Is Amazon readying a new RSK?
Brian Hartman, a reader and commenter of mine, and others, have expressed concern that the Kindle Keyboard (formerly colloquially called a “Kindle 3″) is no longer featured in the Kindle “family stripe” at Amazon.
At first, it was still available new from Amazon after that: now, it isn’t (you can find used ones). I have a place where I can search for ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers), and I’m not even finding it there. That suggests to me that this is just a fluky supply problem.
One could make the assumption that they are just going to discontinue it, but there is a particular reason why this one fills a niche that the other RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything but a Kindle Fire) don’t.
Text-to-speech on an RSK.
Text-to-speech is software that reads the book’s words out loud to you. I typically use it for hours a week in the car. More importantly, it’s valuable to those with print disabilities, and print challenges which do not rise to the legal definition of a disability.
Yes, the Kindle Fire has TTS (and I do think the software is superior to what is on the Kindle Keyboard). You might think, then, that since the visual part doesn’t matter to those with print disabilities, the backlighting shouldn’t be a problem.
That’s not the case.
First, certainly, some of those with print issues still can see enough that they use the screen sometimes.
Second, the RSKs weigh considerably less (the Kindle Keyboard is 8.7 oz…the lightest Kindle Fire is 13.9 oz (yes, you’ll probably feel the difference), the battery charge lasts much longer, and the RSKs are cheaper.
Neither the Kindle Paperwhite, nor the “Mindle” (which is what I call the least expensive Kindle) have sound…so they can’t do TTS.
As of right now, you can’t buy an RSK with TTS new from Amazon.
I wasn’t particularly concerned at first, because I thought it was probably just a temporary shortage of devices. Now, I’m more convinced that the Kindle Keyboard will not come back into regular stock.
That would get me upset…I think TTS RSKs are a huge convenience for the disabled.
My guess, though, is that Amazon may release something else (and may announce it before too long). It could be a Paperwhite with sound. If they did that, they might drop the price of the current Paperwhite, and then release the new one at the same price as the old one.
That is my sincere hope.
prediction post, I didn’t think we’d get any real anything groundbreaking in Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) hardware, and a Paperwhite with sound would be an improvement, but no groundbreaking.
If we go, oh, a week with no announcement, I’ll contact Amazon.
I want to point out that I’ve seen people now routinely referring to September as a time for Amazon hardware announcements. While that did happen last year (September 6) and in 2011 (September 28), that hasn’t always been the pattern:
- Kindle 1: announced November 19, 2007
- Kindle 2: February 9, 2009
- Kindle DX: May 6, 2009
- Kindle 3: July 28, 2010
- Mindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire 1st Generation: September 28, 2011
- Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire 2nd Gen: September 6, 2012
So, while they have been “clumping” several things together in September for the last couple of years, I could see them doing a new Paperwhite during the summer. That especially seems true to me if they start a new line (like an Amazon phone) in September…they might not want to dilute that announcement.
I’ll keep my eye on it. Thanks again, Brian, for getting me thinking about this.
Bonus deal: one of today’s Kindle Daily Deals is Dead Witch Walking, the first book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. I reviewed it close to three years ago, and did recommend it. It’s $1.99 today: do check the price before you click that Buy button.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.