Kindle 4 wishlist

The Kindle might see a new version, Kindle 4, sometime in end 2011 or in early 2012. Kindle 4 will probably have some new features, a whole bunch of incremental improvements, and perhaps even a jump or two in technology.

There’s a very interesting discussion currently going on at the official Kindle forum - ‘A wishlist for the 4th generation Kindle’.

Kindle owners’ Kindle 4 wishlist

Here’s what people are wishing for, with my thoughts in italics -

Note: Have put my favorite suggestions at the top.

  1. A faster processor, with faster web page downloads. Faster processor would definitely be nice. Web page downloads are probably restricted by speed of the 3G connection, or perhaps by some sort of throttling courtesy AT&T. 
  2. Nested Collections (collections within collections). This would be a sweet feature addition.
  3. 7″ screen. A wonderful suggestion.
  4. Higher resolution screen. Another great suggestion. We have had more than enough contrast improvements – time to improve the resolution.
  5. Custom Screensavers. We can hope. Also a few people asking for image packs – what a splendid idea.
  6. Support for Library Books. Not many people mentioned this – which was very surprising.
  7. Number keys with @ in a row above QWERTY keys. Please bring this back, Amazon.
  8. Slide-out keyboard. An interesting suggestion.
  9. Better Keyboard. Yes. A proper keyboard would be a huge Kindle advantage – it’s time Amazon built a top notch Kindle keyboard.
  10. Flexible Kindle that can be bent as the user pleases. It would also make the Kindle very hard to break when dropped – hopefully.
  11. A more streamlined interface with better sorting. Quite a few people asking for this.
  12. Multiple user profiles on a Kindle. Different readers could share a Kindle better. Amazon probably wants each user to buy a Kindle of her/his own so it’s doubtful Amazon will ever add this.
  13. Turn on the microphone. Amen to that.
  14. A backlight. There’s no reason the pull out light can’t be ‘in the Kindle’.
  15. Allow books from other sources. Not a lot of people asking for this. Little chance Amazon adds this feature.
  16. Bring back the memory card slot. Another great suggestion.
  17. Color – with the option to turn it on or off. Color would certainly be nice.
  18. A touchscreen. Just one person asked for this – this would add a lot if done right. Most of the gains would not be in reading though.
  19. Ability to manage Kindle collections on the PC. That would be a useful feature.
  20. Letters that don’t rub off. It would be nice if Kindle owners didn’t find the letters on their Kindle’s keyboards getting rubbed off. 
  21. Books that are already read being marked as such. Such a simple addition and it would add so much value.
  22. Better support for images in books.
  23. Download all ebooks to Kindle in one go. This would certainly be nice – except Amazon and AT&T would both have heart attacks.
  24. The ability to choose what music to play and the ability to organize music. Agreed. The current music controls are painful.
  25. Make the menus wrap-around so that pressing down at the bottom goes to the top-most item, and pressing up at the top goes to the bottom-most item.
  26. 1-click bookmark. If something simpler than Alt+B can be done that would be nice. Perhaps use Shift as the bookmark key.
  27. Option to reset ‘last page read’.
  28. Smaller Bezel. This is already too small for some people, so not sure if it’s a good idea.
  29. Buttons to feel more rubbery. Don’t even know what that means.
  30. More Graphic Battery Monitor. Agreed.
  31. Battery Indicator as a Percentage. This would do the trick too.
  32. Wireless headset. Lots of requests for this. Kindle 4 would have to have bluetooth added in.
  33. More Graphic Memory Monitor. Don’t know.
  34. Bigger battery that supports 2 corner reading lights. Don’t know about this one.
  35. Brightness settings for the reading light. A good idea – a dimmer would be nice.
  36. Replaceable battery and battery life monitor. The latter sounds too macabre – Your Battery has 27 days to live. Get the coffin ready. Buy a book of poems by Sylvia Plath.
  37. Ability to organize books by publication date. Very useful.
  38. Spill and Water Resistant. Interesting.
  39. Ability to specify the time period after which the Kindle screensaver will appear. A good suggestion.
  40. Discount on Kindle 4 for existing Kindle owners. This would be beautiful.
  41. Voice Commands. A very cool feature.
  42. Louder sound settings for those with hearing problems. Great suggestion. 
  43. On/off slider at the top instead of at the bottom. Wonder if there are any manufacturing benefits to having it at the bottom.

That’s a very impressive list of suggestions. It’s doubtful that any single person could have come up with a list half as good. You can find the Kindle 4 wishlist thread at Amazon – thank to Capt. D for starting it.

Here’s an interesting tip from Paxton -

you can directly select music now. Just add the MP3 to your documents folder instead of (or as well as) your Music folder. Then create a “Music Collection” to store them in. Then if you want to play songs one at a time, you can pick whichever one you want.

Will have to check that out. Note: It only plays one song at a time, and a song played this way doesn’t play in the background when reading.

My Kindle 4 wishlist

A Kindle Tablet that is Amazon’s equivalent of the Nook Color.

That’s it.

A hacked Nook Color with Kindle for Android is just too ghetto – It’s like someone did everything Steve Jobs asks his designers not to do. Kindle for Android just doesn’t cut it on Nook Color – the app needs to be built from the ground up as a reading tablet app.

The Nook Color’s default reading app is very good – However, it does keep losing your place in the book. More importantly, you don’t have your Kindle library.

If a Kindle Reading Tablet is not possible, then a flexible, foldable, ‘fits in your pocket’ Kindle 4 with handwriting recognition would be great. Color would be a nice bonus.

Kindle 4, color eInk eReader from Hanvon, free religious books

Let’s start with the free kindle books -

  1. Can I Be Sure I’m Saved by R. C. Sproul. Price: Free. Genre: Religious, Christian, Salvation. It hasn’t been reviewed yet – guess people who’ve found their salvation have little time for trivial things like writing reviews.

    Many people in the church today are plagued by doubts about their salvation. Satan whispers that it is impossible that sinners such as they could be in a state of grace, and some churches compound the problem by teaching that it is possible for believers to lose their salvation.

    But assurance of salvation is possible in this life. Indeed, as Dr. R.C. Sproul argues in this Crucial Questions booklet, it is the duty of Christians to make their calling sure (2 Peter 1:10). To help believers reach this goal, Dr. Sproul defines assurance, shows how we can get it, reveals the blessings it confers, and warns of the dangers of false assurance.

  2. A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman. Genre: Religious, Amish, Christmas. Rated 5 stars on 8 reviews.

    Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. As her time of rumschpringe is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness. She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer and Annie has several important choices to make.

It’s amusing and disconcerting that 2 free kindle books are now almost a disappointment – Where are the other 9 we were promised?

A Kindle Book Deal

Why is this $1 book showing up in free book searches? No idea.

It does, however, look very interesting – The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher. Be warned that it might turn into a free offer later.

Rae Wilder has problems. Plunged into a world of dark magic, fierce creatures and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet.

Rae finds herself beaten up, repeatedly, and forced to make a choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.

The First Color eInk eReader

It’s got a 9.68″ screen. A screen that is color eInk from the same company (PVI/eInk) that makes the Kindle 3′s eInk Pearl screen. It’ll be available in March 2011 in China – perhaps in the US too. It’ll be priced at $440.

This might be the first color eInk eReader. Of course, Amazon and Mirasol and Sony might spoil its debut between now and then.

New York Times has written a never-ending, rambling, article on the Hanvon Color eInk eReader - you have to wonder why Hanvon would announce 5 months in advance that it will be the first company to sell a color eInk eReader.

NY Times gets us all excited -

… on Tuesday at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo, a Chinese company will announce that it will be the first to sell a color display using technology from E Ink …

And then drops us back to Earth -

Hanvon’s first product using a 9.68-inch color touch screen will be available this March in China, starting at about $440.

Yes – wait till the 12th paragraph to let us know the trivial meaningless detail that it won’t arrive until March 2011.

We also get some eReader sales estimates from analysts -

Ms. Colegrove of DisplaySearch said these types of lower-cost products should continue to gain market share, growing from four million units sold worldwide in 2009 to 14 million units by 2011.

14 million units in 2011 – Aren’t eReaders dead?

All this talk of color eInk makes it a good time to wonder what screen Kindle 4 will have.

Kindle 4 – Mirasol or Pixel Qi or eInk?

If Hanvon is bringing color eInk to market you have to imagine Amazon can’t be too far behind. A $440 color eReader with a 9.86″ screen is a pretty credible threat to the Kindle DX 2. Additionally, Amazon would appear to be losing the eReader technology race.

Amazon needs a Kindle 4 with a color screen and it has 4 main options -

  1. Kindle Color like Nook Color that has a LCD screen. This is unlikely – Amazon is probably far more interested in a LCD powered Kindle Tablet and is unlikely to position that as a ‘dedicated eReader’.
  2. Pixel Qi with its multi-mode screen that uses LCD but has a black and white reflective mode. Notion Ink’s Adam is supposed to be the first tablet with the Pixel Qi screen. The reactions to it would determine how seriously Amazon and other large companies take Pixel Qi screens. Again, it’s likely that Amazon would use such a screen in a Kindle Tablet and not in Kindle 4.
  3. Mirasol is the most likely candidate. You have to imagine Amazon is sick and tired of the glacial rate at which eInk has been evolving its technology. Qualcomm also happens to be a much bigger and much more reliable company. If you had to choose a color ePaper technology for Kindle 4 – Would you go with Qualcomm or PVI/eInk?
  4. PVI/eInk has the advantage of being the incumbent and also being one of the few companies that have their ePaper screens being used in the real world. Amazon might go with color eInk from PVI. To the best of my understanding - Color eInk = eInk Pearl with a color layer over it.

Mirasol is the only option that’s exciting. The first 2 options are more suitable for an Android powered Kindle Tablet. PVI/eInk’s color eInk is not going to be as sharp or high contrast as eInk Pearl because it’s probably going to be the same screen with a color creating layer over it – which reduces reflectivity.

In terms of timing it’s quite conceivable that Amazon lets Hanvon bear the cost of validating the market and then steps in with a color Kindle 4 in mid to end 2011 if there seems to be strong demand. It’s a risky strategy but Amazon has enough branding, enough of a lead, and a strong-enough Kindle eco-system to bear the risk.

Kindle 4, Kindle Tablet musings, Kindle Book Deals

What’s next after the Kindle 3?

Depending on who you listen to it’s a Kindle Phone, a Kindle Tablet based on Android, a touchscreen Kindle 4, or a Mirasol powered color Kindle 4.

Before we jump into that lets look at some kindle book deals.

Kindle Book Deals

Some good Kindle Book Deals today -

  1. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Committment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. Price: $5.21. Genre: Marriage, Self-Help. Rated 4.5 stars on 800 reviews.

    Unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman. While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one.

  2. Maggie’s Mates by Bronwyn Green. Price: $2.99. Genre: Fantasy & Futuristic, Shapeshifter Romance, Romance. Recommended by the Royal Society for Promotion of Kindness to Human-Animal Hybrids. Rated 4 stars on 1 review.

    Having recently ended a bad relationship, Maggie Ryan returns to her hometown in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to discover things aren’t quite the way she remembers. Her childhood friends, Quinn and Lucas Makwa, are all grown up and keeping secrets. The shape-shifters want Maggie for their mate, but she’s not sure she wants to trust another man—let alone two that can shift into black bears at will.

  3. When Will There be Good News by Kate Atkinson. Price: $1.99. Genre: Mystery, Woman Sleuths. Rated 4 stars on 88 reviews.

    Starred Review. In Atkinson’s stellar third novel to feature ex-cop turned PI Jackson Brodie (after One Good Turn), unrelated characters and plot lines collide with momentous results.

    On a country road, six-year-old Joanna Mason is the only survivor of a knife attack that leaves her mother and two siblings dead. Thirty years later, after boarding the wrong train in Yorkshire, Brodie is almost killed when the train crashes.

    He’s saved by 16-year-old Regina Reggie Chase, the nanny of Dr. Joanna Hunter, née Mason. In the chaos following the crash, Brodie ends up with the wallet of Andrew Decker, the recently released man convicted of murdering the Mason family.

The first book is interesting because the whole concept of ‘different people valuing different things’ and ‘having different love languages’ can be extended to friendships and relationships in general.

The second is interesting because women seem to love men who turn into vampires and wolves and bears and God knows what else. My first romance novel will be about the lost prince of Russia (Anastasia’s brother) who gets bitten by a wolf, adopted by vampires, and learns to shapeshift into a Panda. And we aren’t talking about the Pandas found in zoos who are reluctant to procreate – We’re talking about a Panda like Charlie in Two and a Half Men. Wolf/Vampire/Panda-Charlie will then get exiled to the USA and can’t return home to reclaim his kingdom until he has found the one Kindle owning woman who can help him find his true destiny.

A free book you can’t read on Kindle

Why mention a book unreadable on the Kindle?

Because it’s free and quite interesting.

  1. The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce by Deirdre N. McCloskey. Have no idea why University of Chicago Press doesn’t make its offers available in the Kindle Store for free. You need software or a device capable of reading Adobe DRMed ePub to read this – it won’t work on Kindle.

    “Deirdre McCloskey’s unfashionable, contrarian, and compelling manifesto in favor of what she calls the bourgeois virtues starts with an uncompromising ‘apology’ for how private property, free labor, free trade, and prudent calculation are the font of most ethical good in modern society, not a moral threat to it.… She writes with wonderful ease. Her style is conversational and lively, sometimes even cheeky.”—Matt Ridley, Wall Street Journal

Much prefer the companies that offer a DRM free Kindle version or just release a free offer in the Kindle Store.

Anyways, that brings us to Kindle 4 musings from reporters – Yup, lest you get too excited.

Reporters exercise their imaginations and wonder about Kindle 4 and Kindle Tablets

Two brave reporters take a break from writing about how Nook Color is going to fail because it doesn’t have aircraft grade aluminium like the iPad and how eInk is terrible on the eyes because it’s in black and white to write about the Kindle’s future.

Jason Perlow writes about Kindle’s secret Android Tablet sibling. It’s quite an interesting article as Jason speculates that the rumored Amazon store is for a Kindle Tablet running on Android. It actually makes a ton of sense.

It has a music distribution service, Amazon MP3 that competes well with Apple’s iTunes, and has a Video-On-Demand service, Amazon Video.

So what’s the real missing part of the equation? Well, an App Store, for starters. But we already know that Amazon is building an App Store. 

He speculates that Amazon will build a Tablet and use Pixel Qi displays to create a ‘works in sunshine, works in the dark’ tablet.

I also think that it’s entirely possible that the device may even sport a dual-mode transflective LCD display, such as those being produced by Pixel Qi.

A lot of people have been expecting a Kindle Tablet and it makes a lot of sense. Amazon has every single part of the Kindle Tablet ecosystem except the Tablet itself.

Meanwhile, David Carnoy at CNet thinks Amazon will stick with eInk for Kindle 4. He also feels that the Kindle has reached its potential and there’s not that much more Amazon can do.

Actually, that’s a really surprising assumption but let’s move on to his other thoughts.

He feels that Kindle 4 will add a touch screen like the new Sony Readers and strip out the keyboard. He wonders about the price of Mirasol and Pixel Qi displays and thinks the high prices of color ePaper and multi-mode screens will make it impossible for Amazon to create and sell a low-priced, color screen Kindle 4.

There are two big assumptions there – Kindle 3 is close to the most you can do with a non-color eInk screen, Kindle Color would have to be priced pretty high due to high cost color ePaper displays. The first seems wrong while the second might have a lot of truth to it.

My money’s on a color Kindle 4 AND a Kindle Tablet arriving in 2011. Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi will probably be the budget eReaders and a color Kindle 4 at $239 and a Kindle Tablet at $299 will cater to the ‘read in color’ people and the LCD compatibles.

Kindle with motion feedback, cool Kindle patents

While the Kindle 3 has a lot of new, interesting additions like the Voice Guide, the eInk Pearl screen, and a microphone (which isn’t yet enabled) it seems Amazon has a lot more in store for the Kindle.

Kindle with Motion Feedback and other Kindle Patents

Important Note: These are mostly patents that have been applied for. Have no idea whether or not they have been granted. Also, even if granted, they might never be implemented.

Will only be listing the patent numbers and not links – except for the really interesting Kindle patents.

Kindle with Motion? Haptic feedback for Kindle

Perhaps the most interesting Kindle related patent application (Patent Application Number: 20100188327). Inventors are John T. Kim, Marcos Frid, Rajiv Ghanta, Joseph Hebenstreit.

It talks about providing haptic feedback (vibration, motion, force) to users faster than the eInk screen can show updates.

The most intriguing parts -

Different patterns, durations, and/or intensities of haptic feedback may be used in response to different events.

the display has a display update time greater than about 15 milliseconds, and wherein the haptic feedback device has a response time of at most about 15 milliseconds

This patent is a treasure trove -

  1. It covers vibration feedback, force feedback, and motion feedback. 
  2. Haptic feedback may be accompanied by audible feedback -

    in the case of highlighting a string of text, the electronic device may also play a sound representative of dragging a highlighter across a piece of paper, further enhancing the user experience

  3. It talks about all sorts of interesting things - the 5-way controller and buttons moving and shaking and providing resistance when you roll your finger over them.
  4. There are multiple types of haptic feedback (aka haptic signatures) - each has a duration, amplitude, and pattern. Here’s what a page turn would feel like -

    The page-turn haptic signature 408 is characterized by a vibration pattern of three cycles of moderate amplitude for each page turn request. The page-turn haptic signature 408 is designed to simulate the sensation of flipping pages of a physical book.

  5. User actions and system actions can both result in haptic feedback. So you could have the Kindle vibrate and give a short beep when a book finishes downloading.

It’s a really exciting patent and would perhaps go well with Kindle 4 or Kindle 5 though you have to wonder how they would implement it without it being overkill.

Consumption of Items via a User Device

Patent Number: 20080293450. Inventors: A lot of people including Michael Rykov and Thomas Ryan are listed. It’s not been approved (to the best of my understanding).

This Patent covers a book reader or other device that uses wireless or other communication to receive items that are consumed by users.

  1. Items covered include ebooks, subscriptions,  
  2. Interestingly, it covers the case that the item originated from another user and the case that it originated from a detachable memory module. 
  3. It’s a huge patent and covers a lot.  

Here’s the Kindle related patent in question.

If this is granted Amazon would own wireless delivery of books – pretty much every eReader or device that wants to provide wireless downloads of books would have to pay Amazon a licensing fee.

Kindle Lighted Cover and Fantastic Evolutions of It

Patent Application Number 20090309350 is hard to describe.

At one level it covers the Kindle Lighted Cover -

the flashing light from the light emitting device includes an LED that is coupled adjacent a cover of the book

the light emitting device and the audio device are coupled with the cover of the book

At another level its way beyond the lighted cover -

  1. It talks about using an input device, a light emitting device, an electromechanical device, and an audio device.
  2. It talks about providing audio and visual presentation in a book, calendar, or game.
  3. It talks about providing an audio-visual experience for a book reader.

It sounds a lot like a mechanical Vook. Here’s one snippet that makes one wonder -

if the word “cow” was announced in a song, a “cow” character may appear through the opening in the book. Alternately the specific characters on the disk may be specifically illuminated by the light emitting devices

Forget animations in books, Amazon wants to add mechanical cows that light up and moo while songs play in the background.

Let’s hope this patent is never implemented and it never falls into Steve Jobs’ hands. Imagine the magic he could weave with such a marvellous patent -

Our books come with cows made of aircraft grade aluminium and massaged by Japanese Reiki experts.

The lights flash at precisely the rate of R.E.M. as that is the artistically ideal way to read a book.

Your books now come with music – We have our new revolutionary Cochlear Sound that’s so accurate only dogs can hear all of it.

Kindle Patent to show only Highlighted portions instead of the whole Kindle Book

Patent Application Number: 20100235331. Inventor: Bert A. Silich. This might not be an Amazon patent.

Here are two interesting snippets -

As we read or study, we may highlight various blocks of text that we wish to remember. Then, on review (particularly when studying or referencing source material), one may elect to condense the highlighted information.

At first, the outline may have large amounts of information. But, as we repeatedly go through the text and become more familiar with the material, we are able to reduce the amount of data that we desire to review.

 Details on the Patent -

  1. It seems the patent is detailing a way to let users condense a textbook or book into highlights and notes.
  2. It mentions the Kindle as prior art.
  3. It talks about presenting the condensed information across devices and also visually and aurally.
  4. Lots of very interesting things mentioned – vertical page turning, SD cards.
  5. It really seems to be about textbooks and education.

If implemented well this could really help students.

Loading information specific to a Kindle owner – Helping with Kindle Updates

Patent Application Number: 20080222156. Inventors: Thomas A. Ryan, Gregg E. Zehr, Jason J. Marine.

This is a bit confusing as it uses ‘personalization’ rather liberally.

The gist seems to be -

As handheld electronic book reader devices become more popular and widely accepted, early adopters of these devices may upgrade to newer, more capable versions of these readers.

In some cases, customers who purchase a replacement may face the prospect of manually transferring content or information that they loaded into the previous device.

It talks about some interesting things including loading content on to a device as part of the ‘personalization’.

Will Amazon support automatic transfers of Kindle books in the future?

It should. If you move from Kindle 3 to Kindle 4 there’s no reason for you to have to re-download all your books.

Finally, we have something the Press is covering.

TechFlash finds an Amazon ‘Pay to Preview’ Patent

Eric Engleman at TechFlash has uncovered a rather unappealing patent that hopefully never makes it to the Kindle (or for that matter out of the cryochamber)  -

The patent, titled “Method and apparatus to facilitate online purchase of works using paid electronic preview” was granted Sept. 21. The original application dates back to July 2004.

Pay-to-preview. The Amazon patent describes a system of paying to electronically preview “one or more chapters, sections, pages, paragraphs, or sentences from a work” with variable fees based on the genre or publisher, or “consumers’ past viewing behavior or purchases.”

The main points seem to be -

  1. Pay to preview a part of a book.
  2. The preview fee can be applied towards the purchase of the full book.
  3. It could extend to magazines, newspapers, and more.
  4. Fees vary based on genre and Publisher.
  5. Fees also vary based on user’s past behavior.

It’s an interesting patent if viewed as a way to let people buy parts of a book and a very unappealing one if it’s actually meant to get people to pay for previews.

Thankfully, the earlier Kindle patents are much more promising. Kindle 4 and Kindle 5 might see some really interesting additions.

Kindle 4 – my Kindle 4 wishlist

The Kindle 3 is really good and it also helps highlight the amount of progress possible in a single eReader generation. Here is my Kindle 4 wishlist.

Kindle 4 – Features that would be really, really valuable

  1. Speech to Text, Voice Notes, and Voice Commands - Kindle 3 should have the microphone enabled and let users type out notes, do hands free reading, use voice commands, and add voice notes and voice memos.
  2. Communication Features for those who want them - A full-blown email client that works over WiFi and the option to use Skype and Google Chat over WiFi.
  3. Touch – It would be good to have touch support. It makes things faster when navigating through Menus and when highlighting and adding notes.
  4. Handwriting Recognition and Stylus support – Make the Kindle 4 an eReader plus eWriter by adding in support for writing with a stylus and support for handwriting recognition. Having scribbles on the book is all well and good but it’s far more usable if the Kindle 4 will convert those scribbles into text and create a small booklet of notes per book.
  5. A better keyboard – Row for number keys, better keys, and slightly better laid out keys. No one minds a Kindle that is half an inch longer or even an inch longer if it makes the keyboard infinitely more usable. It would also be good to have lots of keyboard shortcuts like making the space bar a page turn button when in landscape mode.
  6. Multi-level Folders, Tags, and Organization Features. Folders/Collections is a great addition. The next step in its evolution ought to be multi-level folders or some other way of allowing more organization. This would probably confuse lots of users so there would have to be a way to make it simple. Perhaps tags are a better solution than multi-level folders.
  7. A lot more hooks in the Kindle App Store API and in general. For App Store it would be good to see sound APIs, ability to do apps that can access the books on the Kindle 4, ability to override the font choice and custom screensavers. For Kindle 4 itself it would be good to get personalization of Menus and buttons and ability to add shortcuts.

Kindle 3 is a really, really solid release and Amazon can build on it to make Kindle 4 an equally impressive release.

Kindle 4 – Features that would be nice to have

  1. Sub $100 price – It would be great to see this. However, the $139 price of the Kindle WiFi is low enough and a Kindle 4 in the $139 to $189 price range would be fine.
  2. Support for Library Books and ePub – This would get a lot of people to switch over. The downside is that support for DRM protected ePub would mean Amazon’s Kindle book revenues could take a big hit. The latter possibility is pretty scary and don’t see Amazon opening up to epub any time soon.
  3. Unbreakable, flexible screens – Even hard to break screens are fine. Kindle 4 should consider using flexible eInk screens and case design that cushions impact (or routes it to a particular non-delicate part) to create a Kindle 4 that is much harder to break. This would be particularly useful when Kindle 4 is used by children.
  4. Color Screens – While some groups like students probably consider this a must have for most people color is a luxury when it comes to reading books. It would be nice to have color but not at the cost of readability or price so Kindle 4 doesn’t have to have it.
  5. Custom Screensavers - An app or feature that lets users choose what photos go into their screensaver. Also the option to have slideshows and different settings.
  6. Ability to add own fonts – Wouldn’t even mind paying to be able to choose a particular favorite font out of a choice of fonts.
  7. Option to require Password before purchase and other parental controls. Perhaps a ‘Child Mode’ that is started by using your password and that allows children to only read books in a particular folder and keeps them out of Kindle Store, browser, and other folders.
  8. Individual Clippings file of notes and highlights for each book. A giant list with words and word meanings that includes all words looked up in the dictionary.
  9. Full Unicode support and the option for users to choose/load their own font. Example: The Korean font wasn’t very good and if there had been an option for users to load their own fonts they could have chosen something better.
  10. Text to Speech in PDFs and better PDF support for highlighting and notes (currently it doesn’t work for some PDFs).
  11. A better home page. There should definitely be some improvements made to the home page – perhaps cover view, perhaps something else. If Kindle 4 has touch then it opens up a lot of possibilities.

Overall, the Kindle 3 has improved in 15 or more significant ways. It’s going to be difficult for Kindle 4 to make a similar jump – We can hope it does. If Kindle 4 is to Kindle 3 what the Kindle 3 is to the second generation of eReaders it’d be awesome.

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