Amazon’s extra-large Kindle DX is available this weekend (which is to say for the next few hours) for the low, low price of $259, down from its normal $379. It’s telling that even the lowered price still seems ridiculously high, considering that smaller but more advanced models are selling for under $100. How long can this outlier live in a world dominated by cheap, pocketable, touchscreen e-readers?
In its current form, the fact is it’s likely on its way out. The Kindle Keyboard and indeed the graphite look in general are on their way out, to be replaced by the lighter, thinner, more touchable new generation. But there’s a problem: the DX is one of the very few e-readers that doesn’t use the same 6″ E-Ink screen as everyone else. Amazon probably knows there’s demand there, but perhaps the time is not yet right to strike.
As you no doubt remember, the Fire was rumored even before its release to be the first of two or more tablets; the next one is supposed to have a larger screen. Makes sense. Amazon wanted to test the waters, and the 7″ tablet was a much easier way to do that. The popularity of the tablet (despite a lukewarm critical reception) doesn’t guarantee a larger version, but I think Amazon would be fools not to do it.
What does this have to do with the DX? As long as they’re unveiling one big e-reader, why not two? Okay, that’s not very convincing. But the DX is a fish out of water right now, and it needs to be either replaced or put out to pasture. I think Amazon is going to keep the large e-reader as a premium option, but it needs more time to engineer it. Who knows, maybe they’re waiting on the next set of screens from E-Ink.
If I had to prophesy, I’d expect a late-summer event with a bigger Fire (the “Flame” maybe?) and a bigger, improved DX, and depending on E-Ink, perhaps an improved screen. By that time, remember, the high-res iPad 3 will supposedly be out, as will a few other high-res tablets that will offer a superior reading experience owing to their superior displays, LCD as they may be.
Personally, I can’t wait for a decent large-screen e-reader. These little ones are frustrating and it saddens me to see the leaders of the e-reader industry putting out products that are scarcely distinguishable from one another.