updated 03:00 pm EDT, Tue May 25, 2010
Amazon's Bezos not worried about color Kindle
Amazon won't try to copy the iPad with future versions of the Kindle, CEO Jeff Bezos said in an annual shareholders' meeting today. He stressed that the Kindle would emphasize e-reading and likened its role to that of a dedicated camera versus a phone camera. Just as a phone is multi-purpose but won't be the best camera, an iPad won't necessarily be the best reader, Bezos said.
"The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being a very focused product," he explained. "Serious readers are going to want a purpose-built device, because it's an important activity for them."
E-paper was part of this focus as it gave the Kindle a number of advantages that aren't present with LCD. Its absence of a backlight makes the Kindle easier to read without eyestrain, especially outdoors. Very efficient display refreshes also give it significantly longer battery life.
Bezos was asked about the possibility of a color screen on the Kindle but repeated a dismissal from last year. He warned that a Kindle with adequate color was "still some ways out."
The statements somewhat contradict Amazon's own hiring plans, which have shown it recruiting for LCD experience and buying out a multi-touch technology inventor. If still committed to e-paper, Amazon would still have access to video-capable displays and touch input for a Kindle update this year.
Bezos wouldn't say at the meeting how many Kindles had been sold, only saying that "millions" had been shipped. Most believe the iPad is likely to catch up to the Kindle by the end of the year as Apple moved one million iPads in a single month and is showing no signs of slowing down.