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View Poll Results: When will we see a Kindle with Mirasol?
It will be out within a year or so. 13 25.00%
Sometime in 2012. 12 23.08%
That will be years down the road! 8 15.38%
Color Kindle will have alternate tech (Pixel Qi, E-Ink color, or even LCD) 19 36.54%
Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-28-2010, 12:06 AM   #1
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Crystal Ball - Kindle with Mirasol?

With the recent announcement of the Nook Color, I have become somewhat more confident that the suggestive comments made by Qualcomm spokespersons point to Amazon as the major client interested in the Mirasol display. I also imagine that Bezos will feel at least a little pressure to make the next (debated or recognizable) "innovative" move. If I were to bet money on this, I would go with the notion that a color Kindle with Mirasol will be introduced in roughly one year. That would give some distance from the current Kindle incarnation and align with the onset of production at the new plant Qualcomm will be constructing. I suppose this is a perspective on the hopeful end of realistic. I wonder what others here on MR would say as they stare into the crystal ball, or read the entrails, or study the tea leaves...

Will there be a Mirasol Kindle within a year or so?
Will it not happen until 2012?
Will it not happen for several years?
Will Amazon pursue an alternative tech (Pixel Qi, E-Ink Color, even LCD)?
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:08 AM   #2
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while Mirasol has so very much potential, I don't see Amazon as having the luxury of waiting for the color Kindle, well, much depends on how well made the slowly released color slate devices are and how well they work. But of there are no winners, say the ever translucent and ethereal Adam, then Amazon is almost forced to come out with something, and it likely must be large format, to sell their Kindle books formatted for the Dx series but many of which genuinely need color.

Plus don't forget the Amazon purchase of that touch tech company earlier this year. So that will be looming on the horizon, probably sooner rather than later. But power is problematic on larger devices so what do they do? Heck, I dunno...I just know I need such a reader/device.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:22 AM   #3
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I just don't see the point of Amazon selling a color e-reader.

Do they sell comics? I guess they sell magazines, but still, I have to think most of their sales are books.

The hook that B&N seems to have with its ColorNook is the animated kids books.

That said, I would be shocked if Amazon didn't come out with some sort of android tablet in the next year...maybe with that Pixel Qi stuff, that looks impressive in the screenshots anyway.

I mean what's the big point of just color, like color e-ink? Pretty much just color printed material. Which is what, comics mostly, and covers, and I guess some reference books.

But a tablet gives the opportunity for other media - movies, games, etc. And with Amazon apparently starting their own Android app store, seems like an obvious move...

Last edited by JeremyR; 10-28-2010 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:56 AM   #4
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It was widely reported here in San Diego that Amazon was here earlier this year for several days and was in discussions with Qualcomm. Shortly after it was announced that Qualcomm was investing $2 billion in a manufacturing plant in China. Coincidence? Possibly. I expect the plant to be up and running next year. I retired from Qualcomm several years ago.

It was also reported widely among the tech blogs and websites earlier this year that Amazon was looking for Android developers and there was strong speculation that Amazon was considering an Android tablet. And, as mentioned, there are strong rumors that Amazon will be opening their own Android app store.

This doesn't mean that this is where the Kindle is heading. It may just mean that this is where Amazon is heading after getting some experience in the manufacturing arena with the Kindle. It won't necessarily be a color e-reader but it may be the best touchscreen color tablet for e-reading and it will be Android based. It would also be multimedia capable to tie into Amazon's MP3 and video business. If Amazon were to release a new product this would be a logical next step.

I think a lot of people are being are being Kindle-centric and aren't seeing the big picture.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:05 AM   #5
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Hey Jeremy,

The point of a color ereader is simple...reference books, a very lucrative portion of Amazon's book sales. Also text books. Those are probably the two most important reasons I can offer...and yes, comics and graphic novels are very popular as well. So the market is there. Periodicals are also an area of obvious need.

My needs are references on antiques and also photography.

It's a topic covered here on MR many times over the years and it boils down to some of use want both a plain old novel reader for which greyscale EPD panels are just fine. Also though are those who want not only the color content but also with a color panel we should be able to set background color. On my old Sony Clie nx73v as well as my Nokia N800 I like to set the background color to sort of a parchment color which works GREAT on easier reading as even in printed books, I do not like bright/optic white paper. So that is another potential area of need.

Just don't loose sight of the thing ebook readers are replacing, BOOKS, and in books colors are important or we would have only B&W printed pages.

Ideally something like Mirasol would be great as the samples we have seen of the Mirasol in action are super. The color might still not be perfect but they are not horrible. One reason the color isn't right, and this is pure speculation on my part, is the lack of true white and true black. Also if the color particles are all in the same cell then eventually there will be a dulling due to nothing more than bumping into each other. And that is just one challenge. So the area of EPD technology is more complicated for color panels than it was for B&W. That is what is slowing things down, along with this being an era of very difficult to get venture capital for such ventures. It is still progressing.

Oh, the issue with the color nook is that it's simply way to small for people like me. And really for most recreational reading it's not that useful really. And because it's a locked down device there are no real easy ways to extend/jailbreak it to get the device to it's max ability, which is not likely to be a lot right now anyway.

But color will be the default soon, probably within a couple years it will really hit it's stride but no sooner. At least not for EPD or similar tech devices...we already have a number of slate style devices which will function just fine as an ereader if one really needs something now.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:15 AM   #6
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first they have to build the plant to manufacture the displays. that alone will take years.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:59 AM   #7
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To my reasoning, Amazon don't need to produce a colour ereader (of the LCD variety) because there are already colour ereaders out there that run the Kindle software! The iPad and Android platforms all have Kindle software versions for it, and Amazon just recently announced that periodicals (previously missing) will be coming to those platforms as well.

I don't see any business sense in developing and producing a device that will basically be a clone of an iPad when Apple already dominates that market. I think the Nook Colour sales will reflect this...

Amazon currently leads the market in e-ink reading devices, and should play to their strengths. When the colour e-ink technology becomes commercially viable, then that should be their next step.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyR View Post
That said, I would be shocked if Amazon didn't come out with some sort of android tablet in the next year...maybe with that Pixel Qi stuff, that looks impressive in the screenshots anyway.
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It was also reported widely among the tech blogs and websites earlier this year that Amazon was looking for Android developers and there was strong speculation that Amazon was considering an Android tablet. And, as mentioned, there are strong rumors that Amazon will be opening their own Android app store.

This doesn't mean that this is where the Kindle is heading...I think a lot of people are being are being Kindle-centric and aren't seeing the big picture.
Yes, I am also inclined to believe that Amazon will be coming out with a tablet at some point. I certainly hope they don't take the route B&N has and brand the tablet as a variant of the Kindle but instead just feature a Kindle app on it.

Choices are good, and some of us actually don't feel the need for a tablet and will be happy with a smaller, cheaper, dedicated reading device. I may be a member of the Millennial generation, but I'm a half-hearted Luddite in revolt. I don't have a smartphone or particularly want one. I don't want a tablet when I already have a laptop. When I'm traveling on a plane, I want to read, first and foremost, and maybe listen to music. A tablet would be filled with too many distractions and I would rather not be led into temptation!

All that to say I hope Bezos maintains his purported commitment to the reading experience alongside the inevitable "bottom line." Don't abandon the potential of innovations in reflective display, energy-efficient readers and pursue the tablet trend alone. What will become of reading when it is simply an "app"? The new age of barbarism will be upon us...

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It was widely reported here in San Diego that Amazon was here earlier this year for several days and was in discussions with Qualcomm. Shortly after it was announced that Qualcomm was investing $2 billion in a manufacturing plant in China. Coincidence? Possibly. I expect the plant to be up and running next year. I retired from Qualcomm several years ago.

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first they have to build the plant to manufacture the displays. that alone will take years.
From what I've read, Qualcomm can already manufacture the screens in a plant shared with another company. Meanwhile, the dedicated Taiwan plant is supposed to begin operating late 2011 with real volume production starting 2012. That's why I've suggested a "hopeful-realistic" Kindle Mirasol possibility for roughly a year from now.

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Amazon currently leads the market in e-ink reading devices, and should play to their strengths. When the colour e-ink technology becomes commercially viable, then that should be their next step.
I certainly hope it is!
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:17 AM   #9
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I think color e-ink or some similar technology is definitely coming from Amazon. The tech just isn't ready yet. I think late 2011-2012 is a likely timeframe, possibly next holiday season? If Amazon can deliver a color e-ink device at anything close to the current Kindle's price they'll have a massive hit on their hands.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:17 PM   #10
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To my reasoning, Amazon don't need to produce a colour ereader (of the LCD variety) because there are already colour ereaders out there that run the Kindle software! The iPad and Android platforms all have Kindle software versions for it, and Amazon just recently announced that periodicals (previously missing) will be coming to those platforms as well.

I don't see any business sense in developing and producing a device that will basically be a clone of an iPad when Apple already dominates that market. I think the Nook Colour sales will reflect this...

Amazon currently leads the market in e-ink reading devices, and should play to their strengths. When the colour e-ink technology becomes commercially viable, then that should be their next step.
Such shortsightedness! Apple came from nowhere with the iPhone and completely changed what phones were and in a very short time became the most popular phone of all time. Then along came Android and in August Android phones outsold the iPhone. Before Android, had you ever heard of HTC? They now make the best rated smartphone after Apple.

Apple introduced the iPad and it was called a laptop-killer and an e-reader killer. This coming year the next big thing will be Android tablets.

Just because Apple was the market leader for phones didn't prevent other companies from going after that same success. Just because Amazon became the leader in e-readers doesn't mean that they can't set their sites higher.

Apple is a leader in design and innovation, but Apple is just as much about slick marketing and as a result their products are over-hyped, expensive, and closed. I fully expect that someone will produce a better tablet than the iPad and it will be cheaper and more open and probably run Android. At some point it will become a commodity item, just like e-readers have come from costing more than $300 to just $99. I think that Amazon has been looking in this direction and I hope they are as successful in the tablet market as they have been in the e-reader market.

It's called competition and innovation. It usually leads to better and cheaper products and choice for the consumer. And Amazon will eventually release a color e-reader. But it also might just be more than a color e-reader.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
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To my reasoning, Amazon don't need to produce a colour ereader (of the LCD variety) because there are already colour ereaders out there that run the Kindle software! The iPad and Android platforms all have Kindle software versions for it, and Amazon just recently announced that periodicals (previously missing) will be coming to those platforms as well.
Totally with you on this one. As soon as the marketing dust settles and folks will realize that NOOKColor is just a cheaper ligher and less potent version of iPad, NOOKColor sales will reduce to nil. No need to Amazon to do anything.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:16 PM   #12
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I would not hold my breath waiting for a Mirasol. Maybe for Xmas 2011 we'll see the first commercial ereaders with color e-ink.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:55 PM   #13
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I am pessimistic that we will see 'affordable' reflective color screen devices any time soon (within the next year or two).

In the meantime, we will have a plethora of LCD (including hybrids like Pixel Qi) tablets and smartphones (and the Nookthing), and these will drive performance expectations and provide the main platform for 'enhanced e-books', etc. Most consumers of these devices will not be long-form readers and won't care that they have to charge it all the time, or whether it is backlit or not, as long as it meets an attractive price point. Gradual improvements in power management, display performance, economies of scale, and battery technology continue to raise the bar that reflective color displays need to surmount in order to present a viable alternative in the market.

While I'm confident that reflective color displays will eventually find their way into the market, and perhaps even dominate display technology, I expect them initially to be costly, and consequent demand to be relatively low. 6" eink devices commanded $400 price points for a couple of years before demand and technical refinements have resulted in 60-70% reduction.

By contrast, 9" eink devices, which have been available almost as long, remain costly, and things like iPad have soaked up what little demand there was for them, ensuring that economies of scale cannot be easily reached that would allow more significant price reduction. The Kindle DX and Entourage EDGE linger on, but it remains to be seen for how long.

Anyway, I hope I'm wrong - certainly the general trend in technology is to exceed expectations. But technology also involves many contingent factors, and in this case, these seem to be impeding the development of reflective color displays.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:31 PM   #14
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It's called competition and innovation. It usually leads to better and cheaper products and choice for the consumer. And Amazon will eventually release a color e-reader. But it also might just be more than a color e-reader.
I'm all for competition and innovation but Amazon is currently a market leader in Ebook reading E-ink devices, just as Apple is in Multi-purpose LCD tablets. They are two clearly distinct products and if Amazon were to ditch E-ink in favour of LCD just to compete with Apple they would be making a serious mistake.

I understand the need for a colour e-reading platform but I don't think transforming their E-ink reader into an inferior multipurpose LCD tablet is they way to go.

If Amazon wanted to release a LCD tablet to compete with the iPad, they shouldn't release it as part of the Kindle line.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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Havn't even heard of Mirasol until you mentioned it. Checked out the website and its very impressive. It's probably about 1.5 years away from even getting on a Kindle. Even longer before I buy one myself.

I just converted to eReading and Kindle 3 this year. It will be years (3-5) before I even consider getting another eReader. But that shouldn't stop them from innovating.
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