Amazon yesterday launched the $489 Kindle DX, the big screen version of the Kindle 2, but the puzzle is who the target for the rather large portable book reader actually is. The big 9.7 inch diagonal e-ink screen makes the Kindle DX pretty bulky for merely a ebook reader, but Amazon has announced new deals with for magazine and newspaper publishers which presumably are a better fit for the format.
In fact, the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Washington Post will subsidize the Kindle purchase price if you live in an area where they do not offer home delivery and purchase a Kindle DX and an electronic subscription.
Another target market for the Kindle DX is college students as Amazon also announced deals with textbook publishers for Kindle versions as well as trials at major universities:
The schools will distribute hundreds of Kindle DX devices to students spread across a broad range of academic disciplines. In addition to reading on a considerably larger screen, students will be able to take advantage of popular Kindle features such as the ability to take notes and highlight, search across their library, look up words in a built-in dictionary, and carry all of their books in a lightweight device.
Time will tell how well that works out – I think I would still prefer a paper textbook. However, one market where the Kindle family seems to be a definite success is in good old fashioned books for reading. According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Kindle sales are now 35% of book sales when Kindle editions are available and there was a huge jump in February when the Kindle 2 went on sale.
Martyn Williams at InfoWorld:
E Ink, a U.S.-based developer of electronic-paper type flat panel displays, has developed a color version of its screen technology and is showing it at the FPD International exhibition that opened Wednesday in Yokohama, Japan.
It’s based on similar technology to the company’s monochrome displays that are already in production and can be found in a handful of products like Sony’s Librie electronic book reader.
The main difference is the addition of a color filter. The prototype on display in Yokohama is a 6-inch display with 400 by 300 pixel resolution. That works out to 83 pixels per inch which is half that of the commercial screen used in the Sony e-book reader.
E Ink anticipates the display will be ready for commercialization at the end of 2006, said Bischoff. Potential applications include ATM screens, digital camera viewfinders, and mobile phones, he said.
The E Ink press release has more and some photos. Aside from the lightweight form factor,
E Ink’s electronic ink technology creates an image that looks like a printed page from all angles and maintains the same contrast ratio under all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. Aimed at handheld devices, the display uses up to 100 times less energy than a standard liquid crystal display (LCD), so product designers can shed weight and greatly extend battery life.
Besides the color display, they are also showing a “tablet sized” greyscale display:
E Ink Corporation in USA, the leading supplier of electronic paper display technology, today announced that LG.Philips LCD, one of the world’s leading innovators of thin-film transistor liquid crystal (TFT-LCD) technology, and E Ink have built a 10.1″ flexible electronic paper display.
Less than 300 microns thick, the paper-white display is as thin and flexible as construction paper. With a 10.1″ diagonal, the prototype achieves SVGA (600×800) resolution at 100 pixels per inch and has a 10:1 contrast ratio with 4 levels of grayscale.
E Ink® Imaging Film is a novel display material that looks like printed ink on paper and has been designed for use in paper-like electronic displays. Like paper, the material can be flexed and rolled. As an additional benefit, the E Ink Imaging Film uses 100 times less energy than a liquid crystal display because it can hold an image without power and without a backlight.
No word on any applications or dates for this one.