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Amazon says Kindle won't chase iPad, focused on reading

updated 03:00 pm EDT, Tue May 25, 2010

Amazon's Bezos not worried about color Kindle

Amazon won't try to copy the iPad with future versions of the Kindle, CEO Jeff Bezos said in an annual shareholders' meeting today. He stressed that the Kindle would emphasize e-reading and likened its role to that of a dedicated camera versus a phone camera. Just as a phone is multi-purpose but won't be the best camera, an iPad won't necessarily be the best reader, Bezos said.

"The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being a very focused product," he explained. "Serious readers are going to want a purpose-built device, because it's an important activity for them."

E-paper was part of this focus as it gave the Kindle a number of advantages that aren't present with LCD. Its absence of a backlight makes the Kindle easier to read without eyestrain, especially outdoors. Very efficient display refreshes also give it significantly longer battery life.

Bezos was asked about the possibility of a color screen on the Kindle but repeated a dismissal from last year. He warned that a Kindle with adequate color was "still some ways out."

The statements somewhat contradict Amazon's own hiring plans, which have shown it recruiting for LCD experience and buying out a multi-touch technology inventor. If still committed to e-paper, Amazon would still have access to video-capable displays and touch input for a Kindle update this year.

Bezos wouldn't say at the meeting how many Kindles had been sold, only saying that "millions" had been shipped. Most believe the iPad is likely to catch up to the Kindle by the end of the year as Apple moved one million iPads in a single month and is showing no signs of slowing down.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Right approach

    That's a smart decision. It'll never catch the iPad. e-paper has a readability that is unique to dedicated readers that the iPad can't use.

  1. Tulse

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yeah, just like dedicated cameras

    "He stressed that the Kindle would emphasize e-reading and likened its role to that of a dedicated camera versus a phone camera."

    And what is the trend for dedicated cameras versus cameras in multi-use devices like phones?

  1. bjurasz1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good move

    Tulse, I'm sure Nikon, Canon, Olympus and company all think the future for dedicated cameras is quite healthy, thank you very much. Amazon is making a smart move.

  1. Climb AZ

    Joined: Dec 1969



    that's a good call and he's right. They would be smart to focus on reading. There's room for both.

  1. shiggie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    so, not long term then

    Bezos probably can track digital camera sales himself. I'd guess they're not growing as the camera phones get better and better.

    Selling books, whether it's through their diminishing Kindle sales, or iPad/iPhone, is probably good enough.

  1. byRyan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Actually, the current trend for Dedicated cameras is HD video options making cameras like Canon's 5D a major player in the TV world.

    So they are taking over another niche rather then remaining content.

  1. MorituriMax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good move, wrong implementation

    So okay, fine, the kindle won't pursue the iPad, it's just for reading books. Too bad it doesn't even do that as well as the Kindle Reader on the iPad. The iPad can do kindle PLUS everything else it does with 200,000+ apps (anybody have stats on the percentage of iPad/iPhone apps that just plain suck?), I use the iPad kindle reader and don't have any problem with the backlit display personally.

    But the iPad is a dedicated book reader, and email reader, and word processor, and pinball machine, and weather tracker, and beer and pretzels game console, etc....etc....etc..... and soon an audible book player (I hope).

    I do thank them for putting the kindle app on the iPad, all my books will be bought from Amazon from now on.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It would be foolish for Amazon to even try

    because they don't have a full-media ecosystem for the Kindle. What gets me is that all these companies that think they're going to compete with the iPad somehow believe they can build an ecosystem in months once they've suddenly got some tablet device. Just before the iPad was first introduced, the critics were saying how sparse content would be for the iPad even though Apple had the largest full media library in existence with iTMS. If that's the case, then where do competitors stand with nothing even close to iTMS?

    Apple was planning the tablet for years and now these rival companies believe they can develop a competitive tablet ecosystem in mere months and easily take market share away. I honestly can't see it happening like that. If I had a company, I'd take one look at Apple's cash reserve and what financial effort they could put behind any venture and I'd probably avoid competing with them.

  1. ethical_paul

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That's the best move...

    ...but it's not good enough.

    I applaud him for doing the right thing with his device, but the thing is destined for failure, sorry Jeff.

    The only useful thing worthy of note (over an iPad, say) is the nice appearance of the e-ink in the sun. But who reads in the sun? I guess beach readers. So OK, beach readers are going to buy the thing maybe. Who else?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Some of you say it isn't enough or whatever. What would be enough? If they said they were making it bigger and better, you'd say it would never come close to the iPad and will fail.

    Generally, this is the same comment about every device. One wonders why all these companies just don't close their doors, since Apple will always have them beat.

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