A recent job listing for US online store Amazon suggests the company could be considering a shift to Android for future Kindle ebook readers.
Amazon is looking to hire five new Android developers, according to the New York Times, with positions in a department known internally as "Lab 126"; the same department responsible for the Kindle. This is far from conclusive evidence of a new-look Kindle, but it does raise some interesting questions about the immediate future of Amazon's blockbuster reading device.
For starters, a move to Android would certainly mean a move away from E Ink, a technology that you could argue is at the core of the Kindle's success thus far. This would have the next Kindle shipping with an LCD of some description, making it more of an Android tablet computer than a dedicated ebook reader. This would bump up the price significantly, reduce the fantastic Kindle battery life enormously and place Amazon in direct competition with electronics giants Samsung, LG, Motorola and Apple.
The other distinctive feature of the Kindle at this time is Whispernet, the free wireless internet offering that allows Kindle owners to download books wherever they are. Smartphone operating systems, like Android, rely on "always-on" internet connectivity to deliver push email and social network updates, which would be great for users, but would create a cost that Amazon simply couldn't afford to offer for free to all of its customers.
These are all issues we're confident Amazon has already thought about, but it certainly doesn't explain the job listings. A move to an Android Kindle seems ill-advised to us, but what of an Amazon-branded Android tablet? Would you buy your next Honeycomb tablet directly through Amazon?