Unnamed industry sources told DigiTimes that Amazon will likely launch color e-book readers in the second half of 2012. Component makers in Amazon's supply chain are expected to begin shipping the parts this month. Meanwhile, E Ink Holdings plans to unveil color EPD products soon -- products which will likely be adopted by Amazon, sources said.
Based on the report, it sounds like Amazon plans to add color to its Kindle Touch e-reader if not the entire Kindle line. Insiders claim the color e-reader will feature a multi-touch capacitive touch panel provided by TPK Holding, and ditch the infrared touch panel used in the previous mono-color Kindle Touch devices. So far there's no indication that Amazon plans to kill off its base Kindle non-touch reader, but it's a distinct possibility with new Kindle Fire tablet on the horizon.
Currently Amazon offers five Kindle models: the baseline Kindle ($79), the Kindle Touch ($99, $149 for 3G) the Kindle Keyboard 3G ($139), the Kindle DX ($379) and the Kindle Fire ($199). Out of the entire batch, only the Kindle Fire features multi-touch and full-blown color. However Amazon is expected to reveal the release date for the Kindle Fire's sequel within the next few months, and highly probable that the upgraded Kindle line will be revealed as well.
So far the Kindle Fire 2 is slated to arrive with an "under $200" pricetag although Amazon has not officially confirmed the device. Rumor has it that the tablet will also sport a quad-core SoC, possibly an 8.9-inch display, cameras, GPS, actual volume buttons and many features the original lacked.
At this point, with color and multi-touch entering the picture, it wouldn't be surprising if Amazon chose to eliminate the original Kindle and make the Kindle Touch the baseline e-reader. The Kindle Fire would remain somewhat unchanged save for a few upgrades and a cheaper pricetag. It would thus move down a notch, making way for the new flagship device.