What Should the Next Amazon Kindle Have?

Ars Technica posted a detailed analysis of the current generation Kindle, and covered some recent rumors about the second generation of Amazon’s eBook reader, saying that they’ve heard Amazon may be on the verge of announcing a Kindle 2.0. A source aware of the launch plans described it to Ars Technica as “the device they wanted to release in the first place.”


As the article points out, we still have no idea how well the first one is doing. Sure, it’s out of stock all the time as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos likes to say on a regular basis. But given that the company hasn’t released any sales figures, “out of stock” could mean that they make 100 of them at a time, or it could mean they’ve sold hundreds of thousands of them.

The reality is that it’s probably somewhere between those extremes; at 400 bucks plus extra data charges for its various Web services, it’s not the kind of device that will sell millions, at least not yet.

Ars Technica is betting that while there is a small chance that “Amazon may have fixed some of the minor hardware annoyances, such as the flaky charge indicator, the general hardware configuration appears to be here for a while.” So they’re predicting that we’ll see some software updates.

While the article discussed smaller improvements to the blog and news site delivery modeled after today’s RSS readers, the gist seems to be that the Kindle needs a more coherent vision for its user interface:

“The progress for user-driven activities is displayed in different locations, sometimes using different graphics, and is frequently absent entirely. The scrolling LCD to the right of the E Ink screen allows simple dynamic displays, but it’s used inconsistently. A top-to-bottom rethinking of how the device keeps its users engaged and informed would require a lot of work, but such a usability reboot is probably the most significant thing that Amazon could bring to a Kindle 2.0.”