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.

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