Count down to the next Kindle

We'll all have to wait till Amazon's Feb. 9 press conference to know, but that's not stopping plenty of speculation about the company's new version of Kindle, its popular electronic reader.

Amazon has never said that the news conference, scheduled to be held at New York's Morgan Library & Museum, was convened to launch the next generation of Kindle, but Amazon-watchers seem convinced.

In the meantime, if you want to play the guessing game yourself, you can check out Boy Genius Report which has posted pictures of what they say is the new Kindle.

And you can read Information Week's latest report which sums up press speculation by saying that, "CrunchGear is expecting a thinner Kindle with a touch screen. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the possibility of a sleeker design that relocates the page-forward and page-back buttons so users are less likely to push them accidentally."

They also suggest that the one innovation we will not see will be a color screen. (Apparently the technology is not there yet.)

No one seems to know anything about price (although there are guesses that it will drop to somewhere in the $300 range.)

If you're like me, and you already own and enjoy the current $359 Kindle (and I claim the distinction of embracing it well before Oprah endorsed it), all this may seem to be fairly idle speculation.

But if Amazon gets this right, their new device could mean a big step forward for electronic books. And as for what that means for publishing in general – well, that will be the cause for a whole lot more speculation.

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