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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.


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.

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Maurício June 9, 2014 um 1:06 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder June 9, 2014 um 1:19 pm

I went to the party next week.

Jonathan June 11, 2014 um 5:04 am

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

Nate Hoffelder June 11, 2014 um 6:33 am

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

Jonathan June 11, 2014 um 12:42 pm

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.

Deborah Pesa June 29, 2014 um 9:25 am

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.

Hans Gerwitz July 28, 2014 um 7:36 am

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.

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[…] turns out that, aside from the launch date, the details were mostly […]

SoMuchForThat September 21, 2014 um 12:08 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder September 21, 2014 um 12:10 pm

Yep. It was only off by a couple quarters. But the technical details were spot on.

Next Kobo Aura Rumored to be Dust & Water Proof | The Digital Reader August 10, 2016 um 11:43 am

[…] rumor about the next Kindle Paperwhite (Ice Wine) may have come to naught but I expect we'll have better luck with the latest rumor about Kobo. The font of all leaks, […]

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