Andy Greenberg at Forbes wrote an obligatory slow news day article on the Kindle 2.0 yesterday, titled ‘Why Amazon Doesn’t need Kindle 2.0‘. There’s a rather amusing retort from Andrew Nusca at ZDNet’s ToyBox entitled ‘Why Amazon Needs Kindle 2.0‘. I’m writing down my thoughts on each.
The Forbes article has this interesting snippet -
Forrester Research (nasdaq: FORR) roughly estimates that around 400,000 Kindles have been sold in all – a small number in the world of consumer electronics, but around 30% more than Sony’s (nyse: SNE) sales of its competing Reader device.
Wow – I had no idea that Forrester not only had Kindle sales estimates, but also Sony sales estimates. So Forrester is saying Kindle has sold 400K units, and Sony Reader has sold approximately 309K units. These are some rather sketchy claims and I wouldn’t pay much heed. Here are Mr. McQuivey’s Kindle predictions, covered in the Boston Globe, from last year -
McQuivey projects that 50,000 of the $400 Amazon Kindles could be sold in the first year on the market and estimates that the other high-profile e-book, the $300 Sony Reader, can’t have sold more than “a few tens of thousands” since its launch last year.
Anyways, Mr. Greenberg makes a few rather interesting claims (with my thoughts alongside) -
- There’s been no significant jump in eInk technology other than the touch screen (I’d argue that’s a pretty big jump in itself – from book to book + journal. I do feel that there’s no guarantee that Kindle 2.0 will have this feature).
- There’s nothing Amazon can do to upgrade EVDO technology (I don’t see any need to update EVDO technology – how much can you improve on getting books wirelessly in 1-2 minutes).
- Kindle 2.0 would have only incremental software improvements. (I think this is a ridiculous claim – we’ll see some definite BIG improvements in software – it’s impossible for Amazon to spend over a year creating Kindle 2.0 and not put in some cool new features). Much of the Forbes article seems to be inspired by the Forrester Research article. Another snippet -
Forrester analyst James McQuivey surmises. “The next Kindle can’t be dramatically better,” he says. “There’s very little other than the pleasantness of the experience that you can tweak.”
- Mr. McQuivey is also quoted as saying that the only killer feature Kindle 2.0 could have is a price drop and that Amazon would be loathe to do it because it would cannibalize sales. (Nonsense. Amazon will go for the lowest price it can manage – I’ve run across claims (which I’ll follow up on and write about) that each eInk screen costs $200, and I think that might be the big stumbling block for prices).
- Kindle’s wireless delivery makes it untouchable. (This I have to agree with – at the moment, even with its touch screen, Sony Reader can’t touch the Kindle).
Which brings us to the ‘Why Amazon Needs Kindle 2.0‘ article, and an article I like much more, although their conclusion that Amazon needs Kindle 2.0 because eventually Sony will get it right is rather narrow. To be fair they do talk about how Apple kept improving the iPod, thereby locked out big competitors, and that is a much better reason to improve on Kindle.
I’m going to write more about Kindle 2.0 soon – what I think are the real reasons Amazon needs a much improved Kindle 2.0.