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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 26, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Amazon plans for color Kindle: Sooner rather than later?

Jeff Bezos may have spoken too soon.

He told Amazon.com shareholders on Tuesday that a color Kindle is “still a long way out” and the displays he’s seen aren’t good enough yet.

But a few blocks away at the Society for Information Display conference, members of his Kindle team may have discovered what looks like a perfectly good color display material.

They liked LG’s 9.7-inch electronic paper display material so much, according to an LG engineer, they asked the Korean company if Amazon’s Kindle group could be the first customer..

“Amazon had so many people come to our booth,” said David Park, team leader of LG Display’s advanced color electronic display research group. They “said they want to be the first customer.”

Also visiting the booth were people working on the competing Nook reader for Barnes & Noble, Park said.

Park said he’s expecting products with the 9.7-inch display to appear on the market starting in October.

LG’s material is brighter and weighs less than competing technologies, he said, and it outputs 65,000 colors.

Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said plans haven’t changed since the shareholder meeting.

“We don’t speculate on future plans, but nothing’s changed from what Jeff said,” he said.

LG’s 9.7-inch color displays were created with textbooks and comic books in mind, Park said. He contends electronic books are better for textbooks than devices like the iPad because they are easier on the eyes for extended reading and they won’t be used for playing games.

IMAG0043.jpg

LG also is making a similar sized black and white version that will be used on the Skiff reader coming to market later this year.

A 19-inch version that’s designed for electronic newspapers was also being demonstrated, but Park said it won’t come to market for a few years.

Here are two images of the 9.7-inch color electronic paper display and a shot of the 19-incher.

IMAG0045.jpg

19-inch electronic paper display.jpg

Comments | Topics: Amazon.com, amazon.com, Digital media

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