Last week, Amazon purchased a company specializing in touchscreen technology called Touchco in an apparent attempt to spruce up the Kindle in light of Apple’s recently announced iPad. Now, it seems that Amazon has its eyes set on revamping the entire Kindle experience from the ground up.
The New York Times reports on a slew of job postings at Amazon that all hint at a major overhaul of the Kindle, which is currently nothing more than an e-book reader.
One job opening in particular, for a Hardware Display Manager, tells the applicant that “you will know the LCD business and key players in the market.” The key point here is the word “LCD,” which means the Kindle is possibly exploring color (unless they are hiring an LCD manager to simply gain an understanding of the color-display market).
Other job openings include Wi-Fi specialists (the current Kindle has only a 3G wireless connection), and openings for someone to “lead the software development teams that develop and maintain the applications.” The applications division could signal a move to create more apps for the Kindle, or someone who will manage the latest app store developments after Amazon announced a new software development kit was released last month to independent programmers.
The question then becomes, what exactly is Amazon trying to do with the Kindle? Originally a singular purpose e-book reader, will Amazon now try and position the as a multipurpose computer with built-in wifi, access to apps, and a web browser? Will it abandon e-ink and instead move to a color LCD display? WIll Amazon split the Kindle line into 2 separate products, as the report from the Times speculates?
So many questions, and it’ll be more than interesting to see what moves Amazon makes in the coming months. There’s no doubt, though, that Amazon has a long road to climb. The Kindle, though beloved by many a hardcore reader, isn’t exactly the pinacle of either hardware or software innovation, and it remains to be seen if Amazon can pool together its resources in such a manner as to effectively offer an attractive alternative to Apple’s iPad.