Kindle Touch 2 Thoughts, Analysis

Kindle Touch has a new version, Kindle Touch 2, about to be unveiled on September 6th. Here are some Kindle Touch 2 thoughts and analysis based on what we know so far.

Kindle Touch 2 – What we Know about Kindle Touch 2

A few Kindle Touch 2 images have been leaked and the following details are now clear:

  1. It will have a lighted display. All that unmet demand B&N was talking about (for its Nook with GlowLight) – Well, guess who is going to help B&N meet that demand.
  2. Kindle Touch 2 might be called Kindle Paper White. Because, obviously, if you are replacing an earlier technology you should keep referring to it endlessly. That’s why Ford named his Car the Ford HorseFast.
  3. It promises better contrast and higher resolution. Or as Bing Translator translates it – High Resolution and Marked Contrast. Which could mean anything.
  4. It promises integrated lighting and 8 weeks of battery life – even with the lighting on. That’s impressive. Please Note: 8 weeks = 8 weeks with half an hour of reading every day. AKA 28 hours.
  5. You can see the power button at the bottom, what looks like a microUSB port, and also something that might be a headphone jack.
  6. The physical design of the Kindle Touch 2 seems to be very similar to the Kindle Touch 1. No page turn buttons?
  7. One of the screenshots shows WiFi being on. There will probably be a 3G model too.

Kindle Touch 2 Images are viewable at Pocket Lint.

Side Note: My designer says that the Kindle Fire 2 images leaked so far are possibly fake. The borders are all fuzzy and seem photoshopped. Of course, if it is fake, it somehow matches Amazon’s Cardboard Box Bland Design Aesthetic perfectly. So the other possibility is that someone photoshopped the real images to look fake (which makes zero sense).

The Kindle Touch 2 images, on the other hand, seem real. Translating the entire interface into French is more effort than someone would go to for a fake mockup.

Kindle Touch 2 – What can we deduce about Kindle Touch 2

  1. The main selling points seem to be – Lighted Screen and Higher Contrast, Higher Resolution display.
  2. The Kindle PaperWhite name seems a bit strange. However, it does fall in with Amazon’s crazy naming patterns. We are talking about a company that named its Long-Term Data Storage solution ‘Amazon Glacier’.
  3. Given past Kindle models it’s safe to say that Kindle Touch 2 would be available in these variants (with guesses for prices) – Kindle Touch 2 with Ads and WiFi only for $99, Kindle Touch 2 with 3G and Ads for $149, Kindle Touch 2 with no Ads and WiFi only for $139, Kindle Touch 2 with no Ads and 3G for $189. It must cost something to add the lighting and it’s unlikely Amazon can cut prices in spite of adding lighting and presumably a better battery.
  4. Kindle WiFi and Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) have not gone out of stock. This suggests they are not getting a refresh. Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire have (in case you missed the Most Pointless Press Release of All Time) and they probably are getting replaced by new models – Kindle Touch 2 and Kindle Fire 2 (more than one, if the rumors are correct).
  5. There are rumors of a new Kindle DX. However, I find that unlikely given how little the Kindle DX seems to sell (just an uneducated guess).
  6. The Marketing push will be – Best Reading Experience in Sunlight, Best Reading Experience at Night, Best Screen, Free 3G, Feels/Looks Just Like Paper.
  7. Kindle Touch 1 screen was 600 by 800 pixels resolution at 167 ppi. If Amazon is touting both higher resolution and higher contrast it’s safe to say we might see the ppi and resolution both increase.
  8. Kindle Touch 1 was 7.8 ounces (220 grams). Kindle Touch 2 will be adding lighting and still have the same battery life. That suggests a bigger battery and might mean the weight increases a bit.

It’s quite impressive. The Lighted Screen is a big, big deal. Battery life of 28 hours of reading with the lighting on is also very impressive. 8 weeks at half an hour per day = 28 hours. Not quite as impressive sounding as 2 months. It does translate to 4-7 books read without the hassle of a recharge.

Kindle Touch 2 vs Nook GlowLight

How would Kindle Touch 2 compare with Nook GlowLight?

  1. Both would have screen lighting. At this point we don’t know enough to say whether one would have (slightly) better screen lighting.
  2. Kindle Touch 2 promises 8 weeks of reading with the light on. Nook GlowLight promises ‘over 1 month’. Kindle Touch 2 would probably win here by quite a margin.
  3. Nook GlowLight comes with a power adapter and a screen protector. It’s nice that the anti-glare screen protector is pre-installed (I can never figure out how to get those on without air bubbles and endless frustration). Kindle Touch 2 might follow the Kindle Touch 1 ridiculousness of selling a power adapter separately – No Computer Required. Unless you want to Charge!
  4. Nook GlowLight has the same resolution and contrast (or similar) as Kindle Touch. If Kindle Touch 2 comes with better resolution and contrast it would have a big advantage (if the improvement is quite stark).
  5. Nook GlowLight has a microSD card slot which is a big advantage if you want expandable storage and flexibility.
  6. Nook GlowLight has ePub support but doesn’t support Kindle format. It does, however, support ePub books from other stores.

At the moment it seems that SD Card Slot and ePub support would be the B&N Nook GlowLight’s main advantages. Kindle Touch 2 would have better battery life and better screen contrast and resolution. Both would have the dual benefits of eInk+In-Built Lighting for – the best daylight reading experience PLUS the best nighttime reading experience.

Amazon would use Ads to perhaps price Kindle Touch 2 at $99 – about $40 less than the $139 Nook GlowLight. That might be the key difference.

All in all, it seems that Kindle Touch 2 will be a strong successor to Kindle Touch and will displace Nook GlowLight as the #1 eReader choice. We’ll have to wait until Kindle Touch 2 is actually out and available to figure out which eReader is going to be the #1 choice for 2012 – Kindle Touch 2 or Nook GlowLight.

4 Responses

  1. Frankly so many (non computer power) charging cords use USB at the power end. All I do is buy a couple wall plugs with usb ports for $2> from hong kong on ebay and 2-3wks, i’m free of computers with very little outlay. Of course, not everyone trusts elec stuff from there but their choice.

    Btw on “whats the point” of faking leak photos? Its amazing to me, # of ppl with nothing better to then just mess with peoples minds for selfish mean pleasure. That’s my IMO on why. I call them the useless.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Yes, that’s a good point. People love to troll sometimes.

      Buying wall plugs from Hong Kong shouldn’t be necessary. It couldn’t be costing Amazon more than $3 or $4 to add-in a charger and ship it with the Kindle. Perhaps it just makes very high margins on the charger and figured it’ll make a profit on that.

  2. At this point, I’m undecided as to whether I will get a Kindle Fire 2 or the new “Paper White” Kindle. (I will get one: I budgeted for this toy.)

    While improved contrast and the ability to read without an exterior light source are good, reading on the Kindle is already more than good enough, at least when it comes to contrast and resolution. The problems that create unnecessary friction that distract from the reading experience are unrelated to contrast and resolution.

    First, as you have pointed out, is the interface. Without dedicated page turning buttons, you have to think about turning the page in ways that detract from the whole “losing yourself in a good book” way. This is especially true with non-fiction. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to turn the page on my touch and ended up hitting a footnote or a hyperlink and had to work my way back to where I was. This is Amazon’s doing.

    What is not Amazon’s doing is the unacceptable formatting mess in many Kindle books. I recently finished reading “Wool” and purchased the prequel and started it only to find that the font size is so freaking small that I would have to increase it three or four levels to make it legible.

    The problem is that I read more than books on my Kindle, which I think is something Amazon wants me to do. So, if I adjust the fonts to compensate for badly-formatted books, I have to re-adjust them to read the magazines and newspapers I subscribe to. I don’t experience this kind of friction when I book down a paperback to read a newspaper or a magazine, yet it’s almost SOP with the Kindle.

    Reading on my Nexus 7 doesn’t present this kind of friction. I’m not sure why. That’s why I’m open to ditching the e-ink Kindle for a Fire 2. I love e-ink but lately it’s limitations are more than I care to put up with. The thing is: if I enjoy reading on the Nexus 7 so much, will I eventually just buy most of my e-books from Google? Amazon is aware of the problem but the publishers aren’t playing ball.

    • Very good points.

      I think Amazon made two conscious decisions -

      1) Not iterating the hardware design quickly enough and focusing mostly on Cloud and Infrastructure improvements.
      2) Not focusing enough on removing friction in the reading and usage and instead focusing on reducing friction in the buying process (both for buying the Kindle and for buying books). So it prioritizes features that are marketing features (paperwhite, touch) instead of features that are reading and usability features.

      It’s almost as if Amazon thinks the device and the interface aren’t important and that the device is just a dumb terminal. That users should buy books, read them quickly, and buy more books and other things. It hasn’t given enough focus to ‘providing the absolute best reading experience’.

      *****
      With Tablets this causes an issue because -

      1) Tablets are faster and more powerful.
      2) Tablets overcome some of the limitations of eInk.
      3) Tablets can do other things.

      *****
      Amazon has decided that instead of making eReaders SUPER AMAZING and fighting for readers, it just wants to switch to Tablets. It’s a change of religion, of sorts. So I suspect we’ll continue to see the eInk eReaders neglected.

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