Amazon Kindle Tablet Features Dual Screens?

Dave Zatz —  July 9, 2011 — 19 Comments

amazon-kindle-tablet

File this one under unsubstantiated rumor. A friend of the site recently shared a flight with a highly placed Amazon employee, or so he said. He also had a few things to say about Amazon’s upcoming tablet. Most notably that it features two displays: e-Ink on one side, color LCD on the other. And he seemed quite clear that this is front and back, versus the stacked displays seen on the original Barnes & Noble Nook or a dual mode screen, à la Pixel Qi. Which sounds pretty far fetched… How thick would the device have to be to support two screens and reasonable battery life? Also, beyond the Nintendo DS line, dual screen devices haven’t fared well. (Anyone remember the Samsung UpStage? I labeled it schizophrenic.)

Additionally this Amazon tablet, which wasn’t referred to as the Kindle 4, will be powered by Android and incorporates a clever case design that keeps the screens protected. Our source had no knowledge of pricing, but a design such as this would be hard pressed to keep pace with the $200 – $250 Nook Color. Unless Amazon subsidizes the tablet, hoping to recoup costs via app and book sales. Regarding timing, Amazon’s slate was expected to ship this month with a freedom-themed ad campaign to coincide with Independence Day. However, as the story goes, display shortages have delayed launch into August.

Sound plausible?

19 responses to Amazon Kindle Tablet Features Dual Screens?

  1. Sounds absurd. If Amazon’s first tablet is dual screen monstrosity, there won’t be a second Amazon tablet.

  2. This is awesome! Essentially, it is a hybrid ereader tablet. Perfect for the Amazon brand.

  3. Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I don’t see it. Too bulky / expensive IMO. But the truth *could* lie somewhere in the middle. Perhaps Amazon will be the first major company to build a tablet with a display like the Pixel Qi or Mirasol products; an eInk screen on steroids with support for color and fast refresh rates. Just taking a stab…. ;)

  4. I like the idea, but agree that weight will be an issue and a deal breaker. Weight is what has kept the iPad out of my hands. For quick computing I stll use the iPhone (like now) and for reading I use the uber light K3. I cannot imagine reading with a device that heavy, it will be as heavy as a hardcover Harry Potter book.

  5. I don’t know. This might be a good idea so u don’t have to carry around 2 devices and u get the best of both worlds. Big things are price, battery life and size. If they can shut off the other side and maybe have a switchable cover, it just might work. My 2 cents.

  6. I’m with Kevin and Mrsgeektonic – weight would be a major stumbler with this sort of setup not to mention it could be rather complicated to make the combo useful together. I think the “eInk screen on steroids” would be more likely.

    What your friend *might* have seen is a special Amazon case that allowed you to carry their new tablet on one side and a new Kindle on the other side? I don’t know. Still not sure even that would work. Hmm

  7. Scott G. Lewis July 9, 2011 at 10:24 am

    While I doubt that’s what they will ship, I would not be surprised if they had Experimented with that type of a form factor. I think Amazon is smart enough not to build an iPad looking clone and gave the form factor a LOT of thought.

  8. Yeah, a shipping front/back dual screen tablet seems far fetched for a variety of reasons. And I can’t imagine wanting a device like this due to potential size, weight, comfort issues versus any possible benefit. Now a slim lightweight Android tablet with an 7″ Pixel Qi screen, on the other hand, would appeal.

  9. This seems like a bad idea and/or hoax. There is no need for Amazon to mess with a good thing … or so I would think the powers-that-be would believe.

  10. Not gonna happen.

    Competitive advantages of the Kindle are:

    1. cheaper than any tablet
    2. battery life measured in weeks.

    Neither of the above would apply to a Franken-kindle.

  11. Jeremiah Wilson July 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I definitely think PixelQI is the way to go… The idea of cramming two screens on a device like that is just soo…1990.

  12. From what has come out from the offices in California that do this design work the tablet is a separate product from the Kindle.

  13. Since I commented over on The Digital Reader blog, I figure I should provide the info to our peeps as well. My source did have more info on the product, plan, and with whom he was speaking. However, it doesn’t add too much to the story and in case he wasn’t who he claimed or didn’t understand what he saw, I’d rather keep him out of it. Along with some other details that might ID him. Although, I think we all agree this sounds pretty far fetched — another reason to tread lightly in how we’ve decided to cover this.

    Also, to be clear, the image up top is purely my photoshop of the the Kno dual screen tablet reader thingy that never shipped.

  14. I’m frankly amazed that the Kindle is still viable. I long ago put my Kindle away, preferring to use Kindle for iPhone to read books (I also have Kindle for Android on my Dell Streak 5). The moment that Amazon releases an affordable, full service 7″ tablet, the Kindle as a standalone becomes obsolete.

  15. I agree that this isn’t likely but I can think of a few ways to implement it off the top of my head. However, battery life/device thickness would be the main concern. The device would have to be thicker than Nook Color.

    I still think that Amazon will emulate B&N and have an eInk product (Kindle 4 is supposed to be touchscreen like new e-ink Nook) and an Android tablet.

    If they wanted to be really mean, they’d go one step further and migrate e-ink Kindle to Android as well. Then everyone would be hacking Amazon products instead of B&N’s :P

    P.S. Speaking of Nook Color, B&N is selling refurbs on eBay for $190+tax — http://cgi.ebay.com/NOOK-Color-Barnes-Noble-Wi-Fi-eReader-/290583316074

  16. @jeff4298 I love reading on kindle for Android while on the go, its not nearly as nice as reading on eink …I wouldn’t give my kindle up for any bright lcd

  17. Agree with others this seems unlikely, and if true, would signal Amazon hasn’t a clue what they’re doing.

    I think Amazon has been making predictable, strategic moves in the Android space, and given their media delivery prowess, a color Amazon tablet would have a number of advantages over Android tablets from other vendors…

    - Likely lower price (ie. subsidized by Amazon, who will make follow on profits from book sales, app sales from the Amazon Android app store, video and movie sales, Amazon prime memberships for streaming, music sales, magazine sales, etc)

    - Better media integration and availability than anyone else except Apple

    - A curated app store, which at least some Android buyers may prefer to the wild west of Google’s app store, with its occasional spyware, masses of copyright violations, wildly variable quality, etc.

    I see no need at all for Amazon to resort to some bizarre product like this. A straight-forward tablet with hooks into Amazon’s services and a decent price would do nicely.

  18. FYI we’ve had about 3 dozen visits from amazon.com’s network since this post went up, with about 20ish yesterday (a weekday). Not sure how Lab126 shows up, but based on the limited visits and their very limited time on the site (averaging 24 seconds), I’d say this is not a direct hit.

  19. 24 seconds means they just skimmed through article enough to figure out the tipster is off?

    I wonder how much time Amazon folks spent reading this item — http://www.bgr.com/2011/07/11/barnes-noble-nook-color-leads-ereader-market-for-first-time-ever-idc-states/ (although, I’m not sure IDC data is complete since I thought Amazon was keeping sales figures for Kindle sales through Amazon.com secret).

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