Amazon's obviously proud of its Kindle e-reader, but this morning its execs may have something to worry about: Barnes & Noble may be about to stamp on the Kindle's future hopes... with a slick color e-reader from Plastic Logic.
Yes, the phrase "Kindle killer" is a bit clichéd, and it's been applied several times to different devices—we used it in July to reference Plastic Logic's hotly-tipped grayscale e-reader device, after PL brokered a deal with AT&T to use the network in the U.S. and partnered with Barnes & Noble for content. This set up the device to be a real competitor to Amazon's Kindle. It has the right technology, and its design outclasses the rather '90s feel of the Kindles. But this morning Barnes & Noble has revealed that there's actually a color version of the device on the way... and that would outclass Amazon's offering in a single stroke.
Speaking at CTIA a B&N spokesman, Daniel Joresson, spilled the beans—a color Plastic Logic device is due in Spring 2010. It's possibly going to follow a grayscale version of the device, which is strongly rumored to arrive before the end of the year, and it tallies with text on Plastic Logic's own Web site which notes a paperback-sized color display is "around the corner." Check out the video of the news from blogger JBruin:
Spring next year is an astonishingly soon date, and its particularly aggressive given that Amazon's own Jeff Bezos has noted a color version of the Kindle is "multiple years" in the future because Amazon thinks that existing color technology on offer from its screen supplier E-Ink isn't up to quality. The other thing to note is Joresson's mention of the "Barnes & Noble e-reader application." That tallies with all sorts of other rumors online today that the e-reader will be running Android, and the e-reader app will be available on other platforms like the iPhone.
In its simplest terms, Barnes & Noble and Plastic Logic are very much taking the fight to Amazon... and with concerns that Amazon's fluffed the international launch of the Kindle, it looks like the newcomers really might have a chance.