Color-screen Kindle is years off, says Bezos

While Jeff Bezos was busy explaining Thursday why Amazon doesn't release sales numbers for the Kindle, he mentioned that a color-screen Kindle was still a distant dream.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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David Carnoy
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Fujitsu's FLEPia offers color, but it costs $1,000. Fujitsu

Those of you holding out for a color version of the Kindle may be disappointed to learn that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is telling the world it won't be arriving anytime soon. In fact, a color-screened Kindle is "multiple years" away, he said Thursday, adding: "I've seen the color displays in the laboratory, and I can assure you they're not ready for prime time."

We weren't expecting a color-screened Kindle in the near future, particularly one that anyone can afford (Fujitsu has just launched the FLEPia color e-book readerin Japan, but it costs $1,000). That said, I strongly suspect we'll see color-screened e-book readers very soon that don't use E-ink technology. Manufacturers could simply go with an advanced touch-screen LCD. Apple's rumored netbook/jumbo iTouch would fall into this camp. And we suspect cheaper, sub-$300 versions will turn up if the whole e-book trend remains hot.

Whether they'll be any good is another story. The downside to backlit LCDs is that cause eyestrain and arguably aren't ideal for reading (and they tend to get washed out in direct sunlight). But by the same token, a lot of people spend much of the day staring at an LCD monitor, so a model that was easier on the eyes would probably be tolerated for the right price, especially if you consider an LCD has no problem displaying video and Flash animations. (E-ink currently can't do moving images).

What do you guys think? Will color e-book readers of the future use E-ink or shift to another technology?

Source: AFP via Gizmodo