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New high-rez E-ink Kindle coming in early 2014: Rumor

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Today's Kindle Paperwhite, shown here, will be replaced by a new design in spring of 2014.

Amazon is planning to leapfrog its competitors in the e-reader space with a new version of the Kindle Paperwhite, but not until after the holidays. With a higher resolution E-ink screen and redesigned body, it should put the Kindle out front spec-wise as well as in sales.

The new device, still in prototype form, was shown to tech blog TechCrunch. Despite Amazon's secrecy around its devices, such a leak could actually be beneficial, whetting appetite for the new e-reader and dampening demand for the competition during the holidays.

Its most prominent new feature will be a high-resolution screen: it is reported to have 300 pixels per inch, which at the standard Kindle screen size of 6 inches, implies a resolution somewhere north of HD, likely 1440x1080. That's the same resolution as Kobo's Aura HD, but the Kindle would pack those dots into a smaller area. The resulting PPI would be as high above the Aura HD's (265 PPI) as the Aura HD's is above the existing Kindle Paperwhite (212 PPI).

The body is also getting a redo, with a matte glass front and bezels flush with the screen. New "squeezable" buttons will adorn the sides, and the overall look will more closely resemble the Kindle Fire tablets.

Lastly, an improvement to the typography on the device is planned, which will go a long way towards making the reading experience as pleasant and customizable as it is on the Kobo and Nook e-readers. The new Kindle will ship with a new, bespoke font and better handling of the existing ones.

Unfortunately, the device won't be ready in time for the holidays. Early spring is the likely launch window, it was indicated, so don't be too put out if you just bought a new e-reader. NBC News reached out to Amazon for confirmation of the reports, but a spokesperson only replied that "we don't comment on rumors and speculation."

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.