in eBooks, Ramblings, Tech

The forgotten Kindle

I don’t think there’s any consumer product line I’m more conflicted about than the Kindle. As a consumer, my Kindle Touch makes me very happy. At the same time, the Kindle Fire I’ve used made me very sad. (And as a librarian, well that’s another story entirely.)

But one thing’s for sure, the whole family of devices continues to be a big hit. Today’s announcement of the expansion of the Fire line to three different devices will no doubt have a major effect on the tablet market. And I’m certainly lusting after the new ‘paperwhite’ Kindle.

But what about the Kindle DX? The current version of this largest Kindle (with an 9.7″ e-ink screen) was released over two years ago, and hasn’t seen a major software upgrade since that time. Despite being seemingly tailor-made for reading PDF journal articles comfortably on an e-ink screen, the DX is missing the advanced PDF highlighting and navigation functions that were added to all the smaller Kindles long ago. The price hasn’t changed since July 2010 either – it’s still $379. (For the record, $379 could buy you five regular Kindles with money left over for books now.)

At this point I have to wonder what plans Amazon has for the DX. Sometimes I picture a warehouse somewhere packed full of the devices after an accidental massive over-order long ago. But even if that were true, why hasn’t the price dropped at all?

Amazon sometimes has mysterious motives, but with the DX it seems to be playing an unusually long and confusing game.

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  1. I guess probably there are production issues with e-ink screens that large.

    Sony’s XEL-1 was the first OLED TV, 11″ @ $2500 back in 2008. ($44.43/sq inch)

    Despite a significant number of OLED displays in small electronics, then 3-4″ cellphones, then 7.7″ galaxy tab, we haven’t seen that display tech pushed much beyond that to date.

    LG 55EM9600 and Samsung ES9500 are 55″ OLED TVs that are scheduled for release later this year @ ~$8000. ($5.69/sq inch)

    Amazon may have decided that even if component prices have fallen drastically, there’s not enough market demand in the 10″ e-ink space to justify redesigning the DX. A pity – I know a couple of people that own a DX and a couple more that would if it was priced in line with the current Kindle lineup.