Nook vs. Kindle – the Battle Heats Up

Amazon two-screen Kindle Android tablet

Blogger Dave Katz imagines Amazon’s next device


The Nook outsold the Kindle in the first three months of 2011.

That’s according to the research firm IDC — though there’s more to the story. Sales for all digital readers dropped dramatically — by nearly 50% — in the first three months of 2011, according to their analysis, from 6.5 million readers to just 3.3 million. And apparently, it’s normal for sales to drop after the big spike in buying before Christmas.

“IDC analysts blamed the shipment drops on a normal first-quarter seasonality,” notes one article, which also cites “slow economic conditions and supply constraints” as a possible reason for the slow-down in sales. But the research firm is still predicting 16.2 million readers will be shipped in 2011 — 24% more than the year before. “IDC sees the first quarter as an aberration, with e-reader sales picking up during the remainder of the year.”

There’s two things that make this really interesting. First, IDC says the Nook outsold the Kindle partly because they have a color version of their digital reader. And second, they note that tablets with an Android operating system actually increased their share of the tablet market to 34% — more than 8.2% higher than it was just three months earlier. Does this suggest Amazon’s future should be a color, Android tablet? If these statistics are true, Amazon’s facing real pressure to deliver an exciting new product when they release their next device.

It’s an anxious environment — filled with eager anticipating, and the delicious mystery of what Amazon will do — and it’s led to new whispers about how the next Amazon device will look. One blogger heard it will have two different screens, an e-ink screen on one side and a color/LCD screen on the other. “File this one under unsubstantiated rumor,” joked blogger Dave Zatz — and reactions to the idea were mixed, judging by the comments left on his site. “This is awesome!” wrote one reader. ” Essentially, it is a hybrid ereader tablet. Perfect for the Amazon brand.”

“Sounds absurd,” wrote a second reader. “If Amazon’s first tablet is dual screen monstrosity, there won’t be a second Amazon tablet.” And another commenter even dubbed it the Franken-Kindle. “This seems like a bad idea and/or hoax. There is no need for Amazon to mess with a good thing…”

“This is a rumor that you can write off as an impossibility…” read a post at another blog called The Kindle Reader. “I’m sure Amazon played with the concept, but I don’t see how they could plan to release one.” But on that site, another comment offered a theory that was even more interesting. “It may simply be that Amazon is developing a tablet that can in fact drive an e-ink panel and an LCD using the same motherboard, firmware, battery, etc.” Of course, they also proposed a third theory. “It may also be that someone at Amazon (Bezos?) is having a bit of fun off the rumormongers.

“I know I would if I were him.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.