Amazon hasn’t introduced a splashy Kindle update this year, but the company did confirm to TechCrunch it has increased storage on its devices from 2GB to 4GB (of which a portion is dedicated to system software), meaning those who purchased the gadget since around last month or so are able to hold about twice the number of digital books on their devices.
The boost was originally spotted by e-reading blog The Digital Reader, which took the news of the mid-season update as an indicator that Amazon wasn’t planning to release a Kindle hardware refresh this year. The Kindle Paperwhite update here is more likely indicative of Amazon taking the opportunity to pass along savings found in its supply chain owing to the dropping cost of flash memory to consumers, however, and probably not reflective of their product roadmap.
The doubling of storage won’t mean much to most Kindle users – ebooks don’t take up much space at all, and even the 2GB version can hold over 1,000 books. Estimates about how many books people will read in their lifetime vary wildly, but 5,000 is impressive for even habitual readers, and given Kindle connectivity and Amazon’s free cloud backup of your purchases, 1,000 books or 2,000 books’ worth of local storage is really splitting hairs.
We’ve heard a lot of buzz in the past regarding a Paperwhite update, including our own report about a so-called “Ice Wine” prototype that has a much more dense 300 ppi screen for better text rendering, along with a display that’s made of some kind of matte glass which is flush with the device case. The new Kindle is also said to be much lighter overall.
In June, a Businessweek article reiterated that a thinner Kindle was indeed in the works at Amazon’s Lab126 hardware laboratory, which could be on track for introduction this year. Amazon has released new Kindle reader devices in the fall since the introduction of the Kindle 4 in 2011, so it’s very reasonable to expect any new Paperwhite reveal to fall around the same time period for 2014.