It has become fairly common for hardware companies to release product refreshes on some sort of schedule. Just look at Apple, you can just about set your watch by its product updates (no matter how much it may like to act like it’s going to surprise us with the release schedule), and it constantly keeps its lines fresh and ongoing. And it isn’t just Apple, you look at just about any gadget company, and you can see they all refresh their product lines at least once a year, if not more.
So what the heck is up with Amazon and the Kindle e-reader?
When the original Kindle launched on Nov. 19th, 2007, no one had really seen anything quite like it before, and you have to give it credit for setting off the current e-reader craze. It was then 16-months until a refresh came about, and that was the Kindle 2 on Feb. 9, 2009. This was somewhat excusable because there really was nothing else like it out there, so there was no sense of having to beat the competition to the punch. A totally different model was launched, the larger-sized DX, on June 10, 2009, but as the two models exist separately, it certainly was not just an upgrade.
Here we are now in 2010, and the e-reader market is getting progressively more crowded, and it has been 14-months since an update, and there has been no indication that a new version will be coming any time soon. Some would ask why one needs to happen when it was still the number one selling product on Amazon this past quarter, but there also wasn’t the iPad during that time frame, nor any of the other multitude of new readers out there now.
Need more evidence that it needs to get an upgrade out? The latest ads are promoting the fact that it is easy to read in sunlight and only weighs 10.2 ounces. That’s it? Those are selling points? The Alex has begun shipping, Barnes & Noble is preparing two new versions of the Nook and, yes, the iPad is a tablet, but it is also an e-reader.
People want the latest and the greatest, and an e-reader released 14-months ago is not going to meet that qualification here pretty soon. If Amazon wants this device to continue being its top selling item, it is going to have to update, and it’s going to have to do it soon. Sure we all complain about constant updates, but at the end of the day, we all want them, and so does the general public.
Come on, Amazon. Get on it, bring us the Kindle 3.