CNet is reporting that Amazon is likely to ship a color e-ink kindle sometime in 2012. E-ink screens are important because they do not have a backlight and require light from an external source just like a regular book. This is better on the eyes and better for people that have sleep issues associated with backlighted screens (about 10% of the population).
Liliputing (a computer news site devoted to small sized computers and tablets) had two stories of interest. One is that the USPS has said that starting May 16, 2012, you can no longer ship lithium batteries or devices that have lithium batteries overseas. This would include Kindles, iPads, cell phones and a variety of other electronic devices. This will impact several charities that use USPS to get ebook readers to troops.
Kindle Fire users have a new security features with the new update. Parental controls, password protected purchases, locking the web browser and disabling portions of the library are all features in the new 6.3.1 operating system upgrade. These features are useful for parents that are concerned about their children using the Kindle Fire unassisted.
A few weeks ago Amazon announced that you could purchase the Harry Potter books for kindle. It is a bit cumbersome and you have to go outside the kindle store. This week, Amazon announced that starting June 19th, the Harry Potter books will be added to the Amazon Prime Lending Library. This lending library allows Prime members to borrow one book a month for free. Amazon has been aggressively expanding the Lending Library which opened last fall with about 5000 books. There are now more than 145,000 books in the lending library.
The Kindle Fire sales have slumped pretty dramatically in the first quarter of 2012. According to a report by IDC, Amazon’s Kindle Fire made up 17% of all tablet sales in the 4th quarter of 2011. But that dropped to 4% of all tablet sales in the 1st quarter of 2012. At the same time Apple increased it tablet market penetration going from 55% in 4th quarter to 68% in the first quarter 2012. The same news story reported that it was likely that a larger Kindle Fire will be released in late 2nd quarter or early 3rd quarter of 2012.