$99 Kindle, Touch Kindle Next

A $79 Kindle and a Touch Kindle have succeeded the Kindle 3.

At least that’s what Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who used to work at DigiTimes earlier) claims. Given his background at DigiTimes there’s a 50% chance he’s 100% spot on and a 50% chance Amazon never ever releases a touch Kindle.

His $99 Kindle and Kindle Touch predictions are at Apple Insider. Which makes sense given how much Apple Blogs care about the lost art of animated page turns.

Here is what he says Amazon will reveal on Wednesday (in addition to Kindle Fire, the Kindle Tablet) -

  1. $99 Kindle with a 6″ eInk screen, 256 MB RAM, and a faster Freescale processor. He claims it will not have 3G, not have a touch screen, and not have speakers. The $99 price-point will move 8 million of these $99 Kindles. At least that’s what Mr. Kuo thinks.
  2. Kindle Touch with a touch screen (via Infra Red), 6″ eInk screen, 3G capability, and speakers. The processor and RAM will be the same as the $99 version. Ming-Chi Kuo expects that 4 million of these will ship by end of 2011.
  3. A 7″ IPS Kindle Tablet. 512 MB Ram, capacitive touch screen, no 3G connection. He expects Amazon to target a $199 or $249 price point and sell 3 million units by end of 2011.
  4. The release dates are rumored to be – end September for the $99 Kindle and for the Kindle Tablet; early October for Kindle Touch.
  5. The final rumor – That Amazon has a 10.1″ iPad competitor lined up for early 2012 and a 8.9″ Tablet with an amazing form factor that manufacturers are struggling to recreate.

Apparently, Amazon is going to follow up Kindle Fire with Kindle Inferno and Kindle ‘Burning Hell’. Let’s hope Amazon doesn’t take those suggestions seriously.

What would a $99 Kindle mean?

A lot of sales. Sony Reader gets destroyed. Nook Touch sales dip. Kobo sales decimated.

Every other eReader company would have to cut prices immediately and drastically. B&N has a new eReader lined up and it would have to make some hard decisions about whether it would match Kindle on price or not. Nook’s big advantage was library book support and now that’s gone. Which means price becomes very, very critical.

What would a Touch Kindle mean?

Amazon finally catches up with Kobo Touch and Nook Touch. It seems to me that Amazon was forced to do this – that Amazon’s heart wasn’t really in making a token touchscreen eReader.

For people who love touch and/or love having the newest features – Kindle Touch becomes a worthy challenger to the other touch screen eInk eReaders.

Is Amazon making a mistake by playing its hand so early?

Perhaps.

With the $99 eReader – other companies might find it very hard to match the $99 Kindle on price. So no big issues there.

With the Touch eReader – gives Kobo and Nook time to figure out how to beat Kindle over the Holiday Season. Perhaps a mistake.

With the Kindle Tablet – Definitely. Nook Color 2 has the advantage of being a second generation Tablet. By knowing exactly what Kindle Tablet will be, B&N can strategize around it. It probably already has a very solid Tablet and now it can counter Kindle Tablet much more effectively.

It’s very strange. The news of the $99 Kindle and the Kindle Touch is very unexpected. Logically, these were the two options Amazon had and everyone expected it to embrace one of them. No one expected Amazon to do both at the same time, and definitely not in September. Wednesday just might be the next very important date in the annals of eReader history.

12 Responses

  1. In the apple blog community, people tend to keep an eye on all the major competitors — and in the non-apple tablet space, Amazon is by far the most interesting thing happening this month.

  2. Whatever else I could say about these guesses, the idea that the next Kindle will ship with the same amount of memory as the first one, 256MB, is laughable. The last thing Amazon wants is for concerns about available storage to come between readers and buying lots of books.

    • Roberto, that’s the RAM which is used for loading things when Kindle is running and not for general storage. Memory will probably be 4 GB or perhaps even 8 GB.

      256 MB ram seems on the low side but it isn’t for storing books – just for loading things into memory.

  3. It’s still a content war in the long run, not a device war. Amazon is winning on every front there except music. Once Amazon starts bundling books, movies, music, and TV in with the Prime membership, it’s game over. For lots of companies, not just device peddlers.

  4. Regarding a touchscreen E Ink Kindle, wouldn’t that cause a lot of problems for app developers like you? How is all the active content going to work when it has been created for non-touchscreens? Wouldn’t app devs have to redo the apps if they want them to be compatible with a Kindle Touch?

    Plus Amazon would have to redo the entire UI to work with a touchscreen, at the same time they are creating an entirely new device in the Kindle tablet. Just doesn’t seem very likely to me. A new $99 Kindle doesn’t make any sense either when they already offer the KSO for $114. Dropping an extra $15 off of it makes a lot more sense then creating an entirely new Kindle just to hit the $99 price point.

    • Well, app developers will be in a fix.

      No easy way to convert apps to work in a touchscreen environment. You have to rethink the app. Not to mention retest everything. It’ll be a nightmare.

  5. I disagree that Amazon has made a mistake making an early announcement of new devices. It’s precisely the upcoming holiday market that they want to command and conquer. Their mistake is that they’re coming out with a me-too tablet built on the Playbook platform. They’ve had plenty of time to innovate, now they’ve taken the path of least resistance.

    As regards Nook and Kobo being able to see Amazon’s hand and play one better, I doubt that would have any effect on holiday period, which is the bulk of most manufacturers sales, for the siomple fact that product development cycles are simply too long. Whatever Nook hopes to get in the stores in time for the holidays is already in production, as would be the case with Nook. There’s precious little time to make any changes in design, unless one is talking about minor software/firmware changes.

    That this is the appropriate time for Amazon to unveil a tablet is debatable; they should have done so a year ago. Certainly something like the Playbook (an IPS slate) could have been done for the 2010 holiday season, leaving this entire year for them to develop a true successor to the DX, which in my mind at least, is the first Amazon tablet/reader.

  6. I don’t think the amount of memory will be as important because they want you to store on the ” cloud”. Fine with me as long as it works!

  7. All of this is very interesting but I want to know if you can change the battery in a Nook or Kindle? Do they have a slot for external storage and if so, what kind? Do any of the Nooks come with 3G? At this time, Oct. 1, 2011, can the Kindle use eliibrary books on loan? Is there a car charger for either? Can either one be attached to external speakers to hear them read? I plug cassette player into a plug in my car and listen to books on tape?

    • Neither Nook (the new ones) nor Kindle have a changeable battery.

      Nook Touch has a slot for external storage, Kindle doesn’t. Nook Touch doesn’t come with 3G. Yes, Kindle can use library books.

      Car charger – separately.
      Kindle can be attached to external speakers. Nook Touch doesn’t have slot for audio jack. I have no idea about your cassette player question.

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