Amazon has been in the e-Reader game for over 6 years now and their involvement has revolutionized the way society reads books. One of their most popular e-Readers to date is the Kindle Paperwhite, a device that provides access to hundreds of thousands of books in a digital form without encountering common issues like screen glare or poor battery life that many competing models are plagued with.
Since the latest Kindle Paperwhite model was released on September 30th, it is rather surprising to already see rumors circulating about a refreshed version of the device. TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon is planning to offer a revamped Paperwhite model sometime in Q2 of 2014 and the device will see several noticeable increases in terms design and technical specs.
Here is what we gathered about the new Kindle Paperwhite throughout all the speculation:
- The device will feature an updated 300 ppi screen (up from 212 ppi)
- New typography (fonts) will be added to increase the ease of use & readability
- The body of the device (backside) will be shaped after the current line of Kindle Fire HDX tablets & include a similar rear power button
- New buttons are expected to be integrated into the sides of the device to allow the changing of pages without needing to reach out with your thumb and signal for a page turn via the touchscreen.
- The software is not expected to change and will just be upscaled to match the higher DPI screen
- A new ambient light sensor will be integrated into the front of the device to precisely calculate the lighting in your environment and adjust the screen brightness appropriately
While this is exciting news for the potential new eReader there are two concerns that I have with the situation. One is the frustration that current Paperwhite owners might feel when a new, updated model comes out less 10 months after the current model's release. It seems the consumer electronics industry is moving at rate that almost seems unsustainable from a consumer perspective and it is becoming increasingly tough to keep up with the latest trends. It often feels like each time you upgrade to the latest and greatest gadget, a newer one gets released shortly after.
Secondly, could be issues with the price point. While the current $119 pricing is reasonable for most consumer budgets, the upgrade in the screen and design could call for an increase in price much like it did with Apple's iPad Mini Retina model. While this is unlikely, it is a potential scenario that could backfire for Amazon as it is difficult for them to increase specs while keeping the device at such a low price-point. At this stage, only time will tell so we will just have to wait and see what Amazon has in store as we move into the new year.
However, I would recommend any consumers who are looking to buy a Paperwhite, hold off on their purchase for a few months as your patience will likely reward you with an updated version for the same price as the current generation.
Stay tuned for any more details as they are announced!