Kindle DX 2 Review

The Kindle DX 2 is a very interesting eReader which occupies a very unique niche in the reading device market. Hopefully this Kindle DX 2 Review can paint you a good picture of the DX 2′s strengths, weaknesses, and unique status.

Kindle DX 2 Review – What makes it unique

Kindle DX 2 is the only large screen eReader (9.7″) available from the top 3 eReader brands (Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook). Since nearly every other eReader company is far behind the top 3 it’s perhaps your only choice if you want a top-notch large screen eReader.

The 9.7″ screen means you get 2.5 times the screen area you would from a 6″ Kindle 3 or 6″ Nook. It makes a pretty big difference with PDFs and newspapers and websites and is quite pleasurable even when reading. It also becomes your ideal eReader if you need or like rather large font size and still want lots of words on every page.

The other thing that makes it unique is the $379 price which is closer to the iPad than to eReaders. This balances out a lot of the positives and firmly cements it as an awkward caught-in-the-middle device. If the Kindle 3 and Nook are for people who love to read the Kindle DX 2 is for people who love to read and love it more than the next 5 things combined.

Kindle DX 2 Review - Top 3 Killer Features

The Kindle DX 2 really shines in some areas -

  1. eInk Pearl Screen – Electronic Ink is particularly suited to reading as it’s easy on the eyes, has great contrast, and only uses energy when refreshing the page. eInk Pearl is the latest generation eInk and it has 50% better screen contrast than the previous generation. It’s basically very close to print on paper and great for reading.
  2. Large Screen Size – The Kindle DX 2 has a large 9.7″ screen that makes it great if you want a lot of words per page or a larger font size or want to read newspapers and PDFs and magazines and websites that are all better suited to a larger screen. Plus you can put DX 2 in landscape mode for even better viewing of PDFs and websites. The screen size is 2.5 times the screen size of a 6″ eReader and a big plus. 
  3. Pairing with Amazon Kindle Store and Whispernet – Since the Kindle Store has a lot more newspapers and magazines and blogs than Sony’s Reader Store or the Nook Store it goes particularly well with the Kindle DX 2. Kindle DX 2′s large screen is great for reading websites so it’s fortuitous that Amazon has WhisperNet and offers free Internet browsing to US Kindle DX 2 owners and also to DX 2 owners in some other countries. The Kindle Store also has the best range of books and some of the lowest prices on non Agency Model books.

These are the 3 main super killer features that set DX 2 apart. There are a lot of opportunities for Amazon to add to this list - opportunities it hasn’t yet taken advantage of.

Killer Features Amazon could and should add to Kindle DX 2

There are 4 promising possibilities for the future and hopefully Amazon adds these so we can have a longer list of super killer Kindle DX 2 features -

  1. Potentially all of the Kindle 3 software improvements - Kindle DX 2 would add quite a few killer features if it got Kindle 3′s software improvements which include a new WebKit Browser (that would go superbly with the DX 2′s large screen), better PDF support, Voice Guide for full accessibility, tweaks for sharper fonts, 3 font choices, faster page turns, and lots of other smaller improvements.    
  2. Full-fledged PDF support – Kindle 3 added contrast settings and the ability to add notes and highlights to PDFs but it didn’t do a complete job. Kindle DX 2, due to its screen size, is particularly well suited for PDF reading and Amazon needs to add reflow support, proper highlighting, and various other features that would make DX 2 a full-fledged PDF reader.   
  3. $250 Price – Amazon could eat up the entire large screen eReader market if it can hit a lower price point. A price between $200 and $250 would be perfect.  
  4. Kindle Apps focused on (or suited for) Kindle DX 2 via Kindle App Store – The larger screen and wireless capability make RSS readers, Email Clients, and Read It Later type apps a big potential draw. The lack of WiFi is a handicap here but there are still a lot of possibilities.

Basically, the Kindle DX 2 is a very good eReader that has a lot of potential and room to grow. The Kindle 3 software improvements are quite likely to make it to DX 2. If the Kindle App Store takes off some valuable apps will make it to the DX 2. The other two will take more time – the PDF support might evolve to the point that the DX 2 can function as a full-fledged PDF reader but it might take 9 to 12 months, Kindle DX 2 pricing will probably hit $250 but not in the next 6 months.

There are also two potential killer features Amazon should consider for Kindle DX 3 -

  1. Writing Support – Sony 350 has shown that touch can be added to eReaders without compromising readability and it’s time the Kindle DX line added writing support.  
  2. WiFi Support – WiFi opens up a lot of possibilities and would also let Amazon cut down on price i.e. they could sell a cheaper Kindle DX WiFi.

There’s no way these could get added to Kindle DX 2 so please don’t factor these in when evaluating the DX 2.

Kindle DX 2 Review – Top 5 Weaknesses

The DX 2 has some significant weaknesses -

  1. It’s too expensive. $379 is a lot to pay for an eReader – even one that has a huge 9.7″ screen.  
  2. It doesn’t have the software improvements that Kindle 3 has – There are lots and lots of great improvements missing including faster page turns, voice guide, additional PDF features, and the WebKit Browser. This is a particularly surprising omission given that Kindle DX 2 is ideally suited for PDFs and better suited for web browsing.
  3. It’s too big and a bit heavy. It’s hard to carry and pack and one-handed reading is out of the question. It’s 10.4″ by 7.2″ by 0.38″ and weighs 18.9 ounces.
  4. No support for ePub or library books.
  5. It doesn’t play to its strengths. PDF support isn’t good enough to make it a solid PDF reader. There’s no writing support to make it ideal for students. The browser isn’t very good and prevents it from being great for web browsing. Basically, it misses out on being great at some things it is particularly well suited for.

Those are the biggest reading specific weaknesses. The next section will look at big weaknesses unrelated to reading and smaller reading related weaknesses.

Additional Kindle DX 2 Weaknesses

  1. It’s only great for reading. If you want a do-everything device or even a do-10-things device the DX 2 isn’t right for you.
  2. It doesn’t have touch.
  3. It doesn’t have a color screen.
  4. The page turns/refreshes take a bit of time. Around 0.9 to 1.1 seconds though those are rough measurements.
  5. It gets tiring to hold it for longer than 5-10 minutes – Ideally you want to be using both hands and even that can get tiring after a while and then you need something to rest it against.
  6. Not having all the software improvements added in Kindle 3 means a whole host of small negatives – no WebKit browser, no Voice Guide, and so forth.
  7. It doesn’t have WiFi.
  8. It’s only available in Graphite. Some people find that a white case is easier to read on (personally, don’t find a difference) and some have mentioned the case getting hot when it’s very hot outside.
  9. You’re locked into the Kindle Store as DRMed books from other stores don’t work. So your only options are the Kindle Store and stores that sell DRM-free books.

The list might be missing some weaknesses but suffice to say Kindle DX 2 isn’t perfect.

Kindle DX 2 Review – Additional Strengths

Here are some more Kindle DX 2 benefits -

  1. It’s focused on reading. It doesn’t compromise on the reading experience and that’s a big win.  
  2. It’s very easy to use with close to zero learning curve plus you don’t need a computer to use it. 
  3. It’s readable in direct sunlight. The eInk Pearl screen is also pretty readable in early evening type lighting conditions. You definitely need a reading light in the late evening and at night. A Kindle Lighted Cover for DX 2 would be perfect – Hopefully, Amazon makes one.
  4. There are no distractions – You can use the slow browser and that’s pretty much it. This advantage might disappear once the Kindle App Store opens.  
  5. Kindle DX 2 has really good battery life - 2 weeks with the 3G off and 1 week with the 3G on.
  6. You can start reading your book on DX 2 and continue on your phone (if it’s Blackberry, Android, or iPhone), then continue on your PC at work, and come back home and finish on the DX 2. Your position in the book, your notes, and your highlights are all saved and carried over.
  7. Free Store Browsing and books in 60 seconds.
  8. Text to Speech feature that reads your documents and books to you. Publishers sometimes turn this off.
  9. Accelerometer for auto-rotation of the screen which is more annoying than useful. You can set orientation manually and lock it.
  10. Wireless coverage in 100+ countries. Browse the Kindle Store for free in all these countries. For US Kindle DX 2 owners free Internet in all these countries.  
  11. It has 4 GB memory which is quite good.
  12. The Graphite case helps bring out the screen contrast of the eInk Pearl Screen better.

Kindle DX 2 definitely delivers all the advantages of the Kindle ecosystem – a focus on reading, strong infrastructure, great store, free Internet, 60 second downloads, and constant evolution and improvement.

Kindle DX 2 Review – A very good, work-in-progress eReader

The Kindle DX 2 is a very good eReader with some killer features and also some significant weaknesses.

  1. If you want a large screen dedicated eReader it’s the only option and a very good one.
  2. If you want a device for textbooks or PDFs or newspapers or reading websites it’s a decent option but needs some solid work from Amazon to become a very good option.
  3. If you want a dedicated eReader primarily for reading books the Kindle 3 might be a better option.
  4. If you want a device that does more than just read or perhaps one whose specialization is something other than reading then DX 2 is definitely not the right choice.

Do take a look at the Kindle DX 2 Video page and the Kindle DX 2 Photo page to get a better feel of what you’d get for your money. The Kindle DX 2 videos and photos include size and screen comparisons with Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader.

The Kindle DX 2 is a few features and a price cut away from being the perfect large screen eReader. Given Amazon’s history it’s likely to reach there in 4-10 months and if you have a strong need for a large screen eReader you can get a Kindle DX 2 and be reasonably confident that Amazon will keep improving the DX 2 and the Kindle Store.

Kindle DX 2 thoughts + free book

First, the free kindle book -

  1. Sheltering Hearts by Robyn Carr. Apparently, it’s written as a sort of introduction to some charity and talks about the life of the founder. 1 1 star review and 1 5 star review.

    New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr takes readers back to her beloved Virgin River country in this heartwarming tribute to Rhonda Clemons, founder of Zoë Institute and a winner of a Harlequin More Than Words award.

Next, here are some thoughts on the Kindle DX 2 collated in the process of playing with it to prepare for a full Kindle DX 2 Review.

Kindle DX 2 – Very Good and Very Caught in the Middle

There are a lot of good things about the Kindle DX 2 – the eInk Pearl screen, the large screen size, the mostly good PDF support, the thinness.

There are also a few negatives – the price, the awkwardness (it’s just a little too big), the fact that it hasn’t got all the software features the Kindle 3 has, it being quite close in price to multi-purpose tablets like the iPad.

There are two definites – Kindle DX 2 is a very good large screen eReader, it’s firmly caught in between the $189 Kindle 3 and the $499 iPad. The latter (it being stuck in a sort of no man’s land) gets in the way and Amazon really needs to find a way to cut the price down to around $250.

Kindle DX 2 – The benefits and disadvantages of size

The size adds a lot – you get more words per page, PDFs look great and even better in landscape mode, newspaper are better, you have to turn the page less often, the browser displays webpages better due to there being more size.

The screen size is 2.5 times the screen size of the Kindle 3 and Kindle 2 and it make a big difference.

The size also adds a lot of problems – one-handed reading becomes nearly impossible unless you rest it against something, two-handed reading can also tend to get tiring, carrying it and holding it are both slightly awkward, the larger size makes it hard to pack and hard to fit into bags and purses.

Overall, the Kindle DX 2 is a very good eReader at the wrong price. Perhaps in the course of writing out a full review my feelings will change.

Kindle DX WiFi arriving? Kindle DX 2 sold out

The Kindle 3 has made a lot of people wonder about the Kindle DX 2. 

DX 2 doesn’t have WiFi and it’s missing a lot of the cool software additions that Kindle 3 has. The logical conclusion would be that sometime this year we’ll see a Kindle DX WiFi and a firmware update for Kindle DX 2 that adds the missing features (with the exception of WiFi).

Well, things got really interesting on August 23rd because the Kindle DX 2 got sold out. Currently, it’s ‘expected to ship in 2 to 3 weeks’. Thanks to a commenter at MobileRead for pointing this out.

Did the Kindle DX 2 really sell out?

Here’s what the Kindle DX 2 has going for it -

  1. Large 9.7″ eInk Pearl screen.
  2. $379 price that is $110 cheaper than the price the Kindle DX was selling for.
  3. Graphite casing.

Here’s what the Kindle DX 2 doesn’t have going for it -

  1. Kindle WiFi that is just $139, has the same eInk Pearl screen (although in a 6″ screen size), and has lots of additional features including a WebKit browser and better PDF support (Kindle 3 has these improvements too). 
  2. Kindle 3 that is $189, has 3G plus WiFi, and loads of improvements the Kindle DX 2 doesn’t have like battery life of up to a month, 20% faster page turns, and 3 new fonts (Kindle WiFi has these too). 
  3. The ridiculous amount of buzz that Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi have.

It’s a little bit of a stretch to believe that the Kindle DX 2 is sold out for 2 to 3 weeks when the Kindle WiFi is available for $139 – You could buy 2.7 Kindle WiFis in the price of a DX 2.

My money’s definitely on the ’2-3 week delay’ being due to something other than the Kindle DX 2 being sold out.

Could it be issues producing the 9.7″ eInk Pearl screens?

It’s quite possible that the Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi are selling so well that eInk/PVI has been forced to channel all its eInk Pearl production facilities to 6″ screens. Again, a commenter at MobileRead pointed this out and it’s quite probable. Definitely likelier than the DX 2 selling out.

This becomes even likelier if you consider that Nook 2 and Sony 650 are probably going to need 6″ eInk pearl screens too. The yield rates for a screen like the DX 2 screen that is 2.5 times the screen area are generally much lower so PVI/eInk probably feels it can make a lot more 6″ eInk Pearl screens by channeling capacity from 9.7″ screens to 6″ screens. Perhaps demand for 6″ screens due to Kindle 3, Nook 2, and Sony 650 is so high it’s forcing PVI to delay Kindle DX 2 screen production.

Note that Nook 2 and Sony 650 aren’t selling yet but if they are set to release in September PVI has to ship screens out for them right now.

Could it be a new Kindle DX WiFi?

This is a tough question to answer -

  • On the one hand the release of the Kindle WiFi strongly suggests that Amazon has a Kindle DX WiFi set for release. 
  • On the other hand the Kindle DX 2 was released just a couple of months ago and it didn’t have WiFi. Would Amazon ship a Kindle DX 2 with just 3G and then a few months later ship a Kindle DX WiFi?

While it is possible that there is a new Kindle DX WiFi set for release it doesn’t seem that likely.

Could it be Kindle DX 3 with WiFi and 3G?

This is super unlikely. It would be madness to release a Kindle DX 3 with 3G and WiFi a couple of months after a Kindle DX 2 and we can pretty much rule this out.

You have to wonder whether Amazon might go ahead and release a Kindle DX WiFi that is purely WiFi. Lots of people don’t get AT&T wireless reception or have WiFi at home or want a cheaper Kindle DX - a DX WiFi would meet their needs perfectly.

It could probably come in at $250 to $300 and ignite DX sales.

Could Amazon simply be adding new features to Kindle DX 2?

Perhaps Amazon decided to add a lot of the software features in the Kindle 3 to new Kindle DX 2s. Yes, it can do this through wireless updates – However, consider the cost and the complexity. The Kindle 2.5 upgrade was a nightmare and Amazon might have decided to hold back new Kindle DX 2s and send them out with whatever upgrade they’re planning for the DX 2.

This possibility (that Amazon is waiting for a DX 2 upgrade to be ready) and the possibility that eInk/PVI is running into DX 2 screen production issues are the two likeliest possibilities.

Of course, given its Amazon it’s probably going to be a Kindle DX WiFi that comes in at $250 and helps Amazon dominate the large screen eReader market totally. Perhaps Amazon has decided it’s not enough that the Kindle 3 has saved the eReader market from the iPad – It also wants to make sure the iPad doesn’t kill off the large screen eReader market.

Does a $599 eReader have a chance?

In a world where the Kindle 3 is $189 and the Kindle WiFi is $139 you have to wonder whether higher priced eReaders have any chance. Now there’s news Asus has an 8″ eReader slated for an October release for the price of $599.

That’s not a mistake – It’s $599 for an 8″ TFT-LCD screen that has 64 shades of gray but isn’t as good as eInk for reading. It also doesn’t have a backlight. So it manages to take the worst qualities of LCDs (unsuitability for reading) and eInk (no color, no backlight) and combine them into one package. Just the sort of thing you’d expect people to pay $599 for.

The $599 Asus eReader - reactions to the price 

We have Digitimes reporting on it -

Asustek Computer will launch an e-book reader with an 8-inch 64-grayscale TFT-LCD screen without backlight for own-brand sale at below US$599 in October 2010 …

… LCD panel of Asustek’s e-book reader is provided by Chimei Innolux (CMI), which makes it with a special process to improve reflection …

DigiTimes can’t resist pointing out that the $599 Asus eReader might not have much of a shot -

While the LCD panel offers fast response time, it is still no match for e-paper in terms of contrast ratio and reflective performance, Kuo added.

Kuo commented that Asustek is facing a difficult fight as it currently has no content support for its e-book reader and the price is much higher than the US$100-200 for current mainstream e-book readers.

CrunchGear is as surprised at the $599 price as any reasonable human being would be -

$600? For a grayscale e-reader? Nuts to that. Hopefully this isn’t Asus’s answer to the iPad or even the Kindle DX. Either that or something was lost in translation and the price is supposed to be more like $199.

When even the Press, who are usually eager to label any new eReader the Kindle-killer, don’t think you have a shot then you’ve really messed up.

Kindle vs Asus becomes a joke

When there were rumors of an eReader from Asus the Press had mentioned a 2010 release and a $150 price point (though to be fair that might have been for the smaller model).

We’ve looked at Kindle DX vs Asus 950 and Kindle vs Asus (color Asus 570) and this new Asus model sounds nothing like either of them. Given that it does support handwriting (one of the images shows a stylus and something scribbled) it seems this might be in the same family as the Asus 950. The Asus 570 had a color OLED display (which instantly makes you question whether it was an eReader or a mini-Tablet) and was supposed to arrive by the end of 2010. The Asus 950 had a 9″ touchscreen with handwriting recognition and built-in translation.

The main reason Asus got a lot of press for their Asus Reader was their claim that they would bring a $150 device to market. At that time both Kindle 2 and Nook were at $259. 

The 8″ Asus Reader now being discussed is rather disappointing and its price is absolutely ridiculous.

$599 = 3 Kindle 3s. $599 = 4.3 Kindle WiFis. $599 = 1.58 Kindle DX 2s.

At what Price can 8″, 9″, and 10″ eReaders thrive?

The reactions to Asus’ $599 price and the complaints about the $379 Kindle DX 2 (even at $220 less than the Asus lots of people consider it expensive) highlight the problem large screen eReaders face.

Firstly, you are competing against 6″ eReaders which are priced between $139 (Kindle WiFi) and $199 (Nook for $199, Kindle 3 for $189). These smaller eReaders have hit economies of scale which larger eReaders haven’t and thus it becomes even more difficult to meet the expectations they set.

Secondly, you have the multi-purpose tablets that provide a ‘good enough’ reading experience and seem like much better value for money. When the $379 Kindle DX 2 has to fight a bitter value perception battle against the $499 iPad how is the $599 Asus Reader going to survive?

My feeling is that around $250 to $279 is not bad and once we hit $250 the larger screen eReaders will really take off. There are lots of things they are suited for - business documents, PDFs, newspapers, and such. It’s just that the larger screens and the larger eReaders haven’t hit economies of scale so it’s really difficult for a 9.7″ Kindle DX 2 or any larger screen eReader to hit prices like $250.

How long before we see $200 and $250 large screen eReaders?

It’s a tough question.

Asus is pricing its 8″ eReader at $599, Entourage has its dual screen eReader at $499, and Plastic Logic was thinking about $649 before it decided to re-think its strategy. Everyone except Amazon seems to be struggling mightily with large screen eReaders. B&N and Sony don’t even have a large screen eReader – though you’d think their experience and contacts would allow them to create a cheap large screen eReader if they were interested.

It leaves us with only 3 companies that have a good shot at creating a cheap, good large screen eReader – Amazon (Kindle), B&N (Nook), and Sony (Sony Reader). Of these, only Amazon has any experience of actually making one.

If Amazon can create a $139 Kindle WiFi why not create a $249 Kindle DX WiFi?

Amazon has managed to come down from $489 to $379. However, it would need something from B&N or Sony Reader to fire it up and motivate it to really cut costs.

Consider what happened with Kindle – We had the Kindle 2 at $279 until the Nook was released and in the 8 months since then we have seen the Kindle drop from $279 to the $189 price of the Kindle 3. We’ve also seen a $139 Kindle WiFi.

If no one challenges the Kindle DX it might be 2012 before we see a large screen eReader at $200. If, on the other hand, a Nook DX or a 9″ Sony Reader shows up this year then by mid to end 2011 we will have large screen eReaders at $200.

What is a large screen eReader worth? Is it needed?

What do you think?

  1. At what price point does a 9″ or 10″ eReader seem attractive to you? What price is good value for money? 
  2. What is the ideal eReader size for you – 6″ or 9″ or something else?  
  3. Do you think Asus has a chance at $599?  
  4. Would you pay a premium for handwriting recognition?
  5. Would you keep and use both a 6″ and a 9″ eReader?

It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts.

The new Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi have set such a high bar with respect to value for money that nearly every other eReader company is going to struggle mightily. You have to wonder whether Amazon is losing money on the Kindle 3 and if so how many other companies can compete.

Kindle DX 2 feature-set is very puzzling

Now that the Kindle 3 is available with all its improvements the Kindle DX 2 suddenly looks strangely out-of-place. You have to wonder why Amazon would release it at the time it did (very early July) and with the feature-set it did (only 3 big improvements – eInk Pearl screen, graphite casing, lower price).

Just finished a rough Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 comparison and the part that was totally inexplicable was that a lot of Kindle 3 improvements didn’t make it to Kindle DX 2.

Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2 feature-sets are too far apart for products released 2 months apart

Let’s start with the Kindle 3 hardware improvements and what might be hardware related -

  1. WiFi. Why doesn’t the Kindle DX 2 have WiFi?  
  2. Up to 1 month of battery life on the Kindle 3. For DX 2 this is 2 to 3 weeks. With wireless on it’s 10 days versus 7 days.
  3. 20% faster page turns due to some sort of tuning.  
  4. Improved screen contrast (over what the eInk Pearl screen brings) due to tweaks and tuning.
  5. New quieter page turn buttons. Re-arranged buttons.

Most, if not all, of these are improvements Amazon must have figured out a long time ago.

Why produce the Kindle DX 2 without these? 

Take the WiFi and the quieter page turn buttons – For people who don’t get AT&T reception or those who read a lot in bed these are a big deal. Yet, for some strange reason, the DX 2 doesn’t have them.

Things get even stranger when we look at Kindle 3 software improvements

Perhaps we can explain away some of the hardware improvements. However, how do we explain this long list of software improvements that are missing from Kindle DX 2 -

  1. Choice of 3 Fonts.
  2. CJK Font Support, Cyrillic Font Support.  
  3. Better PDF support. 
  4. New WebKit Browser. 
  5. More words per page. By removing the top bar and moving the progress bar to the very bottom of the screen (thanks to Atom for noticing that).
  6. Voice Guide and hence full accessibility.
  7. Lots of smaller improvements – View Downloads Progress, Set Time Manually, Better Progress Bar inside books.

Note that the faster page turns, screen contrast improvements, and battery life may be software based too. There’s no way all these software improvements were done in just 2 months. That must mean a conscious decision to introduce them in Kindle 3 first – Why?

The saving grace is that Amazon could add these to the Kindle DX 2 fairly quickly. Adding all these improvements to Kindle DX 2 really is the right thing to do. DX 2 owners paid more than double what Kindle 3 owners will be paying.

Is Kindle DX 3 on the way? Why is Amazon behaving as if Kindle DX 2 is the less expensive Kindle?

When the Kindle DX first arrived there was little doubt it was the higher end Kindle – It was expensive, it had a larger screen, it had PDF support, it had an accelerometer, it had screen rotation. You paid the $489 premium and received things that the Kindle didn’t have.

When the Nook arrived with PDF support Amazon was forced to add PDF support to the Kindle and cuts its price. However, nothing was added to the Kindle DX 2 to compensate and its price wasn’t cut either.

Now things are even more extreme – the Kindle DX 2 is double the price of the Kindle 3 and has less than half the improvements. You saw the list above – It’s almost as if Amazon is trying to see how low they can take the DX 2 on value for money (especially when compared with Kindle WiFi). 

 Where’s the DX 2 value proposition? Is there a new Kindle DX WiFi? A Kindle DX 3?

There are a few possible reasons why the DX 2 has been left behind -

  1. Amazon plans on adding software upgrades to Kindle DX 2 a few months after Kindle 3 is out – that would certainly reduce the value gap between Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2.  
  2. There’s a new, cheap Kindle DX WiFi in the works – perhaps for around $250. At that time software improvements added in Kindle DX WiFi will be added to Kindle DX 2.  
  3. Kindle DX 2 is just a lower priority. Perhaps the market for large screen, expensive eReaders just isn’t that big. Kindles have always sold a lot more than Kindle DXes and perhaps that’s continuing.
  4. Amazon hasn’t achieved economies of scale. A screen with 2.5 times the surface area is going to be much more expensive to produce (higher chance of defects). If the numbers are low then you can’t really scale up and everything from the screen to the body to the chips cost more.
  5. Amazon might be consciously positioning the Kindle DX 2 as the high-end eReader. Perhaps the higher price is a filter.
  6. Perhaps Amazon sees the DX 2 as an education eReader and wants to keep it at that price to account for later additions like touch screens and color.  
  7. Amazon wants a device that competes with the iPad as a large screen eReader. They don’t want to cut the price too much. They might want to kill off the Kindle vs iPad comparisons but keep the Kindle DX vs iPad comparisons.

The likeliest possibility is that Amazon hasn’t hit economies of scale and that the software upgrades will be added a few months after Kindle 3 is released. Perhaps Amazon feels that it needs to ‘save up’ all these improvements for Kindle 3 so that the Kindle 3 seems truly extraordinary with a bunch of improvements no other eReader has.

Amazon is free to play whatever positioning games it wants to play - Let’s just hope it gets all the Kindle 3 software features it can into Kindle DX 2 a month or two after Kindle 3 ships.

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