Amazon To Launch Color Ebook Reader Later This Year, Says Report

A color Kindle might be on the way. Industry watchdog publication, Digitimes, says Amazon will launch one in the second half of this year. The report goes on to state that the new models will forgo the traditional infrared touchpanels used in the current model for multitouch capacitive panels. Digitimes expects Amazon to adapt E Ink’s upcoming color EPD panels in their ereaders so don’t expect LCD displays.

This move, if true, would put the Kindle in a strange spot between a full-scale tablet and a tradition b/w ereader. Amazon has so far been very successful in marketing the Kindle’s grayscale screen against full color tablets like the iPad. The Kindle Fire showed that there is a demand for color ereaders as well, though. A color eink display might be the start of a larger content push from Amazon.

Magazines are a hard sell on grayscale ereaders right now. The publications lose all the flash they work so hard to curate. Amazon knows this. However, at $200, the Kindle Fire is still out of reach for a lot of consumers and Amazon’s primary goal with its Kindle line is selling content, not hardware. A color eink Kindle would likely allow Amazon to make a big push into digital zines and perhaps even textbooks.

Color eink screens have been floating around industry tradeshows for several years now. But they have so far been unable to make it to the market. If this report pans out, which seems likely, Amazon might release the first color eink ereader — if not, the company always has the glowing Kindle that we know is on tap.