Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week

Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week

As I reported yesterday, Amazon is offering Prime members big discounts on their current Kindle EBRs (Kindle E-Book Readers):

Those are great prices! The Voyage, in particular, has rarely been discounted. This says it is for a limited time.

One of my regular readers, Robert Anderson, speculated that it might mean new models were coming.

I was ready to write a reply explaining that, while discounts can precede a new model release, the majority of the time they don’t. Amazon isn’t likely to need to clear out warehouse space for a new model, and it can be just as effective for them to discount it after a new model is released. I would have been technically correct…but Robert’s intuition was born out with this

Jeff Bezos tweet

It says that a new, top of the line Kindle is, “almost ready”.

It was amusing to me that people immediately responded to the Amazon CEO (Chief Executive Officer) with features they would like to see…I’m afraid that the design and development process takes more than a few days.🙂

Hopefully, people have regularly been suggesting to Amazon what they would like to see in later Kindle models. You can e-mail

kindle-feedback@amazon.com

That said, there’s nothing wrong with speculating about what we might see or what you would want to see.🙂

For me, the biggest thing is not what we might see, but what  we might hear.😉 Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that I’m talking about text-to-speech (TTS). TTS is software which reads a book (or other item with text) out loud to you.

I use it for hours a week in the car, although I currently do it with my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX. Amazon killed all audio in EBRs some time back…and I regularly see comments from people who miss it.

So, I do think that’s a possibility. I’ve seen a speculation that the new device might have Bluetooth…what would the purpose of Bluetooth (short range paired wireless connection between devices) do on an EBR if not connect audio? I suppose it could be for file transfer  between devices, but that would really upend the current model of keying a file for a specific device.

There are a couple of other features which I would see as possible.

In my annual predictive/speculative post

The Year Ahead 2016

I figured that a water resistant Kindle was likely, since that is playing catch up with competitors. That seems probable. By the way, I also suggested that the Supreme Court would decline to hear the Apple case, resulting in an effective loss, and that Amazon would shutter Shelfari…both have happened.🙂 Knock virtual wood, no guarantee for anything else I said in that post.

The other big thing (and there is speculation about that), is that Amazon would finally introduce a Liquivista screen. Amazon announced they were buying the company back in 2013. It would be a way for us to have color on non-backlit screen.

Interestingly,

Liquavista

is hiring right now, which suggests a business expansion.

Generally, Amazon has done better with affordable models rather than top of the line…but a color EBR might be considered a new type of device, and Amazon has made that work (the Kindle wasn’t the first EBR in the USA, but was different enough ((especially with its wireless connection)) to perhaps be considered a different device). The Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) appears to be an  unqualified success, for example, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my first day out with my new Alexa Tap (at AmazonSmile*) yesterday (I’ll write about that in my The Measured Circle blog within the next few days).

Could this mean more than just a top of the line model? Could the entire line be refreshed?

Yes, that’s possible.

As I noted in

Kindle and Fire Generations

“generations” are different from models.

All three of the current Kindle EBRs are 7th generation…the 3rd Paperwhite, the touch screen least expensive version, and the current Voyage all have basically the same software.

Generations are based on software, not just hardware, really.

That also means we could see improvements to the Kindle service.

We just had a big interface update to Kindle EBRs, so I’m not sure how much we’ll see on the devices themselves. We might see a lot more at the Manage Your Content and Devices page…I’m hoping we would get much better content management (being able to see which book is currently on which device, for example).

The Alexa Voice Service doesn’t need direct connection to individual devices, generally. It can read a book to me based on the Cloud, not on where it is on my Voyage or Paperwhite. I suppose it could have better knowledge and purchasing. For example, I might be able to say, “Alexa, how much time is left in The Martian on Proteus?”

We’ll have a better idea on all of this next week.😉

One more thing: some of the first comments to Jeff came from people upset because they just bought a Kindle EBR.

I never quite understand that.

If your device was a good buy before, it’s a good buy now.🙂 Just because someone else might get something with more features, that doesn’t affect what features you have.

If you are within thirty days of purchase from Amazon, typically, you can return your Kindle for a refund. If it was performing as advertised, you would be expected to pay the return shipping, which should be no more than a couple of dollars.

What do you think? Are you ready for a new model? What features would you like to see? What  would be enough to induce you to upgrade? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

17 Responses to “Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well, I’m just back from MS’ Build conference in SF where it seemed I spent an inordinate amount of time explaining why the Echo is better than Cortana or Siri — the reasons are subtle, but the “always listening” approach (with apologies to all you privacy paranoids out there :grin) is a key differentiator. Also the early adoption of IFTTT has made the Echo app ecosystem grow by leaps & bounds.

    When I got home, I found a new TAP & Dot waiting for me. The Dot, upon being plugged in, immediately started hassling me to find her some Wi-Fi (these needy assistants — it’s a good thing I don’t have to pay them a salary :grin).

    The Bezos tweet did say it would be a “top of the line” “kindle” — so we can expect an EBR — perhaps above (or taking) the slot held by the voyage.

    As to Liquavista: I was recently wondering whatever became of them — thought it was a rare Amazon acquisition that didn’t work out.

    All the color reflective display technologies to date have been kind of washed out. That’s not to say that reflective color can’t be vibrant and “jump off the page” — just look at any issue of Scientific American, or National Geographic to see what’s possible with reflective color. Now a color display with most of the attributes of the 4 color offset press would really be something — we can only hope😀 .

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Oh, it’s definitely an EBR, since Bezos said “eighth generation”. A new Fire would “only” be sixth generation.

      I find Alexa and it’s implementation on the Echo family to be considerably better than Siri on my work iPhone 5S, Google Now on my Fire Phone, or Cortana on my Lenova laptop.🙂 It seems more…charming, I guess.

      Both my Significant Other and I think that the Dot hears us better than our Echo, but I know that could have to do with positioning.

      As I’ve mentioned, I’m hoping to write a post soon on taking our Tap with me to work: impressive!

  2. Robert Anderson Says:

    I have a big wish list for the new release, but will just wait to hear what we are getting. Fingers crossed for TTS.

  3. Tuxy Says:

    I am intrigued but very wary. I am desperately hoping that Amazon is not taking the direction for eink readers that they have taken with the fire line. My experience with the latest generation of fire tablets (we have 3 in our house) has been extremely poor. They are honestly cheap junk, and I have been disappointed with all 3 tablets (2 different models). I know they have sold well, but I hope Amazon doesn’t take that as a sign that they need to move the ereader in that direction.

    That’s not to say that I dislike the Kindle basic. That’s a great model to keep. It is low-cost, but still high quality. My husband has had one for years. My concern is the switch to lower quality, less durable parts, with pieces that fail frequently and bloated software, which is what we have with the fires….

    Anyway, I guess Amazon has lost the immediate trust that I had for them up until recently. Previous to the most recent set of tires, every release on both the Kindle and fire line had me intrigued, excited, and certain that I would probably order something, even before the specs were announced. When I saw the fire line last year, it was very underwhelming spec-wise, but when my previous fire bit the dust, and there were good deals around Christmas, I went ahead. The idea of expandable storage was a bonus as well. But seriously, I have never seen *any* other device that failed at expandable storage to this degree. Even the $6 el cheapo mp3 players that the kids have don’t suddenly fail to see the microsd card 50% of the time…. And yet my fire HD 8, which should be a pretty quality device loses the microsd card 50% of the time, until I take it out, insert it, reboot, take it out, insert it, reboot, etc., a few times, at which point it is suddenly completely fine and has no more problems for another week or two….

    Now… I am hoping for something high-end. I’m not sure that I would want color, but something like the voyage but even cooler.

    I want better control of my books. I would prefer real folders over tags, *or* a way to manage collections via the website. I don’t use collections generally because it is a complete pain to manage them via the device.

    I would love a more responsive device. Typing a review on my Kindle is *painful*, and not because it is a touchscreen. I do a ton of typing on touchscreens. But the lag between when I tap and when it registers is painful. And when typing, if you get too far ahead of the Kindle, it just drops all the letters in between…

    I guess those are my primary hopes.🙂

    • Tuxy Says:

      And in my rant, I totally forgot about a major want I have had for a couple Kindle versions…

      I want to be able to read my magazines. I don’t care about full-color photos or anything. I don’t care about the awesome cool formatting. I just want to be able to read my magazines without having to drag around my fire.

      Sure, it would lose a little… I know that. But, if I want to look at that recipe from Bon Apetit, I don’t want to have to go get the fire every time. Why can’t I pull it up on my paperwhite? Or, if I want to read an article in one of my magazines, I want to be able to pull it up and read it. National Geographic has amazing photography. I don’t think anyone will dispute that. But it also has some fascinating articles. Why can’t I read the articles on my paperwhite?

      I will even be okay with them still including a picture of an advertisement page, if that’s what it takes. But I just want to be able to read the text part of my magazines on my Kindle.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tuxy!

        In the past, at least, that was up to the publisher. Some magazines really care about the appearance, and would want to control the appearance of the text version. Many magazines are available on EBRs, but there may be two subscriptions: one for the EBR and one for a Fire tablet.

        That’s not insurmountable, but I believe it has been a barrier.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tuxy!

      I think we can count on at least one of the new Kindles being announced next week being of high quality…Jeff Bezos used the term “top of the line”. Now, technically, that doesn’t mean it has to be better…it just has to be the best of the group. If you only have one device in your line, it is “top of the line.”🙂

      That reminds me of something I heard years ago…may or may not be true.

      This was during the Cold War, and the story went there was a race between an American car and a Soviet car, and the American car won.

      Supposedly, Pravda (a Russian newspaper) reported it as, “The American car came in second from the bottom and the Soviet car came in second from the top…”

      I also think that the EBR is now seen as a niche device (which it arguably was in the beginning) and the Fire tablets are seen as popular devices. Cheaper is better when quantity matters…quality parts are better when you are looking for a luxury market.

      They might do a cheap EBR too, though.

      Have you tried using speech to text (dictation) to write your reviews? You may find that works pretty well…oh, on a Fire, not an EBR, of course.

  4. Tom Semple Says:

    Just curious when @JeffBezos has tweeted about forthcoming Kindles prior to this? For a while I was attaching extra significance to this, and imagining it meant something ‘radical’ was on the way (like Liquavista, or return of audio, this time with Bluetooth). But based on the tidbits of information so far ‘reported’ (2 new models etc), it is starting to look like something more ordinary. A solar-charging cover is not that interesting to me, for example. Sometimes a tweet is just a tweet.

    I would be super interested in a Liquavista device, and Bluetooth (assuming it was to support audio output, and input devices) would be interesting but not necessarily a must-have. And while there are some software-only features I’d like to see, generally Amazon rolls those out to the previous generation of devices eventually, so that would not create any particular urgency to upgrade (at least for me).

    I guess we’ll know next week.

    • Tuxy Says:

      In the past, they have had full press events for major releases, which makes me think that this isn’t going to be *that* big. The release of the pw1 was a massive press event that they announced quite a bit in advance, and it was livestreamed and everything…..

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tuxy!

        It’s a reasonable point that there is no press conference scheduled…but pressers are becoming less common, I think. They certainly still happen for things that benefit from a lot of hands-on, but I think, for example, a color Liquavista screen could be promoted with “word of mouse” through social media with videos and chats.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Jeff Bezos has never pre-tweeted a release announcement like this…but that official account only has a total of 32 tweets since Jeff joined Twitter in 2008.🙂

      This is certainly unusual hype.

      Does that mean it’s a groundbreaking technology? Not necessarily, but I do expect it to be something buzzy in the e-reader community at least.

  5. jmyers8888 Says:

    Even without color, better handling of graphics would be nice.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jmyers8888!

      I think color may be easier than vastly more robust image handling…the latter likely means more real-time processing, which isn’t a Kindle strength…it is possible, though.

  6. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Several articles in the tech & general press yesterday have talked about a kindle case containing a rechargeable battery, and also about a solar powered kindle.

    The rechargeable case would allow the new kindle to be much thinner than previous models. Solar power might not be part of next week’s release.

    A thinner kindle is not high on my wish list; solar-powered could be useful — I have solar-powered calculators that recharge just fine off the lights beside my bed.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I’ve been seeing that speculation. I don’t think a thinner Kindle is paradigm busting. If it was flexible, so you could fold it or roll it up, yes, that would be newsworthy.🙂 Not expecting that this time. Similarly, a rechargeable case, while a convenience, seems evolutionary, not revolutionary. A Kindle that never had to be charged, whether through solar or true wireless charging? That would be a story! It would make a lot of anti-e-book cartoons obsolete.🙂

  7. “Leaked” new Kindle? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: