Can Amazon’s next-gen Kindle take on Apple’s iPad?

Amazon’s recent acquisition of multitouch screen company Touchco hints that the Seattle-based corporation has big plans for its next-generation Kindle.

According to Nick Bilton of the New York Times, the move “sends one clear” message: Amazon is refusing to back down from challenging Apple and its iPad tablet. 

Indeed, Robert Brunner, who worked with Barnes & Noble to create the Nook e-reader, told the Times that Amazon may eventually split the Kindle into two separate and distinct lines.

“They can’t abandon E Ink screens, but they will need to create a color device too,” opined Brunner.

“Where it gets interesting is, do they just do a device that’s a color Kindle or is it a full computer?”

It seems as if the latter choice is more likely, as Amazon is currently looking to hire a hardware display manager who is familiar with the LCD business and “key players” in the market.

Bilton notes that the display ad indicates Amazon may be “possibly exploring” color options for the device.

Similarly, the company is also searching for a team of WiFi specialists, along with a software application development manager.

“The applications division could signal a move to create more apps for the Kindle, or someone who will manage the latest app store developments after Amazon announced a new software development kit,” speculated Bilton.

Meanwhile, Robert Fabricant of Frog Design told Bilton that he believed Amazon could potentially offer a better experience than even Apple when it came to purchasing content.

“Amazon doesn’t just put products on a shelf, they create experiences around the products. If people buy a phone from Google, why won’t they buy a media device from Amazon?”