Monday, May 04, 2009

New Larger-Screened Amazon Device Debuts Wednesday: Report

Amazon.com has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, and the last such press conference they held unveiled the Kindle 2. This time, it appears to be a larger-format reader, one tilted toward reading newspapers and magazines rather than books.

It's unclear if the device will add color support or anything else people have been asking for in terms of the Kindle 2.

Whether or not this device will be called the Kindle 3 or whatever remains to be seen. The invite from Amazon.com reads:
"We’d like to invite you to an Amazon.com press conference scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 at 10:30 am ET. The press conference is scheduled to take place at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, located at 3 Spruce Street, New York City. Doors will open for registration at 9:30 am ET."
Thing is, the New York Times, which is partnering on the device with Amazon.com has already written about the device, although even the NYT writer can't get details from its own NYT spokesperson. Not surprising, if it were CNN speaking to the NYT, and not surprising overall, but humorous because of the context.
An Amazon spokesman would not comment, but some news organizations, including The New York Times, are expected to be involved in the introduction of the device, according to people briefed on the plans. A spokeswoman for The Times, Catherine J. Mathis, said she could not comment on the company’s relationship with Amazon.
Once again Amazon.com appears to be being snarky by using Pace University, which is located on the 19th-century home of the New York Times, as the location of the press conference. The Kindle 2 was introduced at a library, remember?

There's also info that Barbara Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University, and Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the board of the New York Times Company will join Amazon's Jeff Bezos at the press conference Wednesday. This adds the already rumored textbooks to the mix.

Many in the downtrodden newspaper and magazine industry are publicly hoping that these new larger-screen readers will be the savior of the industry, but while more companies besides just Amazon.com are looking into these sorts of readers, one has to wonder if this will really make any difference.

After all, people have gotten so used to free info on the Internet. Additionally, I have already brought up my reservations about carrying an expensive, somewhat fragile device like the Kindle around, and now they want me to carry around something larger? Personally, not unless they get the price down or offer some sort of reasonable loss insurance.

We'll see, though. The newspaper industry is in shambles, and no less than Warren Buffett said recently he foresees a prolonged downturn among publishers.
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