Word is out that Amazon is planning on releasing a larger version of the Kindle on Wednesday. The new device is supposed to be geared towards magazines and textbooks which require a much larger screen then regular novels. If you've been here for a while you would know that I have high hopes for bringing the Kindle into the textbook market. That industry (empire?) is desperately lacking in competition and could use someone to ruffle their feathers a bit.
Unfortunately, the more I see of Amazons strategy with the Kindle, the more concerned I become. The current Kindle sells for $359 on Amazon and has a 6" screen, a few ticks on the abacus would tell you thats just under $60/inch. Now they are coming out with one with a bigger screen? Don't they know people can't get bank loans these days? In all reality I'm sure they don't charge per inch of screen real-estate but they have held on to that price point like it was the only one in town. My uneducated guess is that they are going to actually bring in the new Kindle above the $359 price-point and keep the Kindle 2 where it is. Lets just throw a number out there for good measure and say $429.Once you get past its inflated price it will be interesting to see how they deliver on features. People who intend to use this as a replacement for textbook are much more demanding then those who are using it to read the latest Daniel Steel novel. As I previously harped on, search is critical since people are way too used to finding what they want very quickly. Beyond that, considering all the crazy sidebar notes/sticky notes/highlighting schemes people employ on their textbooks having a replacement or improvement on that would be important.
For a good opinion on the priorities in Kindle features I think this fake conversation between Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs captured an important point:
Jobs (laughing): Surf the Web? On an Etch-a-Sketch?And then proceeded to sum up my opinion on "value added" features:
Bezos: The Web is a value-added feature.Update: Wow its actually more expensive then I had guessed, it rings it at a hefty $489. At least there is free shipping!
Jobs: No features are value added. They're either features or they're not.