Kindle 3 Expectations – What Readers expect

The Kindle is still sold out and people are still speculating on what it means.

Consensus amongst the main-stream Press seems to be that Amazon didn’t anticipate demand for the $189 Kindle and sold out all its stock. One article even claims Nook and Sony are laughing at the Kindle shortage – Guess the summer is the worst possible time to run out of stock. It would have been far less damaging to run out of stock during Christmas when everyone is buying gifts and … wait a minute.

Consensus (hope?) amongst Kindle owners seems to be that the Kindle 2’s disappearance means the Kindle 3 is about to arrive.

What are people’s Kindle 3 expectations?

Ran into this comment at the official kindle forum about what a user expects the Kindle 3 will be like (courtesy T. Semple) –

I have pretty low expectations for K3: basically just the Pearl screen (and dark enclosure) is the only new feature I really expect, and that is probably not enough to entice me. So I’m ready to be surprised…

You know what – It’s hard to disagree. Kindle DX 2 had the screen and the graphite casing and that was pretty much it. Don’t get me wrong – It’s a hugely impressive screen. However, there’s nothing else. There’s not much reason to think Kindle 3 is going to arrive with extra features on top of that. It’s been a month since the Kindle DX 2 came out so perhaps we might get 1 or 2 software tweaks or perhaps a microphone that lets you take notes via speech to text.

Well, let’s go through some more people’s Kindle 3 expectations and then draw up a realistic list of what might be in Kindle 3.

Optimistic Kindle 3 Expectations

Let’s start with some wishful thinking (courtesy BareThoughts, and me) – A Kindle with a Qualcomm Mirasol screen. This is actually fairly unlikely. Qualcomm has said their screens will be ready and arrive in devices by end 2010 to early 2011 which in ePaper technology parlance means end 2011.

There aren’t really very many people with high expectations. Kindle DX 2 has pretty much set the expectation that we will have an incremental Kindle 3 release – a new Kindle that differs from Kindle 2 only in screen contrast and color of the casing. 

Pessimistic/Realistic Kindle 3 Expectations

 S. Dunham pretty much captures the general sentiment –

I don’t think we’ll be getting a K3. I think it’s just going to be a K2 Graphite. When the rumors of a new Kindle coming August started, it did talk about a thinner Kindle and better contrast but no other new features. Not even WiFi was mentioned.

Given what the Kindle DX 2 is like it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Kindle 3 was indeed a graphite Kindle 2.

There are even a couple of people who feel it might just be an out of stock event –

Amazon’s either keeping this secret really well, or they’re just out of stock and there’s no secret to keep.

Well, so it seems Kindle 3 expectations are generally very low and given the massive Kindle 2.5 upgrade it’s hard to imagine Amazon would have been able to add-on much. Perhaps we’ll see Amazon take a few more months and release a Kindle 3 at the end of the year.

Most Probable List of Features for Kindle 3

For an August Kindle 3 release it’s really hard to say. The list would probably include –

  1. A graphite case (since it’s an easy way to improve readability and it’s already been done for Kindle DX 2).
  2. The eInk Pearl screen.
  3. Two software improvements – My money would be on some speed improvements and perhaps another experimental feature.  
  4. 1 or 2 hardware improvements – Perhaps speech to text and perhaps an SD card slot.
  5. Kindle 3 might come in at a $200 price. This is assuming the eInk Pearl screen is cheaper and that’s not a given.

There’s also a borderline chance we get some news on the Kindle App Store. There isn’t yet open entry to the App Store Beta so it’s hard to say if Amazon is ready to launch or if it’s still experimenting.

If Kindle 3 doesn’t arrive soon then it’ll probably arrive in time for Christmas and come with –

  1. eInk Pearl Screen. For now let’s assume Qualcomm Mirasol screen Kindles won’t be here till 2011 – That way there’s no disappointment.  
  2. Definitely a few software features – Expect something of the scale of the Kindle 2.5 upgrade with perhaps better PDF support and other improvements. Hopefully we don’t get too much social stuff unless it’s Kindle to Kindle.  
  3. Definitely hardware improvements. It might make sense for Amazon to go with a 7″ screen for Kindle 3.  
  4. Perhaps a touchscreen and stylus.
  5. Definitely the Kindle App Store. Don’t see why Amazon wouldn’t release it this year – especially as it would give Amazon a big advantage for Christmas. 
  6. The price would be less and would probably be around $170 to $190.
  7. There’s a chance we get some feature that we haven’t yet thought of.

There are additional things Amazon has mentioned that might make it in this year – accessible menus and a better browser. However, you have to think those are lower priorities and not as likely as PDF and speed improvements.

WiFi is a possibility if the Nook WiFi ends up selling well. It’s really hard to figure out what Amazon has planned for Kindle 3 and the Kindle App Store and the rest of the year. There will obviously be changes based on what happens with Nook 2 and iPad 2 – The one certainty for Kindle 3 seems to be the new eInk Pearl screen and that’s a good thing.

13 thoughts on “Kindle 3 Expectations – What Readers expect”

  1. I don’t see speech to text coming on a Kindle. I’ve always thought the Kindle’s CPU was set to the lowest possible level and speech to text requires a lot of horsepower.

    To see how slow the CPU is, go to a web site on your phone and on your Kindle. The phone draws the screen much faster than the Kindle. It’s the same wireless speed, so the difference has to be the CPU.;

  2. It’s interesting to note that you consider the SD card slot to be a hardware improvement, since it was something that was removed in the transition from the Kindle 1 to the Kindle 2.

    I thought it was funny that when the nook was released, it had both an SD card slot and removable battery and there were people that used these to crow over the Kindle 2. They tended to forget that the original Kindle had both of these, and Amazon decided to do away with them for their upgrade.

    1. Yes, that wasn’t exactly a good move by Amazon. Who knows what the rationale was – someone had said it might be to make the Kindle thinner (SD card slot limited that) – However, not sure why a microSD card slot couldn’t have been used instead.

  3. what about kindle with the “easy” ability to read epub as that’s what’s available at local libraries? My mother just got an ereader and kindle was not even considered because she wants to loan from the library and does not want to have to jump through hoops to reformat or convert. Came down to sony daily edition and nook 3g – looks like she’s keeping nook … the sony is just not as clear to read.

    1. Robin, Amazon is unlikely to want to open up to ePub because that makes their entire platform vulnerable. Someone can take over and steal away the revenue stream from ebook sales.
      It makes no sense strategically and given the Kindle Store’s market share of ebooks (seems to be 76% or more) there’s little reason to add ePub at the moment.

  4. I’m really not sure what the advantage of including an SD card slot is. The Kindle 1 miiiight conceivably have needed it, but the Kindle 2 has a great deal more internal storage and with the primary usage scenario being text-only books that take up at most a megabyte or two each, I would be very hard pressed to run out of space. I have hundreds of books on mine right now and still have well over a gigabyte free.

    I suppose the Kindle 3 could up the internal storage count, potentially. Not likely to be important, but it looks good on a spec sheet.

  5. How on earth could anyone need MORE storage for the Kindle? SD slot? I don’t yet own thousands of eBooks, but if I did, I could probably live with just 1000 of my current favorites, with the rest backed up to the computer (and the cloud). Same thing with a removable battery. Apple proved, and Amazon continues to prove, that most consumers, sans those who post on tech blogs are happy with the concept that a battery that lasts two years and then needs to be replaced by the manufacturer for under $100 is fine, if the battery life far exceeds what would otherwise be possible with a removable batteries physical size constraints.

    I, for one, hope Amazon’s Kindle 3 is feature limited. If they get the price to stay the same or go less, and improve the contrast a bit, I’ll likely carry one sometimes. 90% of the time I can read just fine on my iPad. Occasionally, I’m tempted to grab my K2.

  6. Your article about the Kindle going to China made me think about something that would be a good upgrade for the Kindle — support for other languages that don’t use the same alphabet as English. If the Kindle 3 supported Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, that would be huge.

    Toss in Arabic, too. My first powerful cell phone was a Jas-Jar, which was available to Arabia and never available in the USA. There’s money in the middle east. Arabs with money don’t seem to have a problem buying high end electronics, and selling them a Kindle would be a good way to take some back.

    And Hebrew, even though Israel is much smaller in population (but probably not potential market size) than the arabic speaking world.

    A lot of the world uses a different alphabet than we do. Amazon (at some point) needs to support it.

    1. There’s definitely a lot more opportunity for the Kindle. Amazon just has to start adding languages.
      I’ve heard rumors of a Kindle in Japan with support for Japanese characters. However, it was rather vague.

      1. You just posted everything other than arabic and hebrew. I’d call that a win.

        Yeah me! Where’s that horn? I’ve got to toot it now!

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