Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Why Amazon’s New Kindle Paperwhite Doesn’t Say Kindle on the Back

When Amazon announced the latest version of its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader earlier today, the company touted a device that’s brighter and lighter than the first version. It also talked up some new features, such as a pretty smooth integration with Goodreads, which Amazon acquired for $150 million in March.

But there’s a more subtle difference between this Paperwhite and the original one that many customers won’t notice (or care about), but which points to Amazon’s international ambitions: The back of device does not say “Kindle” like the original version does; instead, it says “Amazon.”

In an interview today, I asked Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle product management, why the company made the change.

His answer, in short, is that as Amazon continues its furious expansion of Kindle launches in international markets such as India, China and Mexico, the company wants to lead with the brand name that more people know. And Amazon has decided — or discovered — that there are more people outside of the U.S. who know the name Amazon than there are people who know the name Kindle.

Yes, both the old and new Paperwhite say Kindle across the front, but the back of the device is what onlookers see when Paperwhite users are reading on public transportation, in a park or at other public venues.

So Amazon it is.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik