May 25, 2009

Amazon is poised to reveal a new version of the Kindle device “with a larger screen and other features” to make it more attractive to readers of textbooks and newspapers, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The paper cites “people familiar with the matter” as pin-pointing a soft launch, where students will be given large-screen Kindles with textbooks already installed, for this autumn.

Amazon is believed to have already struck a deal with educational and academic publishers to make textbooks available on the device.

Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said the university would compare the experiences of students who get the Kindles and those who use traditional textbooks.

The new device will also feature a more fully functional web browser, he said. The Kindle’s current model, which debuted in February, includes a web browser that is classified as “experimental”.

Five other universities, including Princeton, Pace and Arizona State, are involved in the Kindle project, it is believed.

An Amazon spokesman declined comment. However, the company is holding a press conference in New York City later today.