Amazon.com's third-generation Kindle has temporarily sold out, according to the online retailer, with orders apparently expected to ship on or before Sept. 4. Amazon is currently battling Barnes & Noble, Apple and other e-reader manufacturers for e-reader market share.
Amazon.com's Kindle may be in fierce competition against the Apple iPad and
other e-readers, but that apparently hasn't dampened consumer enthusiasm for
the latest version of the device: Amazon now lists the Kindle as "temporarily
sold out," with orders expected to ship "on or before September 4th."
The cheaper Kindle WiFi, which lacks a 3G connection for downloading books
also sold out
. The larger-screen Kindle DX remains in stock, however.
Amazon announced its third-generation Kindle e-reader July 28, in a bid to
leapfrog both the iPad and e-readers such as Barnes & Noble's Nook, which
have squeezed a market that Amazon once comfortably dominated, at least with
regard to mindshare. The newest Kindle features a 6-inch e-ink screen with 50
percent better contrast, a body that's 21 percent smaller and 15 percent
lighter, and an advertised battery life of up to one month.
In a bid to make the Kindle more appealing as a personal-document device-and
to presumably counter smaller e-reader manufacturers planning devices for that
market segment-Amazon also added support for password-protected PDFs, Wikipedia
access and dictionary lookup to the device.
The Kindle retails for $189, and the Kindle WiFi for $139. Both were
originally scheduled to ship Aug. 27.
Since early 2009, when some analysts dismissed them as largely a niche
product, e-readers have managed to grow in both features and popularity. After
months of tit-for-tat software upgrades, which saw the introduction of
Android-based games for the Nook and social-networking integration for the
Kindle, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble took their cold war to a new level
with radical price cuts. On June 21, the Nook's cost dropped to $189; not to be
outdone, Amazon lowered the Kindle's price tag to $189 that same afternoon.
Barnes & Noble also introduced a WiFi-only version of the Nook for $149,
Amazon's new Kindle WiFi undercuts by $10
Despite the back-and-forth between the two companies, their biggest
competitive threat may have arrived in the form of the Apple iPad, which
includes an e-reader application.
"Last night, Apple stated it has shipped 3.27 [million] iPads since the
April product launch, surpassing our estimate for an installed base of [around
3 million] Amazon Kindles to date despite supply constraints," Marianne
Wolk, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, wrote in a co-authored July
21 analyst report. "As [Apple's] supply constraints ease, Apple iPad
shipments should ramp and it could ship as many as 12 to 15 [million] iPads in
2010-a compelling base for publishers to consider."
Although Amazon has argued that the Kindle's e-ink screen offers a better
reading experience and battery life than backlit screens such as the iPad and
traditional desktops, it has nonetheless been aggressive in pushing its Kindle
e-reader application for the iPad, PCs and a plethora of mobile devices.
On Aug. 2, Connecticut
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced an investigation
publishers, Apple and Amazon over "agreements ... that may block competitors
from offering cheaper e-book prices." Should that investigation gain
momentum, it could add yet another wrinkle to what has already become a very
complex competitive arena.