Amazon is enjoying great success with its latest third generation Kindle reader right now. An upgrade – which includes a new display with 50% better contrast, a new smaller and lighter body, quicker page turns and a doubling of memory capacity from 2GB to 4GB – accompanied by a price cut and the introduction of an entry level Wi-Fi only model, has seen demand for the Kindle reader really take off.
Currently, the new upgraded Kindles are out of stock and prospective customers face a three to four week wait before any new ones begin shipping. Kindle books are also outselling traditional hardback editions on a regular basis. It looks to be only a matter of time before e-book sales outstrip paperback sales.
Amazon has also launched a dedicated UK Kindle store so that UK customers no longer need to have their Kindles shipped across the Atlantic and can pay for their Kindle purchases in their local currency. It seems reasonable to assume that similar “local” Kindle stores will be opened for other Amazon international websites such as France, Japan, Germany etc. in the relatively near future.
In short, everything in the garden is pretty rosy for Amazon right now. Whilst many industry watchers suggested that the launch of Apple’s iPad would sound the death knell for the Kindle, there is little evidence to suggest that this is, in fact, the case. The Amazon policy of releasing free “apps” which allow Kindle books to be read on a wide variety of different devices seems to be paying dividends. So, considering what a massive success they have enjoyed with their first manufactured product, it’s hardly surprising that Amazon is rumored to be considering developing prototypes for personal tech gadgets other than the Kindle in their Lab 126 research facility.
Amazon has made no comment on what they may, or may not, be developing, but it has been suggested that they may be looking at mobile phones and music and/or movie players. However, industry watchers suggest that, if Amazon wanted to enter the market with another gadget, then they would need to ensure that they add value rather than simply releasing another piece of personal electronic tech onto the market.
A great deal of the success of the Kindle reader must be attributed to Amazon’s strong link with books and reading in general. The massive choice of Kindle books available – in excess of 630,000 and growing daily – and the fact that these can be read on so many other devices has been a real feather in Amazon’s cap. Any new gadget that Amazon decided to release would certainly need some similar type of support in order to achieve anything approaching the level of the Kindle’s success.
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