Archive for the ‘Speculation’ Category

September 2017 is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

July 30, 2017

September 2017 is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

September is about a month away, and Amazon has often announced new hardware in that month.

Last year, I looked at the current Amazon hardware shortly before that, to give my opinions on which ones I thought might be updated.

Let’s do that again. 🙂

Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers)

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $79.99

The most recent edition is from  June of last year, and that’s when they added Bluetooth. They could update that, but they could also just lower the price. That’s a question for me at this point: do they really need four models of EBR now, and do the price points make sense? If the Paperwhite comes down $20 to get under $100, I don’t think they need two between $50 and $100. An under $50 Kindle could be attractive…I’m not seeing $80 as a good price point. I also think that EBRs are in competition with the Fire tablet line…it’s not the same experience, but I think many people are fine with reading on a backlit tablet, rather than having a dedicated reading device.

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $119.99

It’s been more than two years since they updated this one. If someone wanted to buy a Kindle who had never owned one, this is still the one I’d recommend. The frontlighting makes it worth more money than the entry level model. I don’t find that the upgrades to the Voyage are worth the money for most people. If they wanted to update it and keep the price about the same, they could add Bluetooth and water-proofing. I could even see the price going up a bit.

Kindle Voyage (any configuration) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $199.99

Last updated in 2014. There are 12,972 customer reviews at time of writing. The Paperwhite has 47,415. Now, yes, the Paperwhite has been around longer, but I don’t sense the customer engagement with the Voyage. Could they simply drop this model? Maybe. They could also just leave it alone, maybe lowering the price, but I don’t see them doing much development on this.

The Oasis $289.99 (I’m not linking because it can’t be purchased without an animal leather cover)

This top of the line model came out in April of 2016. I’ve seen some very positive reaction to it, but a 4.2 star average isn’t exceptional (the Paperwhite has a 4.5). I don’t see them dropping this model: it’s good to have an EBR positioned as a luxury item. They could even update this one.

I could see this ending up with three promoted models (and maybe a dormant one): one for under $50, one for about $100, and one for well over $250.

Fire Tablets

Fire Tablets (at AmazonSmile*)

The Fire tablets were already updated this year. I don’t expect to hear much about this, unless they introduce a high end with something innovative.

Echo Family

Echo family (at AmazonSmile*)

We use our

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

every day. It’s even going to enable us to take a family member with mobility issues to a wedding…not for the ceremony itself, but at the social events around it. It will mean that people can walk up and talk to my relative, and our relative will be able to see what’s going on. I suspect that will be confusing for people at first, because they probably won’t realize our relative sees them. 🙂

I don’t expect that or the Dot (it’s doing too well) or the Look (I don’t think it’s gotten enough engagement) to be updated. The Tap is already off the family stripe (what the show you at the top of a strategy)…I use ours a lot (taking it to work with me), but I don’t think it’s been a hit, unfortunately.

As to the original

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which I call “The Tower”, I think it is due.

That’s partially to deal with Apple’s device, so that would mean smaller and with better sound. It doesn’t mean cheaper, although it certainly could. My intuition is that people wouldn’t mind losing the big Tower design…I suppose they could also introduce one which is intermediate to the “hockey puck” Dot and The Tower.

I think there is still a lot of software innovation to come: one thing would be the ability of Alexa to recognize individual voices. In our house, for example, that might mean giving me the temperature in Celsius and my Significant Other the temperature in Fahrenheit, for example. That could also serve as one alternative for “password protecting” purchases (with an option for a number, when your voice isn’t recognized).

In terms of new Alexa devices:

I like the Dash Wand, but don’t use it that much.

A ring, a watch, a key fob…I could see a lot options for a tiny Alexa device (without “always on” technology).

An Alexa specifically for the car would make sense.

Fire TV

Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile*)

I do think these could see a significant upgrade…in addition to recent integrated Fire TV in a television (as opposed to the add on box or stick).

Our Fire TV, interestingly, could use more power. We recently got DirecTV HBO as part of our phone package, so I added that app…and it does seem to be pushing the limits of the device.

Other possibilities:

  • They are doing more branded phone deals, and I think that will continue, with Alexa onboard being the draw. I do still want a fully functional Alexa app for my existing SmartPhones (Galaxy for my personal phone, iPhone for work)
  • I expect Amazon to get into virtual/augmented reality in a really noticeable way this year, and there could be an announcement around that. I’ve started referring to virtual/augmented reality hardware as “auggies”. I’m not saying Amazon would produce a branded headset, but something…that might also wait for closer to the holidays, though
  • It wouldn’t surprise me to see Amazon get into Amazon branded SmartHome devices (plugs, lightbulbs), and perhaps a hub

I have some other thoughts, but I’m interested in what you think. If Amazon introduces new branded hardware in September or August, what would you guess? Do you think they’d keep the Voyage and drop the Paperwhite? Is the Tap on the way out? Are recent unavailabilities of some devices a sign that they are being replaced? 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 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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

September is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

August 11, 2016

September is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

Next month,  September, is when Amazon has been doing a big hardware announcement.

There are often surprises, but I thought that taking a look at how long currently available new models have been available might give us a clue about what might be due for a refresh.

Entry level Kindle

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This was actually just updated this June (the big addition was Bluetooth audio…which I think is great). That makes it seem unlikely that we’ll get a new entry level Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) in September…but you never know. 😉

Kindle Oasis

This came out in April of this year, and seems soon for a new model…unless they were to do a different size, which seems unlikely. I’m not linking to it because you still can’t buy it without an animal leather cover. Oh, and they could update it with Bluetooth audio.

Kindle Paperwhite

The 3rd

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s been over a year since this was announced in June of 2015…and a refresh with Bluetooth seems likely to me.

Kindle Voyage

Kindle Voyage (any configuration) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

came out in 2014…but I feel like it’s been replaced as the top of the line by the Oasis. I have one and I like it, but it feels a bit like the fifth wheel. I think entry level, Paperwhite, and Oasis is a good lineup.

Fire tablets

I’m addressing these a group…and there was an  update in fall of 2015. I expect an update of the Fire line…the least expensive one has been a big hit

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I think this is where we’ll see some real innovation. I think the iPad has lost some of its luster…there are a lot of tablets out there still, and the tablet isn’t an exploding market…but I think that benefits Amazon, which is sometimes seen as a utility player for hardware, when they enter existing markets.

Echo family

The

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

and

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

were introduced in March of 2016…and I use both of mine every workday (and the Tap on weekends). Probably too soon to refresh those.

On the other hand, the original

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has never been updated since it rolled out in 2014. It’s due.

Fire TV family

The

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

2nd generation was released at the end of last year, but I think we’ll see an update…this is a vibrant growing market, and Apple TV has challenged it with its most recent version.

Could we see something brand new? Sure!

My intuition is something new in home automation, connecting to the Alexa voice service. For example, I’d love it if Amazon introduced a widely compatible SmartHub. They could also do “AmazonBasics” for home automation lights, that kind of thing.

Could they do a watch? A Virtual Reality headset? A fitness tracker? Maybe…none of those feel really likely to me. I like the idea of a wearable audio player (for Prime Music, audiobooks, and text-to-speech) with no visual display, but that might just be me.

What do you think? Will we see new hardware announcements from Amazon in September 2016 ? If so, what do you think we’ll see? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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.


%d bloggers like this: