Signs point to Kindle update

Amazon has posted a heap of job advertisements online for places at its Lab 126 division, the part of the company responsible for the Kindle. The nature of the advertisements is for people to test and prepare new products, leading to speculation about a potential new tablet device or a Kindle upgrade.

The New York Times reckons it’s a sign that Amazon is readying itself for a full-on fight with Apple. The Kindle had an awful lot of geeks excited pre-launch, but was completely dwarfed by the Jobsian hype for Apple’s tablet device and has perhaps left the Kindle feeling insecure about ‘only’ being an e-reader.

As we said earlier on TechEye the e-reader market is getting crowded, and at the moment product launches seem to be punching above their weight in what they are worth – indeed, our Editor reckons devices “should cost pennies and not pounds.” Tablet PCs, such as the iPad but not limited to Apple’s effort, are aimed at a broad audience – businesses and the consumer.

Sure, you can read your magazines – GQ recently had a great result for its first iPad issue when you consider it is all profit  – but you can also browse the internet, work, play games et al, as long as you’ve got the cash. And the kind of world we’re living in here in the West, the mantra is more is better.

Amazon’s Kindle received generally positive reviews. It brought e-readers to the attention of the consumer. For an early effort, Amazon did a commendable job – but the market is trickier now, with every company plus every company’s dog at least considering a touch screen tablet PC to be a contender for Apple.

It could be said that the way Apple is defining the market and what companies need to compete over isn’t a great thing, and instead Amazon should concentrate on building its e-reader and making the platform more affordable.

And maybe it is. This is speculation. However it seems too much of a coincidence that so many would be enlisted to test out new products, all the while Amazon remains extremely tight lipped about any updates to Kindle.