While not long ago, e-book readers were rudimentary devices far off from the capabilities of tablets, the thin line between a basic e-reader and a more complex slate becomes increasingly thinner and thinner and thinner.
Amazon is the most important company “responsible” for mixing things up and the makers of the Kindle Fire are apparently planning to “confuse” us even more. Aside from preparing the release of a bunch of new tablets, set to take the Fire’s popularity to new heights, Amazon is reportedly prepping the launch of at least one color e-book reader as well.
Unknown “industry sources” cited by Digitimes told the website that Amazon’s new color e-book readers will be made available in the second half of 2012, with related components already set to start shipping.
Amazon’s current line-up of e-book readers includes the mono-color Kindles, which are available at prices between $79 and $189. For its future e-readers, Amazon will be using multi-touch capacitive touch panels, if Digitimes’ sources prove reliable, instead of the infrared touch panels used in the first four generations of the Kindle reader.
The sources also reveal the company that will supply Amazon with the touch panels needed to go through with these bold plans. TPK Holding has helped Amazon with the Kindle Fire’s manufacturing last year. However, in 2011, TPK Holding was not Amazon’s exclusive partner for the Fire (Wintek and JTouch also supplied touch panels), while in this particular case the collaboration might be on a larger scale.
Digitimes adds that E Ink Holdings, the company that provides the electronic ink technology for both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is planning to unveil color electronic paper displays (EPD) in the near future. Amazon might adopt this color e-ink technology as well, which might mean that we will see two types of color e-readers launched by Jeff Bezos’ company in 2012.
Finally, according to current estimations, Amazon is expected to ship six million e-book readers in 2012. However, it is not specified if the number refers to total predicted sales of e-readers, including the old devices, or just the new color ones.
The entire report should be taken with a big grain of salt, as there is not one single piece of information confirmed from official sources. Also, we are talking about Digitimes here, and the website has a past record of starting up rumors based on “dubious” sources.
However, there might be some truth behind the story after all, so you should keep in touch with our website to find out exactly what Amazon is planning for 2012. Stay tuned!
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Color e-ink has been around for quite a while now:
I still can’t wait for it to appear in a future Sony Reader though – this’d be great for comics!