In fact, I just got asked that question this morning:
Do you think there will be major developments in the world of ereaders next year? i.MX 7, ACep, other E-ink screen…? What does your intuition tell you?
Is that I like the new kindle Oasis… but I would hate that next year there would be important news.
My recent record of predicting new hardware is mixed (for example, I was only half right on my Kindle prediction from January). That's why I am hesitant to speculate about what is coming next, but I can relate what we know is coming.
For starters, there's no evidence to suggest that we'll see amazing new tech showing up in ereaders. This includes Freescale's i.MX 7 CPU, E-ink's color ACep screens, or the new and as yet unreleased screen tech from ClearInk.
Yes, there's all sorts of hype, speculation, and promises by component makers, but the simple fact is that no ereader maker has committed to using the tech in their devices.
Sure, new tech would be spectacular, but without a firm commitment from a device maker we might as well be talking about rainbows and unicorns.
Here's what we do know is coming, and also what we can reasonably expect to be released.
Amazon is going to ship the new Kindle Oasis at the end of October. It has a 7" E-ink screen, costs $249, and will be one of the two best ereaders on the market the day after it is released.
That Oasis is most likely the only new Kindle we will see this year, but a lot of hope being pinned on the Kindle's tenth anniversary on 19 November. Many think Amazon will release a new Kindle on that day; however, there are no rumors or leaks to suggest that will happen.
Kobo's latest ereader, the Aura One, features a 7.8" screen and was released
about five months ago.
Edit: I goofed. The latest Kobo ereader is the Aura H2O2. The Aura One was released last summer.
There are no current leaks or rumors to suggest that Kobo is going to release a new device this year. That said, Kobo has a history of releasing a new device in the late spring or early summer, and I would expect to see one then.
This Chinese ereader maker is at the same time both the awe-inspiring and the most disappointing. Yes, Onyx has new devices in the works and they look awesome but we also do not know for sure when the new models will hit the market.
Not counting the (usually 6") models launched in Russia, Onyx has three ereaders in the pipeline for the western market. According Onyx's German retail partner, here's what Onyx is working on:
- Onyx Boox MAX2 PRO (13.3"flexible Carta E-ink)
- Boox Note (10.3" flexible Carta E-ink)
- Boox Canvas (9,7" Carta E-ink with frontlight)
The Note and the Max2 are going to run Android 6.0 on a quad-core 1.6GHz CPU with 1GB RAM.The Canvas is going to run Android 4.4 on a 1GHz single-core CPU with 1GB RAM.
All three models will have both an electromagnetic stylus and a capacitive touchscreen as well as a speaker, mike, headphone jack, and USB-C.
Edit: And here's something new: Booxtor, the German retail partner, said that Onyx had matched the Floyd mode on Dasung Paperlike Pro. Onyx has "implemented the Floyd-Steinberg Dithering". This is a different algorithm than what Dasung uses, and it's not clear how they compare.
We do not know when the new devices will ship or how much they will cost. The official word, and I am quoting here, is:
There is no official schedule yet. At least Onyx doesn't reveal it. Internally I was promised to get a small quantity of the first batch of new devices in the first weeks of 2018.
Barnes & Noble Nook
B&N stopped developing their own ereaders years ago, and now licenses them from Netronix. The last Nook model was released in 2015, and there's no way to predict if or when B&N will license a new design.
Icarus / Boyue
Boyue (AKA Boeye) is a Chinese OEM and Icarus is a Dutch retailer that rebrands ereaders.
Boyue has an irregular release schedule, making it hard to predict when their next model will show up.
This Ukrainian company used to be one of the more innovative ereader makers, but they kinda dropped out of the race. They updated three models in the past three years but have released nothing new in that time.
I don't expect to see new hardware from Pocketbook any time soon.
This brand from Poland's Arta-Tech primarily licenses and rebrands 6" ereaders from Chinese companies. It is hard to say whether it will release new models, but my guess is that they will not have cutting edge tech.
image by JeepersMedia