to extensions. At this point you can keep the closed garden and limit it to only the amazon store.
  5. Extend Functionality: Let people sell applications for the Kindle, along with books, in the Kindle Store.
  6. Usability: Make it a Colour Screen. Colour adds a whole new dimension.
  7. Functionality: PDF Support built in. Perhaps even put the convertor program that Amazon currently uses when you email them onto the Kindle. Else, get mobipocket creator on the kindle and automate the conversion. Yet another option is to use this script + process at mobileread forums. (courtesy http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/11/19/15-things-i-just-lea.html)
  8. Extend Functionality: Make the Browser a REAL browser.
  9. Extend Functionality: Be able to buy anything from Amazon.
  10. Community: Make it social and add in Kindle to Kindle chat + support it with an internet based online social network that both Kindle owners and Amazon users can join. Kindle book clubs and let anyone with a kindle start their own book club.
  11. Amazon Kindle Sharing Model: You can lend out your book physically i.e. Transfer ownership. And allow transferring back (perhaps limit it to one person per book). this atleast allows for some amount of sharing. Alternately, let people share out the first 2 or 3 chapters of a book (kindle store already allows you to read 1 chapter before buying).
  12. For the record i think DRM is a GOOD thing. So I have no ‘remove DRM’ on my wishlist.
  13. Usability: This is a big one – Redesign the back button and the cover to work better. Include a clip-on light (minor point in my book).
  14. Extend Functionality: Ramp up the Kindle to make it a semi-GPS. Include full support for local search and Maps, ideally both yahoo maps and google maps.
  15. Price: Free Blog Subscriptions. Its just insane to have paid Blog Subscriptions. At the most a 1 or 2$ a month subscription to all available blogs.
  16. Extend Functionability: Support for Images, JPG, TIF.
  17. Magazines and newspapers – allow people to store every single magazine/newspaper they ever bought in their Amazon account. Not just for the past 7 months.
  18. Community: Make Kindle Publishing more of a community thing and make it easier to spread the news. Haven’t thought about this enough to have a suggestion – however turning Kindle owners into book early adopters.

So that’s my list for V2 suggestions and before I go on to V3 suggestions there’s something Teresa at BoingBoing mentioned – A lot of these weird limitations make sense if you assume that Sprint required them in order to keep the Kindle from being adapted to purposes for which one would normally use a cellphone.

If that really is true Amazon needs to negotiate around it quickly. Google has been putting a lot of effort into freeing up the airwaves and even looking at things like using unused TV channels to get Android a foothold. There really isn’t much time to set up a good channel that Amazon controls to a reasonable extent.  And that thought brings us to …

Kindle V3 Wishlist

  1. Price: Provide an ‘all the books you can buy’ model.
  2. Price: Option to get a Kindle free when you purchase 2 years of the ‘all the books you can buy’ model.
  3. Price: Lower the price point for books to 6.99$ or even 4.99$.
  4. Extend Functionality: Extend and be able to buy things from any store.
  5. Availability: Extend Kindle availability to outside the US.
  6. Usability: Jeffrey Han’s multi touch screen. I say usability because firstly this model makes things easier.
  7. Functionality Extensions: Let other stores allow shopping over the kindle.
  8. Fun: Add on a games module i.e. Sudoku, etc. and online games. I mean basic play everyday games like chess, online poker, etc. It’s running linux so this should be relatively straightforward. There are two categories of games here – games like crosswords, sudoku etc. which make a lot of sense and slightly more advanced games which perhaps don’t.
  9. [This is of course going away from its core functionality so i really don’t know if this suggestion makes sense] Add Video Capabilities + integrate with Unbox. If TV on your phone is supposed to be such a big deal, wouldn’t the Kindle work better?
  10. Extend Functionality: Blog from your Kindle. This is really simple if you extend browser capabilities. However, asking for more than just that – make blogging simpler – add a button or shortcut to blog instantly.
  11. Encourage Development for the Kindle: Set up a prize for the best app/mashup for the kindle. There’s lots of scope as you have Amazon’s API, AWS,  the kindle, the internet, google maps, mashups, flickr, gutneberg, and lots of other different elements you can bring together.