Both Amazon and Apple have new advertisements for job openings at their companies that, if you read into the details just a little, give away many a detail on the upcoming Kindle versus iPad conflict. It's going to be very interesting.
First up, and most surprising if you're an e-ink fanatic, is that one of Amazon's new jobs is for a "hardware display manager." That title isn't particularly revealing, but get this: The specific expertise Amazon's looking for—at a senior level—is in "the LCD business" where you must know the "key players in the market." There are also two different advertisements for experts in wireless technology.
And you know what that adds up to, particularly when you remember Amazon also just bought a touchscreen manufacturer? It means that much of what we suggested about the future design of the Kindle 3 may soon come true. Amazon looks like it'll be giving the next Kindle proper WiFi, which implies better Net surfing powers, a touchscreen (finally ditching that awful keypad), and yes, you guessed it, an LCD screen—probably in color. We've noted before that e-ink, in its current guise, may be great at displaying plain text, but it's appalling at the quick-change pixel rates needed for Web browsing, let alone video. And this suggests a radical transformation of the Kindle into more of a multi-function slate PC, which is clearly in response to the coming tide of tablet PCs of all shapes and sizes.
But mainly Amazon is reacting to the Apple iPad (and emulating Apple's business model). And in that regard, here's something else to chew on: Apple itself is advertising for a new employee. It's specifically looking for a quality assurance expert to work in the iPad Media Systems team, and if you're interested in applying you'll have to demonstrate "knowledge of digital camera technology (still and video)" and "familiarity with and interest in photography, video as well as media file formats".
And given what we know about the suspicious camera space inside the iPad chassis, which almost perfectly fits the Webcam units currently used inside MacBooks, this has us wondering whether the iPad really does have a camera—or it did have one that was removed at the last minute, or if Apple's now planning for the iPad 2.0 to have really advanced image collecting powers.
Clearly both companies have an eye on the near future development of their portable tech, and unlike more traditional media channels it's harder to hush-up what's revealed in job placements—which you also have to have in place way ahead of time if you're to successfully recruit people at the right point in a product's development. Amazon looks like it's not going to surrender the Kindle's crown without a fight, and upstart Apple is already looking at next-gen technology to include in its newest all-singing, all-dancing slate device. Regardless of what happens in the next few months when the iPad launches, how these two giants are going to slug it out is going to make for some very interesting news.