Kindle 3 Expectations – What Readers expect

The Kindle is still sold out and people are still speculating on what it means.

Consensus amongst the main-stream Press seems to be that Amazon didn’t anticipate demand for the $189 Kindle and sold out all its stock. One article even claims Nook and Sony are laughing at the Kindle shortage – Guess the summer is the worst possible time to run out of stock. It would have been far less damaging to run out of stock during Christmas when everyone is buying gifts and … wait a minute.

Consensus (hope?) amongst Kindle owners seems to be that the Kindle 2’s disappearance means the Kindle 3 is about to arrive.

What are people’s Kindle 3 expectations?

Ran into this comment at the official kindle forum about what a user expects the Kindle 3 will be like (courtesy T. Semple) –

I have pretty low expectations for K3: basically just the Pearl screen (and dark enclosure) is the only new feature I really expect, and that is probably not enough to entice me. So I’m ready to be surprised…

You know what – It’s hard to disagree. Kindle DX 2 had the screen and the graphite casing and that was pretty much it. Don’t get me wrong – It’s a hugely impressive screen. However, there’s nothing else. There’s not much reason to think Kindle 3 is going to arrive with extra features on top of that. It’s been a month since the Kindle DX 2 came out so perhaps we might get 1 or 2 software tweaks or perhaps a microphone that lets you take notes via speech to text.

Well, let’s go through some more people’s Kindle 3 expectations and then draw up a realistic list of what might be in Kindle 3.

Optimistic Kindle 3 Expectations

Let’s start with some wishful thinking (courtesy BareThoughts, and me) – A Kindle with a Qualcomm Mirasol screen. This is actually fairly unlikely. Qualcomm has said their screens will be ready and arrive in devices by end 2010 to early 2011 which in ePaper technology parlance means end 2011.

There aren’t really very many people with high expectations. Kindle DX 2 has pretty much set the expectation that we will have an incremental Kindle 3 release – a new Kindle that differs from Kindle 2 only in screen contrast and color of the casing. 

Pessimistic/Realistic Kindle 3 Expectations

 S. Dunham pretty much captures the general sentiment –

I don’t think we’ll be getting a K3. I think it’s just going to be a K2 Graphite. When the rumors of a new Kindle coming August started, it did talk about a thinner Kindle and better contrast but no other new features. Not even WiFi was mentioned.

Given what the Kindle DX 2 is like it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Kindle 3 was indeed a graphite Kindle 2.

There are even a couple of people who feel it might just be an out of stock event –

Amazon’s either keeping this secret really well, or they’re just out of stock and there’s no secret to keep.

Well, so it seems Kindle 3 expectations are generally very low and given the massive Kindle 2.5 upgrade it’s hard to imagine Amazon would have been able to add-on much. Perhaps we’ll see Amazon take a few more months and release a Kindle 3 at the end of the year.

Most Probable List of Features for Kindle 3

For an August Kindle 3 release it’s really hard to say. The list would probably include –

  1. A graphite case (since it’s an easy way to improve readability and it’s already been done for Kindle DX 2).
  2. The eInk Pearl screen.
  3. Two software improvements – My money would be on some speed improvements and perhaps another experimental feature.  
  4. 1 or 2 hardware improvements – Perhaps speech to text and perhaps an SD card slot.
  5. Kindle 3 might come in at a $200 price. This is assuming the eInk Pearl screen is cheaper and that’s not a given.

There’s also a borderline chance we get some news on the Kindle App Store. There isn’t yet open entry to the App Store Beta so it’s hard to say if Amazon is ready to launch or if it’s still experimenting.

If Kindle 3 doesn’t arrive soon then it’ll probably arrive in time for Christmas and come with –

  1. eInk Pearl Screen. For now let’s assume Qualcomm Mirasol screen Kindles won’t be here till 2011 – That way there’s no disappointment.  
  2. Definitely a few software features – Expect something of the scale of the Kindle 2.5 upgrade with perhaps better PDF support and other improvements. Hopefully we don’t get too much social stuff unless it’s Kindle to Kindle.  
  3. Definitely hardware improvements. It might make sense for Amazon to go with a 7″ screen for Kindle 3.  
  4. Perhaps a touchscreen and stylus.
  5. Definitely the Kindle App Store. Don’t see why Amazon wouldn’t release it this year – especially as it would give Amazon a big advantage for Christmas. 
  6. The price would be less and would probably be around $170 to $190.
  7. There’s a chance we get some feature that we haven’t yet thought of.

There are additional things Amazon has mentioned that might make it in this year – accessible menus and a better browser. However, you have to think those are lower priorities and not as likely as PDF and speed improvements.

WiFi is a possibility if the Nook WiFi ends up selling well. It’s really hard to figure out what Amazon has planned for Kindle 3 and the Kindle App Store and the rest of the year. There will obviously be changes based on what happens with Nook 2 and iPad 2 – The one certainty for Kindle 3 seems to be the new eInk Pearl screen and that’s a good thing.


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