Good e-Reader disclosed a couple of months ago that Amazon was developing a new Kindle e-reader with note taking functionality. It looks like this will be a reality sometime in 2022 and they will finally develop a large screen Kindle that comes with a stylus and users will be able to freehand draw, take notes and edit PDF files. The company recently conducted a survey with a number of hardcore Kindle users and they have settled in two names for the upcoming device. They were Kindle Passage and Kindle Scribe. I think Kindle Scribe is the better name and is easily recognizable for what it would do, it also would be easily trademarked.
There are no official details about the hardware specs of the upcoming Kindle Scribe or Kindle Passage. In order for a note taking device to work, it would have to be at least 10.3 inches in size, which are great for A5 documents. This category for screen size has a number of competitors on the market, such as the Remarkable 2, Supernote A5X, Kobo Elipsa, Onyx Boox Note Air 2, Onyx Boox Note 5 and a number of other devices such as the Bigme Carve Color, Bigme B1 Max+ Color and the Bookeen Notea. There is a reason why all of these companies bestselling products have 10.3 inch screens, you can develop and release a product without it being cost prohibitive, while still offering a good value proposition.
The people who made the most money with 10.3 inch e-notes, have been the ones to sell the most hardware, while also selling digital stationary. This includes premium stylus and cases. Remarkable has been very successful in this regard, they have 3-4 different cases, some made of lower quality materials, all the way to a leather case. They have also bundled their writing slate with a stock stylus, but also offer the Marker Plus, which has tilt functionality, so you can write on its side and get a different writing experience. Kobo tried to emulate this, but ended up just bundling everything together in one package, to make it easy for consumers to get started and have everything they need.
I believe in order for Amazon to steamroll everyone over, they would need to have a line of premium accessories and also offer a better software experience. A large screen Kindle would have to have access to the Kindle bookstore, Kindle Unlimited, Audible Audiobooks and Kids+. This would make it appealing towards people who want a large screen Kindle with lots of screen real estate to fit more text on the screen. This would likely increase sales of ComiXology Comics, manga and magazines. Amazon offers Kindle Textbooks, but doesn’t have a huge selection, this would be easily readable and editable on the future Kindle.
The Kindle Passage or Scribe would also need a great note taking experience that has all of the core features of their competition, without it being too complicated for the average student, business professional or the average user. They would have to have features like layers, brush sizes, eraser sizes, lots of pens/pencils to choose from and to easily sync all notes and drawings to the cloud, which can be accessible on the Kindle App for Fire Tablets, Android and iOS. They should also be exported as a PDF/PNG via a USB-C cable to a PC or MAC for easy transfers to the desktop. I am sure Amazon would really ensure a quality product.
Amazon already has some infrastructure in place for this future note taking device. They currently have a highlight system that works great on tablets, since you can use different colors. They also have a highlight system for their E INK devices, which is less intuitive. They also have a popular highlights system, where you can see other peoples highlights and how many people highlighted specific bodies of text. This entire highlight engine would be better with a stylus, since it would be way easier to highlight a specific word or passage. You can also highlight specific words to look up their meanings in the dictionary or Wikipedia, two tasks where a stylus would be much more robust.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.