After launching the Kindly Oasis, Amazon has a new addition to the Kindle's eighth-generation line-up. Branded the "All-New Kindle," the 6-inch e-reader features more RAM and storage, but retains the same screen from the previous model. The new Kindle, for the first time, features Bluetooth audio playback.
The all-new Kindle is being sold on Amazon's U.S. site for $79.99 for the ad-supported model and $99.99 for the ad-free one. It is also available in two colours, black and white.
At the face of it, the new Kindle features the same 167ppi non-backlit e-paper display as the outgoing Kindle. The display also features touchscreen input and connects to the internet over Wi-Fi only.
"Tens of millions of readers around the world have Kindle e-readers and today, we're excited to make our most affordable Kindle even better, while keeping the same breakthrough price point," Arthur van Rest, General Manager at Kindle, said in a statement. "With a thinner and lighter design, twice the memory, and all the features customers love about Kindle, it has never been a better time to be a reader."
Amazon has remained mum on what the memory on the new Kindle is like, but does publish the fact that the e-reader has 4GB of on board storage.
The device, however, has a completely new feature, which is a first for Amazon e-readers, it features Bluetooth audio. Till about the third-generation Kindle, also known as the Kindle Keyboard, Amazon had always included a headphone jack and built-in speakers. Users could use these hardware additions in tandem with the Kindle's text-to-speech functionality to listen to their books.
With the fourth-generation Kindles, which featured touchscreen control, Amazon effectively ensured that blind users could never enjoy books on the Kindle. With the eighth-generation Kindle, however, users can pair a Bluetooth headset and listen to their favourite books.
Amazon's recently released VoiceView speech technology comes preloaded into the Kindle and reads back menu items to users, enabling easy navigation for the visually impaired.
"That's a step," the Wall Street Journal quoted Chris Danielsen, director of communications for the National Federation of the Blind, in the U.S., as saying. "But how big a step depends on the execution."
"We would be much more thrilled with a single-gesture way of setting it [VoiceView on the Kindle] up, rather than a complicated set of instructions," Danielsen said in the report.