Missing in Action: the Kindle Paperwhite 3 “Ice Wine”

kindle paperwhite 2013As Amazon's 18 June smartphone press event draws closer, I am reminded of another device which was rumored to be launching this Spring that has yet to see the light of day.In late November 2013 TechCrunch broke the story on a rumor about the next Kindle Paperwhite. That device, which was supposed to have launched early in the second quarter, was going to sport a new super high resolution E-ink screen with a resolution of 300 ppi.

Code named Ice Wine,  the rumored KPW3 featured radical changes from the design of its predecessors, including a screen which was flush with the front of the ereader (and not recessed), page turn buttons,  and a rear shell which looked more like the back of the Kindle Fire HDX than of the existing Kindle Paperwhite. There was also mentioned of new software features including a new font and improve typography.

Alas, that device has not launched yet, and I don't expect to ever see it.

At this point I am reasonably sure that it doesn't exist. Sure, TechCrunch says they saw a prototype, but they also said that it was going to launch out of season (Amazon likes Fall Kindle launches) and TechCrunch said that it would use a screen which, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't exist.

According to my sources, E-ink doesn't have that higher resolution screen under development, much less production. My source told me in March that the next Kindle Paperwhite would have a new screen, but that screen would not have a resolution higher than the existing screen. Instead, the new KPW will have a more flexible and rugged screen based on the Mobius screen tech which launched last year.

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The existing Kindle Paperwhite uses Carta, E-ink's latest and best screen tech. It has a 6" screen with a resolution of 1024 x 758, and it's rounded design looks almost identical to its predecessor. It lacks all of the design innovations mentioned by TechCrunch, and that should have given us a clue that the TC rumor wasn't true.

Not that I am criticizing anyone for believing the TC rumor; it matched so closely with what we wanted to be true that even I believed it without a second thought. That is a mistake which I do not intend to repeat.

About Nate Hoffelder (11579 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

9 Comments on Missing in Action: the Kindle Paperwhite 3 “Ice Wine”

  1. November 2013! Or am I really lost in time??

  2. Question: doesn’t Kobo Aura HD feature a newer model screen than the Carta used in PW 2nd generation?

    • The screen on the Aura HD is based on the Pearl screen tech, not Carta.

      • Pearl as opposed to Carta, but although the Kobo Aura HD has a 6.8” display, its resolution (1440 x 1080) puts it at ~264ppi, whereas the PW’s Carta at 6” (1024 x 758) only packs ~212ppi.

        That difference is still noticeable to the naked eye at 0.5-1 feet, which is why I’m not sure the PW could claim to feature the newest E-Ink screen out there, 50% better contrast or not (this, I believe, was also part of the reason why a spring release seemed feasible in the first place).

        To sum things up, Techcrunch dropped the ball on this one, no argument here, but I hardly think the writing was on the wall.

  3. I was looking forward to a new e-reader with page turn buttons as an option. Still using my Kindle Keyboard because I don’t really like the touch screens. Ah well, I guess I’ll have to deal when my Keyboard dies.

    • I’m in the same boat, though my keyboard has died. So now I’m stuck between a touch-only Paperwhite, or a light-less basic. Which means I’m just making do with the iPad app until a lit page-turner exists.

  4. So much for that! 300 dpi. Page turn buttons. Flush screen. KPW3=voyage. Just a little late.

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