Kindle to stay focused on reading, no color version soon

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The Independent Tech

Amazon's Kindle, which is facing competition from Apple's multi-purpose iPad, will remain a dedicated electronic book reader and a color model is "some way out," Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Tuesday.

"The Kindle is all about reading," Bezos said at Amazon's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, which was streamed live on the Web.

"The Kindle device will succeed by being the best dedicated e-reader in the world," he said, comparing it to a camera on a phone and a dedicated camera.

"I have a camera on my smartphone and I like it because it's always with me, it's extremely useful," he said. "But I have two other cameras, a small compact camera that I take hiking and a heavy SLR camera."

"If activities are important, then they end up getting dedicated devices because they're always going to do the job better," Bezos said.

"Kindle will compete with LCD devices like the iPad primarily by being a very focused product," he said. "Serious readers, they're going to want a purpose-built device because that's an important activity for them."

The touchscreen iPad, which Apple began selling last month, is an e-reader but also allows users to watch video, listen to music, play games or surf the Web.

The iPad has a color LCD display compared with the black-and-white Kindle, which uses electronic ink technology.

Bezos said the LCD screen "comes with significant drawbacks for long-form reading."

"Among them is increased eye strain because you're reading with someone shining a backlight in your eyes," he said. "Beach-side reading, vacation reading becomes very complicated if not impossible."

The Amazon chief said a color display for the Kindle is "still some way out."

"There are several things in the laboratory, but they're not quite ready for primetime production," he said.

Bezos also said Amazon was "investing very heavily in China."

"I do not underestimate how much potential there is there," he said.

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