$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?


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.

$99 Kindle might be on the way

The Kindle might get a new bare-bones family member – a new $99 Kindle. Supposedly, by summer 2011.

The rumor/scoop is being discussed at the official kindle forum and there are a few things that instantly spring to mind –

  1. Shouldn’t the Kindle WiFi go down from $139 to $99 by mid 2011 anyways. It will have been 9 to 10 months since launch – economies of scale will surely kick in by summer 2011.
  2. If a Kindle without WiFi were made, and perhaps a few things like the microphone and speaker were left out, it might be quite possible to get it to $99. It might be possible to release a bare-bones $99 Kindle even right now.
  3. A $99 Kindle would sell like crazy.
  4. Amazon might be saving up its $99 Kindle for when the Nook 2 releases.
  5. Could B&N beat Amazon to the punch?

A $99 Kindle would be a very big deal. If Amazon can sell millions of Kindles on the strength of the $139 Kindle WiFi and the $189 Kindle 3, it’s likely to sell 5 million or more $99 Kindles in 2011. Perhaps it could even sell 10 million.

What competitors might a $99 Kindle face?

The Nook Color and the iPad 2 aren’t in the same price-bracket. What we might see is the Nook 2 WiFi (possibly at $99 or $129$) and a few cheap Android Tablets. There is the possibility of Samsung cutting the price on its eReaders and a few new low-priced eReaders will also probably arrive.

However, that’s really not much competition.

Amazon can undercut its competitors on price because it can factor in earnings from future ebook sales, it can sell a lot of Kindles from Amazon.com and not have to share a cut with retailers, and it doesn’t have to spend as much on marketing and promotions.

A $99 Kindle might not have very many competitors.

Will the $99 Kindle really arrive by summer?

Firstly, Amazon was able to launch a $139 Kindle WiFi in August 2010. It’s 6 months since then. The cost for various components, especially the display and memory, should have gone down by now.

Secondly, Amazon has probably sold a few million Kindle WiFis by now. The economies of scale must have kicked in already.

Thirdly, chip makers are making System on a Chip designs for eReaders which will help cut down price.

Fourthly, a new iPad 2 is around the corner and a Nook 2 might be on the way too. Amazon has to compete and price is one of its main weapons.

Fifthly, there are lots of low-priced competitors like new ‘eReaders’ from PanDigital and Tablets based on Android.

All signs point to a $99 Kindle arriving soon. A $99 Kindle should be here by Summer or Fall of 2011. There really is no reason for Amazon to not go for the kill – Everything’s lined up perfectly.