Back when the rumors of a Kindle 2 started last year, there was also some chatter about a larger form factor Kindle that would be designed partially for the educational market. Well, now that the Kindle 2 has arrived, the rumor mill is churning again with blog posts about a larger form factor Kindle 3 that has a touch screen.
The initial report comes from DigiTimes, which says sources within Prime View International (PVI), the makers of the Kindle's electrophoretic display (EPD), claim Amazon's next Kindle will launch by the end of this year and will be "larger in size and equipped with touch functions."
Such a product actually exists already; it's made by Irex, it has a 10.2-inch touch screen, and I wrote about it way back in September of last year. The Irex Digital Reader 1000S is currently available for a whopping $859.
We assume Amazon would be able to come out with a model that carries a lower, more reasonable price tag. But there are probably some serious challenges to get the price down anywhere near to where the current Kindle 2 sits--and already a lot of people think the Kindle 2 is expensive at $359.
It's worth noting that in its post, Engadget cites a Plastic Logic 8.5 x 11-inch touch-screen eBook reader as a potential partner for Amazon (see image below with Photoshopped logo). That type of device seems more in keeping with Amazon's thinner, slicker Kindle 2 design.
Personally, I think all this stuff is a long way off. End of the year maybe, but most likely 2010.