Will Amazon Ever Release a Color Kindle?


E Ink Color 2016

It’s interesting how Kindles and other ebook readers have evolved over the years. They’ve added touchscreens and frontlights and now some models are even waterproof.

One thing that hasn’t changed a whole lot is E Ink screens. Sure, they’ve improved the refresh rate and upgraded the resolution some, and a few devices like the Kobo Forma and Onyx Boox Note have new flexible E Ink screens that are lighter and more durable.

But overall E Ink screens haven’t changed much; the reading experience has basically remained unchanged for 5 years.

Take the Kindle Voyage for example. It was released back in 2014 and it still has better contrast with darker text than any of the current Kindle models.

Back then there was a good bit of optimism that Amazon would eventually release a color Kindle, but now it seems that is very unlikely to ever happen.

5 years ago E Ink was working on color screens for ebook readers but they failed to gain much interest because the colors were too washed out and the resolution was too low, and ever since then color E Ink has basically faded away, at least when it comes to ereader displays.

E Ink still makes colors screens for things like shelf labels and super expensive digital signs, like the ACeP display pictured above, but the resolution is too low for reading. Onyx is working on a textbook device with a color E Ink screen for schools, but it only supports three colors and it’s not very impressive.

So now in 2019 the odds of a color Kindle ever getting released appears slim to none. Unless some alternative low-power color display technology manages to suddenly take off, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a color Kindle in the next 5 years.

24 Responses to “Will Amazon Ever Release a Color Kindle?”

  1. I think the majority of e-ink ereader users today read books that don’t need color. For those who want color there are tablets.

    I read novels which rarely have pictures and if those pictures were in color they’d be slightly distracting. I do like an occasional ink drawing in a novel, such as were in older novels. But it’s not important to me. I don’t want photographs and I don’t want color. I especially don’t want color if it has less contrast than black and white, which seems to be the case on all the samples we’ve seen.

    I guess if the ereader makers were dealing with a bigger market they’d be more interested in color to compete. But as it is I doubt they’re really interested in competing for devices. They sell books.

    As for ereaders changing these days maybe it’s because they got them right. They all keep adding little features that often have more to do with marketing than reading, but I’m not sure there are any more major improvements to make given the technology that we have today.

    Bound books have been around for a lot of centuries and there weren’t a lot of big changes until paperbacks came along. That was centuries into the development of bound books. Then, 40 years later there were ereaders, which are the next big improvement. I’m sure someone someday will think of some other revolutionary improvement. It always happens. But I can’t imagine now what it will be. And I’m not sure anyone else can either.

    In the meantime let’s remember that ereaders are about reading. As people who are interested in technology we want constant evolution and even revolution. As readers we have what we want right now.

    The past decade has probably been the brightest and most innovative in the history of reading technology. Let’s celebrate that!

    Barry

    • Well said! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • You dont miss cloris screams because you’ve never experienced it so you dont know what you are missing. If Amazon :allowed” color they’d be under pressure to lower prices on full color photograph books like nonfiction. They make a ton of $$$ for the privilege of adding color to a book.

  2. I agree with Barry. eInk readers are about reading. For me they have revolutionized the number of books I can read in a year. Prior to buying my first ereader, an RCA eBook Reader (REB1100) (https://www.amazon.com/RCA-REB1100-eBook-Reader/dp/B00005T3UH), I maybe read 3 or 4 books a year. Since I bought that ereader, I have probably averaged 12 to 15 books a year. I moved to a Nook Simple Touch, then a Simple Touch with Glowlight, then a Glowlight Plus. My daily driver now is a Kobo Aura One. I am a tech geek and color is cool, but honestly I don’t need it. The ability to carry a large library in a 8″ tablet case is all I need.

    The ability to borrow books from the library without needing Adobe Digital Additions was the next big change for me.

  3. Now that Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading include a lot of DC comics, I’m hoping we’ll get Kindles with color e-ink sooner rather than later. Black and white is fine for most books and manga, but not for comic books printed in color. It’s not as comfortable to read comic books on an LCD screen as it us to read them in print. Also, color e-ink would not have to be true color quality to handle comic book art. So, e-ink devices with fewer colors could find themselves in demand for use with comic books. Ideally, these would be as large as comic books too. 6 inch color Kindles might not be in demand so much.

  4. I agree with Barry and David, a b&W e-reader is just fine. All the color will do is raise the weight and the price. 7″ or 8″ screen for the same reason and bigger than that they start getting too bulky. So until Amazon hits a home run (aka “When pigs fly!”), I’ll stick with my Papaerwhite.

  5. I could use color eink. A lot of what I read is about computer code. Most development environments use different colors for keyword, variables, strings, etc. Coding books tend to emulate that. It’s largely missing from documenting though, so I’m also used to seeing it without color.

    As for all other types of books, black and white is fine. I don’t think off be willing to give up clear text for color text.

  6. I want choice! A Kindle Slate with an 8″ 1440×1920 4:3 aspect ratio 300ppi display in my choice of 16 greyscale Mobius Carta E-ink with white to amber front light or 16M color LCD display at same price.

    Outside bezel hinge connects two Slates in tandem so they fold like a book similar to the eBookOne manga device; user’s choice of dual E-Ink, dual LCD or one of each. Software optimizes UI for each experience.

  7. I also agree with Barry

  8. I definitely welcome a colorful e reader with similar size, weight, and maybe a little bit higher price. Otherwise, b&w works just fine for me.

  9. I personally would like a large color eBook reader (13-inch) with back lighting (regular + orange) and monitor input so I can read:
    – My technical books (I read a lot of those, PDFs and ePubs)
    – Comic books (CBZ, CBR)
    – Magazines (PDFs)
    – I want to read them in the evening too, before going to bed (warm color backlighting would be good)
    – And I want to be able to use it as a monitor attached to my laptop and work outside in blinding sunshine in beefcake mode in my green backyard and nature.

    I also heard that eInk might manufacture some 13 inch ACEP displays in this year. Well let us see…

    • What you want is a tablet (the kindle fire).

      • What he wants, is what he stated. I want one too. I don’t know about 13″, but that might be the right size. I mostly read fantasy books, and the paperwhite is fine for those, but there’s more books in my life than novels, and I don’t want to experience them on a tablet, and I definitely don’t want to stick with physical. Textbooks/PDFs/comics/manga/light novels/ect.

        Don’t dismiss the wants of others, with your limited worldview.

  10. I find it hard to think of a 13″ or even a 10″ device as an ereader, even if it has an e-ink display. I think of those more as tablets.

    The early ereading devices such as the Palm also had LCD displays. I think since e-ink has been mainly used on ereaders in the past we tend to associate them but that seems to be changing.

    Barry

  11. I can see color being good for text books, especially with maps and diagrams. Childrens books, can also benefit. Comics and even magazines too.

    • I agree wholeheartedly about needing color for maps and graphs. Many of the books I read are historical with strong geographical references and data, and maps, legends and graphs would be much easier to use if color was discernible.

  12. Some biographies have pictures, I’d love a color kindle…

  13. A lot of textbooks such as math book have color diagrams. Sure you could use a tablet, but not outside in the sun.

  14. The only thing I would like color for is use in highlighting text. I t would be nice as a categorizing tool…very useful in spotting/finding highlighted text from a multi-chapter view screen.

  15. I would love a color e-reader, especially for graphic novels.

  16. I don’t care if the color e-ink is too washed out or has low resolution. The important part of color e-ink is highlighting. Some of us like to read with color highlighting, and using different colors, just like the kindle app in an iPhone or iPad. The only reason why I would prefer E-ink is anti-glare as well as battery life. So I don’t see why you shouldn’t pursue color e-ink. Give people the option and watch the sales go up. Because my selection of reading material is non-fiction, I don’t appreciate it when my highlighting is one color on grayscale.

  17. Completely disagree with all the comments that say e-readers only need to be black and white because they’re only for reading. That is extremely short-sighted. An e-reader with proper color would be an absolute game changer. I spend 10-12 hours a day at work staring at a laptop screen that is killing my eyes, and what am I doing half the time? Reading. I’m not reading novels. I’m reading Powerpoint presentations and PDF documents and websites and articles, and these are all in color. Then after work every day, I’ve got another 4-5 hours of class work where I’m reading textbooks and discussion forums, and these again are all in color and so reading them on my laptop or iPad again is killing my eyes. By the end of a day, I’m seeing double of everything. If I could take all the reading parts of my job and my classes and do that all on an E-ink screen instead of an LCD one, that could save me from all sorts of future eye-related health problems, and I know there are hundreds of millions of working professionals who would benefit the same. But the screen absolutely needs to be in color, because what we’re reading is in color. E-readers caused a revolution in reading text-based books, but whoever figures out commercially viable photo-quality color e-ink will completely change reading forever.

    • Something being made in color does not necessitate that you see it in color. I am also a student and have become so accustomed to seeing my digital textbooks in black and white that when I load one on the computer I am surprised to find out it has color. The lack of color in no way affects my ability to learn the material, just as color blind people can make it through life thinking fire is green without it costing anything except maybe bomb disposal jobs in the military.

      It’s really not that big of a deal.

  18. I’d love to have a color e-reader as a way to read digital comics.

    Currently, despite how much is now available digitally through services like Marvel’s digital store and Comixology, I have zero interest in reading digital comics because they’re on a screen with a backlight and they don’t feel at all like a paper comic, so I still do all of my comic reading using physical books…
    I also don’t read that many novels, so I haven’t bought a Black & White kindle yet.

    I’m sure there’s plenty of comic book fans like me, who are just waiting patiently for a color kindle to come out… to have something better than a computer or tablet screen to read all of those digital comics on. It’s a huge untapped market, and I’m sure Amazon would do really well with this crowd if they were to ever release such a Kindle.