The new WiFi-only version of Kindle is $139, it uses the latest generation of E-Ink screens, with faster refresh, better contrast. It might be the worlds first e-reader to use the latest Freescale i.MX508 processor, which means the e-ink controller is integrated in the ARM processor SoC, which allows for 21% smaller design, 15% lower weight and significantly lower cost, while improving the processing speed at up to Cortex level to achieve faster refresh rates and optimizing more things such as doubling of battery runtime, faster e-book downloading times, usable web browsing speeds and more.
Sub-$140 connected e-ink e-readers are a big deal. Amazon is already selling more e-books to the Kindle e-readers than they are selling paper books. And consider that Amazon is the worlds largest online retailer of paper books. This e-book revolution has happened in less than 2 years since the release of the Kindle. Since Amazon’s strategy is to make revenues and profits from sales of the content on their closed Kindle platform, it should be even possible for Amazon to further lower the price as needed, thus $99 Kindle shouldn’t be far away. What happens, is that from about 5 million e-ink e-readers sold in 2009, there might be 15 million of those e-ink e-readers sold pretty soon.
Google is coming with the Google Editions E-book system later this summer, meaning next month or so. My big question is this, will Amazon allow Google’s e-book system onto all Kindles through a firmware update? The way for Amazon to allow this to happen would be for Google Book Store to be only complementary to Amazon’s current Book store. Basically, any titles that Amazon has in its store would be purchased through its own store, while google would only provide access to all contents that are not yet in the Kindle store. On those out of print or otherwise unavailable in Kindle Store contents, Amazon would be making a decent share of the revenue through a partnership agreement with Google. The point being that it could be great for Kindle and Google to have a partnership and a new firmware integration. If Amazon does not open its platform to Google, I expect we will see several new e-ink e-readers sold $99 or below from many manufacturers that will be using a special version of Android that Google must be working on to release with Google Editions. As Google will provide revenue sharing for the manufacturers of devices that access Google Editions and other online sources of monetizable contents, expect some type of AdSense for e-readers.