Yesterday I posted a review of E Ink’s new color screens that have started appearing on a few new ereaders such as the Onyx Poke2 Color and PocketBook Color.
Ever since these new color ereaders have started coming out, people have been hoping that a color Kindle would be coming out soon too, but now that I’ve seen color E Ink in person, I strongly believe that Amazon won’t be adopting E Ink’s new color screen technology anytime soon, if ever.
I think E Ink’s new color screens are pretty cool, and I like having an ereader that has one, but the technology has some flaws.
Unless E Ink finds a way to lessen the visibility of the color filter layer, I would say there’s less than a 10% chance that Amazon will release a color Kindle in the next 5 years.
I think the return rate would simply be too high. The average person is going to question why an E Ink screen is better for color content than a typical LCD screen, especially when an E Ink screen costs a lot more and LCD looks a lot better.
Amazon isn’t the type of company to take big chances with Kindles. Kindles are simple devices designed for reading ebooks. They’ve never been about adding cutting-edge new features.
It took Amazon three years just to add a warm frontlight option to the Kindle Oasis when all other brands had been offering warm frontlights for years.
Since regular Kindles are still superior at displaying text, how would they even market a color Kindle? It can’t be a premium device, but color E Ink has a premium price tag. Are they only going to market it as a comic and magazine reader? That doesn’t make any sense. Most people are happy reading comics and magazines on a tablet.
A Kindle’s primary purpose is displaying text, not images.
The vast majority of Kindle owners use the device to read ebooks. Even the entry-level Kindle with just 167 ppi provides a better text reading experience without the added darkness and visible grid pattern the color filter adds to color E Ink.
There’s also the fact that any cheap tablet, including the $49 Fire tablet, is better at displaying color content than a low resolution color E Ink screen. As much as I like E Ink and hate the $49 Fire tablet, it’s not even close.
I still think there would be a larger market for a Kindle with a 10-inch screen than there would be for a color Kindle. Since color screens have noticeably worse contrast and screen clarity they are inferior at displaying regular text, so they’re going to appeal to a much smaller market, whereas a large screen still fulfills the core purpose of a Kindle, which is to provide the best reading experience.
Sorry, but I just don’t see a color Kindle coming anytime soon. If you want a color Kindle your best bet is to get an Onyx Poke2 Color and install the Kindle app. That’s the only way a color E Ink Kindle is going to happen.
10 inch Kindle will succeed only (ok… maybe this is strong word) if price tag is lower than Onyx devices. What would be the reason to purchase Kindle, which is for reading only, if you have device with similar price with much more features?
Sportbike Mike says
The Kindle would definitely be lower prices than the Onyx Reader. onyx is consistently the most expensive brand but gets away with it because of their software and stylus. Take the 7.8″ Nova and Nova 2. It cost considerably more than both the same size Nook Plus and the bigger Kobo Forma. Those devices both have Physical buttons too.
I agree. Why would Amazon spend all that money developing this when they have their tablets that display color beautifully? I know I wouldn’t buy a color e-ink reader. Sure, I’d take one if someone wanted to GIVE me one.
Do you see Amazon releasing a Kindle this year?
Sportbike Mike says
This is the wrong e-reader blog for baseless speculation.
Mike is right. Nobody really knows but Amazon, everything else is just speculation. A Paperwhite with a warm frontlight seems obvious, but warm frontlights have been out for like 4 years now so who knows if Amazon will ever bring that to the Paperwhite or not. The Oasis 3 is less than a year old so there’s no way it’s getting replaced anytime soon, and the entry-level Kindle was just released last year too. If I were in charge of Kindles I’d release a 10-inch model ASAP, but everyone is tired of hearing me harp about that.
Thanks Nathan, A larger Kindle would be great. I hope so too.
Steve H. says
I echo your “harping”!!!
I’d love to have a colorful e-ink reader. I have kindle paperwhite and it’s so good to read books to my kid in the bed. (Doesn’t shine in my eyes in the dark) but my kid wants to see colorful pictures with the story. I’d say Amazon should go for it cause I feel many parents would buy a colorful e-ink reader for their kids. It’s much better on eyes than LCD.
I fully agree with this view. I would be interested a lot in a >= 10 inches color reader for children ebooks (epub, & cbr/cbz). Color and big size are needed for illustrations. IPS/Amoled Tablet are bad for children eyes.
Honestly for reading to kids I prefer reading from plain old books. I have tried having my kids read on ipads (which are in color) and the book experience is prefered. It is soon enough for them to read on an ereader when they have gotten past the point of needing pictures in every book.
I would love a color kindle paperwhite. I like my kindle paperwhite but there’s something about seeing the colorful covers, adding kindle cookbooks , and comics if wanted. All that without the eye strain of a phone screen or the kindle fire is a win for me
I disagree on many points here. I can see a market for kindle color. I will definitely buy it. Most technical books are full of diagrams which doesn’t really work in monochrome. Without that most current e-readers are useless as you can’t really grasp the full content of diagrams/charts etc. So there is a huge market for it.
Debbie J says
I love my paperwhite Kindle, but would love the book covers to be in colour when searching for my next book to read. A big part of reading is the joy of selecting your next book, a big part of this can sometimes be the cover. I know my friends who have kindles would buy one to, if it was just as it is now but in colour. The tech reasons for this not being possible will hopefully be resolved one day !
There is also the blue light factor and eye strain when it comes to reading from an Led screen. I would def buy a colour kindle.
In Brazil it’s very hard have access to e-readers, we only have the Kindle and Liv (from “saraiva”).
It’s my dream have those colored e-readers here but it’s very expensive to us (like, too expensive).
Amazon make thinks more accessible, like kindle and alexa, not that expensive and easy to use.
I wonder when amazon go makes the colorfully kindle and bring us this amazing way to read comics and so…
Yi G says
Well the most obvious reason Amazon should adopt colour Kindle is that, there’s the market for it.
Readers like me, preferring anything than LCD which is super aggressive to eyes. In particular, after a whole day working staring at a huge LCD screen crunching numbers & codes etc, it’s so much more relaxing to come to an ink screen and read nice stories before bed time, in contrary to LCD screen which will only tire your eyes and excite your brain, making sleeping impossible.
Not to mention how nice it would be to be able to buy a coloured kids kindle for one’s baby/toddlers. Older kids would appreciate black/white pure text kindle, sure, but don’t younger kids deserve their Kindle for pictured ebooks too?