updated 04:16 pm EDT, Fri May 11, 2012
Color e-book readers may be on the way from Amazon
Despite the popularity of Apple's iPad and competing tablets such as the Kindle Fire, some consumers still pine for color e-readers. Amazon, maker of the Kindle, top seller among e-readers, has flirted with the idea, but previously maintained that the technology wasn't ready yet for a quality color reading device. Now, sources tell Digitimes, color E Ink technology may finally have reached a satisfactory level of sophistication, and Amazon is said to be preparing to roll out a color Kindle in the second half of 2012.
Digitimes' industry sources claim that Amazon will begin shipping parts and components for a color Kindle e-reader this month, and that the device will feature multi-touch capacitive panels, which would be a departure from the infrared touch panels used in the Kindle Touch. Purportedly, the color display panels would come from E Ink, which is in keeping with previous rumors hinting at a color Kindle.
A Kindle with a color display would help close the gap between Amazon's popular reading device and more powerful tablet offerings like Apple's iPad. While such a device would likely be incapable of matching tablets in speed or app capability, the ability to display colorful content such as magazines—in combination with the longer battery life and lower price typically seen in e-readers—could make a color e-reader an attractive alternative to a tablet for some consumers.
Other color e-readers have been announced and rolled out by other manufacturers, including Toshiba, but these have been either prohibitively priced or lacking the sort of marketing clout to have a large impact on the sector. A color e-reader from Amazon, though, would likely undercut those competitors in price, and would have increased visibility due to its being prominently featured on Amazon.com, one of the most visited sites on the Internet.