Kindle 3 shipping date is today, Aug 25th

The Kindle 3 will be shipped out today. It seems that today, August 25th, is the new Kindle 3 shipping date. 

This is great as it probably ought to mean we get Kindle 3 before the weekend. Amazon has a press release touting how well Kindle 3 is selling -

  1. It’s the fastest selling Kindle ever. 

Actually, that’s the only interesting data point in the entire Press Release. Notice how it reveals nothing concrete since no one knows how many Kindles have sold in the past.

There are 50 different sentences to convey that one solitary fact. The good part is Amazon ships out Kindle 3 early enough to get it into most people’s hands in time for the weekend and that’s appreciated.

Find out more about the Kindle 3

If the fact that it’s sold more than previous Kindles despite the perceived threat of the Pretend-eReader impresses you please feel free to take a look at -

  1. A detailed Kindle 3 Review
  2. Kindle 3 Review Videos Page. 
  3. Kindle 3 Photo Pages List.

Now, let’s turn back to the Press Release because it seems a bit superfluous until you dissect all the things it’s doing.

Why the ‘Kindle 3 is best selling Kindle ever’ Press Release makes some amount of sense

Amazon has realized it’s mostly fighting a perception war against the iPad and the press release does a few things -

  1. It lets people know that the Kindle 3 isn’t just artificially ‘sold out for 3 weeks’. By stating a somewhat firm fact (i.e. best selling Kindle ever) Amazon is clearly saying – The iPad hasn’t killed us or even hurt us much.
  2. It’s a chance to highlight the Kindle 3′s features and you get the standard, bland write-up. Here’s an alternate write-up Amazon should consider -

    50% better contrast so your romance novel covers look brilliant.

    Page turns that are fast enough so you can get people who don’t read books to shut up about how they could never read on anything that takes almost as much time to turn a page as a real physical book.

    So much battery life you can keep forgetting to charge it, so light even faeries can use it, and WiFi if you’re sick of AT&T’s spotty coverage.

  3. Amazon gets to add-on that the big magazines and sites absolutely loved the Kindle. It’s impressive that they manage to not mention that Wired gave Kindle 3 a 9/10.  
  4. It can try to convince people to stop calling it the Kindle 3. Good luck with that. Here’s Fast Company’s take on it -

    Amazon’s newest Kindle (simply called “Kindle,” though it’s sometimes referred to as the “Kindle 3″)

  5. Amazon gets to talk about how it’s shipping Kindles to 125 countries on six continents including Mongolia and Northern Mariana Islands. Don’t know about you – my list of countries of the world just expanded by one.

    Haven’t you heard about the Northern Mariana Islands?

    Wonderful place – It’s right by the Mariana Trench and the people there are mad about books.

  6. We find out we now have 670,000 books in the Kindle Store of which 235,000 were added in the last 7 months.
  7. People get to hear about the whole ‘Buy Once, Read Anywhere’ aspect of the Kindle ecosystem.

It’s still disconcertingly free of any new data points. However, it isn’t entirely a waste.

MediaMemo get bonus points for putting a photograph of The Flash in an article talking about the Kindle 3 being the best-selling Kindle ever. It’s probably the most unintentionally inappropriate illustration ever.

Kindle 3 arriving? Kindle 2 is missing

There’s a very interesting thread about a potential Kindle 3 release going on in the official Amazon Kindle forum. It stems from the strange disappearance of the $189 Kindle 2 - it’s out of stock and there isn’t even an available by date.

Kindle 3 – Could it really be arriving?

Here’s what we know in a nutshell -

  1. The Kindle 2 is out of stock.
  2. There is no available date listed. This is highly unusual - Amazon are saying to order now and they’ll ship the Kindle when it’s available.
  3. The last time something like this happened (end 2008, early 2009) users who had ordered the Kindle got the Kindle 2 instead. From the thread mentioned above (courtesy Sherry) -

    Thats what happened with the K1, went out of stock, huge buying frenzy of used k1′s going for outrageous prices, then they released the K2, so it looks like a new realease coming soon.

Even by itself this is a strong indicator Kindle 3 is likely to arrive soon. However, piece together the other evidence and an August Kindle 3 release date seems a virtual certainty.

The circumstantial evidence for an August Kindle 3 release date keeps piling up

We have a lot of signs that the Kindle 3 might arrive soon -

  1. The price cuts – Kindle 2 is selling for $189, refurbished Kindle 2s are selling for $169 and $109 (for the US version).
  2. Rumors of an August Kindle 3 release – These talked about a thinner, faster, cheaper, better screen-contrast Kindle and given what the Kindle DX 2 is like it makes sense that Kindle 2 would be similar.
  3. The arrival of the Kindle DX 2 with a serial number that jumps 3 spots. 
  4. The new eInk Pearl screen. A much better screen is as good a reason as any to release a new Kindle.  
  5. The fact that Kindle 2 is currently out of stock and there is no ‘available by’ date.
  6. Nook 2 got approved by the FCC a few days back. Nook 2 might have the new eInk Pearl screen (FCC documents don’t suggest any big design change so the screen changing is quite likely). That would mean those screens are also available for a Kindle 3 from Amazon.
  7. It’s 26 days since the special offer at Woot (Kindle 2 for $150) that sold 4,800 or so Kindles. Perhaps that was a sign that Amazon was getting rid of Kindle 2 stock. Again from the forum, courtesy Shirley Kat -

    When they dumped almost 5000 K2i’s on Woot, you couldn’t have asked for a better predictor of what was coming down the pike.

  8. There’s talk at the forum that current orders are being held back till August (although this is just 1 case). Courtesy Lesley -

    I suspect it’s the K3 coming. One of the other Canadians ordered recently and was told her order would be filled early in August….

Combine all these pointers and they point to just one possibility - a Kindle 3 release in August. It’s been a year and 5 months so it’s about time. Am resisting the temptation to buy a Kindle 2 (in the hope that Amazon will ship a Kindle 3 instead). Best to wait for an actual, confirmed Kindle 3 release.

Kindle 3 or another possibility? 

Perhaps Kindle 3 seems the most probable cause for the sell-out only because we all want to see a new Kindle. Perhaps there’s another, far more logical reason.

What are the other possibilities?

  1. The $189 Kindle 2 is selling so much it sold out. This is actually just as likely as the arrival of the Kindle 3.
  2. Amazon is fixing its death grip problem. You know – if you hold it in both hands and squeeze you lose your WhisperNet connection.
  3. Amazon is replacing the Kindle 2′s eInk screen with an LCD screen – They decided that’s the best way to promote the new Kindle Enhanced Books with audio and video.  
  4. Amazon will now build Kindle 2s with Andrew ‘The Jackal’ Wylie’s signature and face laser etched onto the aluminium back – This was his condition (along with 70% of sales revenue) to give Amazon the 2 year exclusive on his 20 gems.  
  5. Amazon decided to embrace openness with ePub support and an open ecosystem and no DRM and decided it’d be fitting to make the entire front and back cover (except for the screen) transparent to really drive the point home.

Seriously, the only two reasonable possibilities are the Kindle 2 being sold out due to the lower price and the Kindle 3 arriving soon. Since Kindle 3 is rumored to arrive in August and we are just 6 days away from August 1st it’s possible Amazon decided to switch everyone over to the new Kindle 3. The good news – it’s possible the Kindle 3 will be for $189 as Amazon are letting users continue to order Kindle 2 at $189.

Kindle DX 2 serial number, Kindle 3 implications, Kindle book deals

Let’s start with this rather juicy insight from the official Kindle forum about the Kindle DX 2 and its B009 serial number -

So far the Kindle serial numbers have proceeded in order from B001 to B005. The graphite DX jumps to B009.

I bet there are three more products to be announced soon.

If one of them is a wireless DX, I’m going to regret jumping on the first graphite.

That’s a really good point – Why does the Kindle DX 2 serial number jump all the way to B009?

My Kindle DX 2 has the entire serial number line missing from the back. Apparently that’s the price to pay for release day delivery. It’s only after typing in 411 on the Settings Page that the serial number shows up.

What could B006, B007, and B008 be?

My money would be on B006 being Kindle 3 with 3G+WiFi and B008 being Kindle 3 with only WiFi. B007 – don’t have a clue.

Missing Serial Numbers point to an upcoming Kindle 3 release

If Kindle 3 were 6 to 9 months away Amazon wouldn’t give Kindle DX 2 a B009 serial number. This goes with the sudden strange new product name for the Kindle 2 -

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G, 6″Display, White, 3G Works Globally – Latest Generation.

It used to be - Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6″ Display, Global Wireless).  

Apparently Amazon’s Department of Amazing & Endless Product Names is alive and well.

The multiple 3G references and the addition of ‘White’ and ‘Latest Generation’ certainly suggest the Kindle 3 release is within the next month or so.

The B009, the Kindle price-cut, the refurbished Kindle 2 US $109 offer, and new Kindle product name fit in nicely with the rumors of a thinner, faster, cheaper, better screen Kindle 3 being out in August.

Kindle Book Deals – Struggling to find good ones

Here are some good deals with a few repeats as they make their way back on to the Movers and Shakers list -

  1. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God is ascending steadfastly and is currently at 181st. It’s $1.59 and rated 5 stars on 54 reviews.

    Most of us have no idea where we’re going most of the time. Perfect.

    “Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something….

    Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.”

  2. Carolina by Heather Matthews is $2.99, rated 5 stars on 6 reviews, and moving up the charts.

    Carolina is a sweeping, epic romance…it tells the story of Carolina Evans, a young woman from Maine who is cursed with a tortured past and an uncertain future. After becoming pregnant as a teenager and being abandoned by her boyfriend, Daniel, Carrie is sent to a relative in Tennessee…to have her child and give it up for adoption.

    Once in Memphis, Carrie rebels, deciding to keep her child and defy her religious family. Many struggles await the young woman as she tries to build a new life. Poverty, depression, and a terrible marriage are the price she must pay to keep her baby…in time, Carrie discovers she has a unique gift – a voice from God. As a child, she was too neglected to discover the beauty of her own singing voice…noone knew…

  3. Dark Dream by Christine Feehan is just 99 cents and at #110 in the Kindle Store.

    She’s known him since she was fifteen. Every night, he is with her: his face, his voice. Tonight, Sara Marten will meet the man who is both angel and demon, salvation and temptation: Falcon—the Carpathian, the banished hero.

  4. Dark Descent by Christine Feehan is also 99 cents and has text to speech enabled (as does the earlier one). Seems to be a short book.

    For Each, There Could Be Only One: They came from the darkest places: secluded monasteries, the Carpathian mountains, galaxies under siege. They were men with the blackest pasts-warriors, vampire monks, leaders of armies-but whose passions burned like dying stars.

    They had one purpose: to find those women who fulfilled them, completed them, and made them rage with a fire both holy and profane.

It’s interesting to see a Christian book take the low price route to climb the rankings rather than the usual free route.

Kindle 3, Sony Reader 606, and thoughts

Since there’s absolutely no interesting news and World Cup games are played in the morning it’s time to wonder aimlessly about the Kindle 3.

Kindle 3 may be arriving soon

The price drop of the Kindle 2 to $259 was just too smooth. We might all like to believe that Amazon are so fluid and responsive that they drop the Kindle’s price down to $189 mere hours after B&N announce their pricing surprise. However, that’s really hard to explain rationally.

You mean to tell me Amazon managed Kindle at $189, refurbished Kindle at $169, and refurbished Kindle 2 US at $139 in just a few hours. Amazon hadn’t been selling refurbished Kindles for a long time and then suddenly, at exactly the same time that B&N introduced the Nook Lite and cut the price on the Nook, Amazon got everything ready to ship in a few hours.   

It seems that either B&N didn’t hide their plans well enough or that Amazon were preparing for a Kindle 2 price cut independently of the release of the Nook WiFi. This makes a lot of sense if you consider that PVI/eInk has had a few things go its way and should be achieving better economies of scale – partnership with LG Display (the second biggest LCD maker in the world), sales to Amazon and B&N and Sony, lots of new customers for eInk. Perhaps PVI managed to cut prices on the display and both B&N and Kindle were planning to cut prices on their eReaders.

How does this tie-in with Kindle 3?

Well, the other factor that might be causing all the low prices is the arrival of the Kindle 3. Amazon tend to cut the price of the existing Kindle a month or two before a newer Kindle model is about to come out (based on a grand sample of 1). Add on a month or two from now (to avoid incurring too many returns) and you get a possible Kindle 3 release date - the end of July 2010 or sometime in August.

It’s almost as if Amazon were preparing to cut the price of the Kindle 2 and B&N gave them a good cover for the real reason behind the price-cut.

What could Sony be planning for their new Sony Readers?

Sony have already incorporated Touch into their Reader line. What will they be trying with their new Sony Reader 606?

My money’s on – wireless+WiFi, collaboration with Google Editions, cheap price point (well, they don’t really have an option), focus on international support, and Android.

We’ll probably see Sony concentrate much more on selling their Sony Readers all over the world. In the US they have a really tough time getting press coverage and have begun to lose the attention of potential eReader buyers. They might try a sales blitz to counter that. However, they’re stuck because they only focus on the device.

Basically, Sony want to sell people a device and then let them figure out everything else. That’s exactly what readers don’t want – Readers want everything already sorted out.

How soon could B&N release a Nook 2?

B&N showed us last year that they aren’t scared of rushing a product to market. Let’s say one or both of Kindle 3 and Sony Reader 606 debut in July/August. Suddenly we have the Nook competing with the third generation of eReaders. They’d have to do something drastic to compete.

Perhaps it’ll be price. Perhaps it’ll be rushing Nook 2. Perhaps it’s another gift card or another software update. Whatever it is, it’s going to be very interesting to see. B&N always seem to mis-time their moves. By playing the price card early they have left themselves vulnerable to the third generations of the Kindle and the Sony Reader.

Plastic Logic delayed, provides no release date

Plastic Logic could have released last year and found a niche. Now they are stuck between the $500 iPad that does everything and the $189 Kindle 2 that is excellent for reading.

How in the world are they going to sell a $649 business eReader?

It seems Plastic Logic finally figured this out and decided to change their strategy. It’s super impressive that they resisted the urge to promise a date. They seem to have realized that it serves no purpose to talk up an eReader, delay it to the point that potential competitors have raced far ahead, and then release it. Thus they’ve cancelled all pre-orders and said they’re working to improve their eReader.

It’s worth wondering what role the $100 million or so they took in investment is playing – Is it their safety buffer that ensures they can handle a few crashes on their journey? Are the investors overzealous about protecting their investments and scuppering an entry into the eReader market now that there’s lots of competition? Perhaps it’s both.

Plastic Logic technology is pretty important and they have a lot of money – They aren’t going to die out. It’ll be interesting to see what their next move is.

When will Qualcomm Mirasol displays arrive and in what device?

Mirasol seems to be ruled out of Kindle 3 – Mr. Bezos keeps insisting color Kindles are not arriving anytime soon. Meanwhile, Qualcomm keeps insisting that there will be mass market products using Mirasol displays in Fall 2010.

There’s an obvious disconnect.

The perfect use of Mirasol displays is in eReaders. It’s got to be in Kindle 3 or Kindle 4 or in the newer Sony Readers or in the Nook 2. What other device could be as good of a fit?

This is one of the big unresolved mysteries of the eReader market of 2010 – What eReader will have Qualcomm’s Mirasol Displays?

Will Pixel Qi be in Kindle 4? Nook 2? Another eReader?

Pixel Qi seems to be ruled out of Kindle 3 due to still not being out. Adam was a tablet that was supposed to be the first Pixel Qi powered device and would have proven the commercial viability of Pixel Qi’s screens. However, it got delayed and further delayed and now won’t arrive until Shopping Season 2010.

Some eReader maker is going to take a chance on Pixel Qi - The technology is just too good to pass up. Which of Amazon, B&N, and Sony will it be? Perhaps a company we don’t expect is going to release a Pixel Qi powered eReader+Tablet and steal a portion of the market.

Here’s the last update from Pixel Qi -

We are in 5 tablets, a few netbooks, and are also displaying multitouch, wide-viewing angle screens, and pen-based digitizing and all combinations thereof.

Notice the lack of mention of eReaders in that list. Perhaps Pixel Qi haven’t been able to convince any eReader company to try them out. That’s a bit unlikely though – the likelier probability is that they’re not supposed to talk about it until the product launches.

Kindle 3 rumors seem to have some weight - a July/August Kindle 3 release date seems likely

There are far too many coincidences – all the rumors talk of a July to August timeframe for a Kindle 3 release, most of the rumors talk of a thinner Kindle 3 with a sharper screen, the price of the Kindle 2 has been dropped.

None of the rumors and data points are conclusive. However, all of them point to the same thing – a Kindle 3 release in July or August. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see what the next generation of Sony Readers is like and what Kindle 3 offers.

Kindle 3 in July-August? 740K eReaders shipped in April-May?

Digitimes quotes Digitimes Research (the beginnings of an infinite recursion loop) and makes some pretty bold claims -

  1. 1.43 million eReaders were shipped in the first quarter of 2010. This is worldwide.
  2. 740K eReaders were shipped in April-May 2010. 
  3. B&N’s Nook accounted for 37% of shipments and the Kindle accounted for just 16%. That would mean 118,000 Kindles shipped and 273,800 Nooks shipped.

The last piece of data is rather sketchy – Amazon was readying up a launch at Target and just announced refurbished Kindles and refurbished Kindle DXes. Surely, those must have shipped in May.

That brings us to Kindle 3.

Claims of a Kindle 3 launching in July-August

Digtimes adds further fuel to the Kindle 3 in August rumors -

Amazon is reducing its Kindle inventory as it prepares for the launch of a new version of its e-book reader in July-August, Digitimes Research explained.

The new Amazon e-book reader will still use E-Ink solutions, but picture quality will be better than the present Kindles. Production cost and street prices will also be lower.

Street prices will be lower – that’s certainly very enticing news.

Kindle 3 rumors are all pointing to August

The Kindle 3 rumors are quite an odd bunch – However, they all point to August and to a cheaper Kindle.

  1. The Digitimes article and a past report on a rumored Kindle WiFi both suggest a lower price. Kindle WiFi would obviously be cheaper due to a cheaper wireless radio and not  having to subsidize wireless costs. If the Kindle 3 3G version were cheaper too that would be quite impressive.
  2. Bloomberg reported on a thinner Kindle 3 with sharper screen contrast and they said it was scheduled to come out in August. Now Digitimes are also talking about a Kindle 3 that comes out in July-August and has better picture quality. 

If nothing else the rumors are all very consistent.

Was Kindle 2.5 a fond goodbye to Kindle 2?

This has come up on the forum and you have to wonder whether Kindle 2.5 is Amazon thanking Kindle owners and getting ready to move on to Kindle 3.

Kindle 3 is a much-needed release

At $500 you have the iPad threatening to Retina Display your eyes and at $149 we’ll soon have the Nook WiFi. That leaves Amazon in a rather precarious position with the Kindle -

  1. There isn’t any killer eInk technology (at least to the best of my knowledge) on the near horizon.
  2. Update: Kindle 2 is now $189. Which matches very well with the $199 Nook and $149 Nook WiFi. A $259 Kindle vs $149 Nook WiFi comparison will cause the Press to become delirious and will end up creating a whole new perception problem for the Kindle.
  3. There’s only so much you can do via software.

Amazon’s already added PDF and rotation support in end 2009 and Folders and Supersize Fonts recently – they’ve squeezed more out of the Kindle’s hardware than you would think possible. Surely, they can’t keep coming up with software improvements to make fonts sharper and battery life longer indefinitely.

At some point of time you have to stop depending on software upgrades and improve the hardware drastically. The only way Amazon can do that is with Kindle 3. So, hopefully, the rumors are true and an improved, cheaper Kindle 3 is indeed on the way.

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