updated 07:40 am EDT, Mon May 4, 2009
Amazon Large Kindle Soon
Amazon could be on the verge of launching a large-screen Kindle that would be key to saving large newspapers, a possibly last-minute leak has said on Monday. The online retailer is purported by the New York Times to be introducing a larger e-book reader ideally sized for magazines, newspapers and other large-format text. Its suitability is such that the Times itself is rumored to be a key part of the introduction, though a newspaper spokeswoman declines to comment despite the Times being the origin of the rumor itself.
No technical features have been mentioned, but the device could be ready to show as early as this week.
Recent rumors have had Amazon improving the Kindle formula more aggressively than it has in the past. One production rumor would have a large touchscreen Kindle shipped sometime before the end of 2009; the advancement would let Amazon create a large-screen reader without having to add bulk through a dedicated keyboard or most other button controls.
The timing of any possible new reader may be decisive for Amazon, as it comes as even larger newspapers are either going strictly digital, such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, or like the Boston Globe are threatened with complete shutdowns. Recent, unofficial cost breakdowns have determined that it's potentially less expensive to give every subscriber an e-book reader like a Kindle than to maintain newspaper production and distribution. Publishing giant Hearst has been looking to develop a reader of its own for similar reasons.
Apple has also long been rumored in development of a large touchscreen tablet that could also fill a similar role, though it would likely use an LCD and so would be less suited to dedicated book reading than the Kindle's E Ink screen, whose lack of constant refresh is easier on eyes and consumes much less power.