In the meantime, the latest ($139, Wi-Fi only) Kindle continues to impress (as does the Kindle 2), and Amazon is expanding its distribution model to include Target, Best Buy, and other retailers
But LCD displays have disadvantages, Mr. Semenza said. They consume a lot of power, he said, because they need backlighting and because much optical energy is lost as light passes through the polarizers, filters and crystals needed to create color. They are also hard to read outdoors, he added.
Other types of displays may also find a foothold with consumers — particularly low-power, reflective technologies that take advantage of ambient light and are easy to read when outside. The EInk Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., uses this reflective technology for its present product — the black-and-white displays in the Kindle, Nook and other e-readers — and will soon introduce a color version of the technology, said Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s vice president for global sales and marketing. The technology will probably first be used for textbook illustrations and for cartoons.
The E Ink color displays, which have had many prototypes in the last two years, have not yet found favor with Kindle. “We’ve seen E Ink color displays in the lab and they aren’t ready,” Stephanie Mantello, a senior public relations manager for Kindle at Amazon.com, wrote in an e-mail.