, which was the company's first piece of hardware, turned the reading world upside-down. Even now, the Kindle is the e-reader of choice, and it's the first device that comes to mind when you're thinking of e-paper, e-ink, and e-readers in general. But the iPad
made everyone think twice about the technology; was an e-ink screen really needed? Was it better to use an LCD, get color images, video, etc., and still have 10 hours of battery life? That debate rages on, but there's no doubt that the pressure is on for Amazon to consider a color version of the Kindle in order to better compete with the crazy amount of tablet PCs that are coming out this year.
The company's CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently stated at an annual meeting of Amazon shareholders, that the Kindle will remained focused on the core e-reader contingent, noting that they've already sold millions of the devices. When addressing the color e-ink concerns more directly, he had this to say: "The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being a very focused product. Serious readers are going to want a purpose-built device, because it's an important activity for them. If an activity is important, you get dedicated devices."
But Bezos stated that the ability to offer "high-quality color" on e-ink type displays was "still some ways out," and while he has seen early devices in labs, there weren't anywhere near ready for mass production. That's somewhat disappointing, but it leaves the door open for other competitors to make a move before Amazon; in the e-reader market, there's really no big competition for these guys, so if someone else pushes out a color version first, that can only be great news for readers the world over.