Back in March, I came across a little nugget indicating a new Amazon Kindle would be unveiled this month. Although, at the time, I wasn’t entirely certain if it was another e-reader (despite being described as such) or a refreshed Fire tablet. Or, perhaps, even an existing product destined for a new market. Well, today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has set the record straight with this out-of-character pre-announcement:
Heads up readers – all-new, top of the line Kindle almost ready. 8th generation. Details next week.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 4, 2016
The little information I’ve dug up via regulatory filings and International shipping manifests indicate at least one model (and there may only be one) ships with WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular connectivity – likely running running $200 or more (given an uncertain conversion rate and retail vs wholesale pricing) and presumably replacing the Voyage with a newer model of unclear branding.
Regarding new features, I don’t have much and can’t tell you, for example, if we’ll be treated to a new e-ink display or the return of “real” page turn buttons. But, while it’s often cheaper and easier to procure wireless chips containing both WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities these days, I’m hoping the new wireless protocol is truly present… as in “active”.
Why would the new Kindle need Bluetooth? To use Audible with Bluetooth headphones? Alexified?
— Dave Zatz (@davezatz) April 4, 2016
Beyond the device itself, there’s mention of a powered leather cover of some sort. I can’t tell you if this represents an extra battery, a keyboard, or is merely something lost in translation. But rest assured, I’ll continue digging (with the help of AFTVNews and The Digital Reader), until the big unveil next week.
11 thoughts on “Amazon to replace top tier Kindle Voyage with…”
“Regarding new features, I don’t have much and can’t tell you, for example, if we’ll be treated to … the return of “real” page turn buttons.”
Oh, god. Don’t do that, Dave. Spit-take all over my laptop. Laughing until my sides hurt.
Will it come with a pony too?
“The little information I’ve dug up via regulatory filings and International shipping manifests indicate at least one model (and there may only be one) ships with WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular connectivity”
OK. Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, I think it’s obviously going to do 4K, no? Doesn’t make sense otherwise.
Physical page turn buttons. That’d be too useful to make sense.
The Wall Street Journal says the powered case serves as an external battery/charger.
Voyage was too much $$$ for too little, especially compared to the paperwhite.
Agree. High end e-reader seems like a very niche market to go after with tablets so cheap and the Paperwhite so solid (I own the most recent and I think my mom has the prior). Will be interesting to see what they try to do here.
“Agree. High end e-reader seems like a very niche market to go after with tablets so cheap”
FWIW, I think it’s strongly in Amazon’s interests to chase niche markets with the eInk Kindle.
I’d never dream of using a tablet for heavy reading. And my entire willingness to keep buying eBooks is thus dependent on Amazon making a form-factor I’m that makes me comfortable. Without that, I’d head directly back to dead-tree.
Given that heavy readers account for an absurdly outsized percentage of book sales, (compared to many other kinds of content), Amazon has been somewhat insane IMHO in not more vigorously chasing after niches. The profit isn’t in the hardware, it’s in the eBooks and lock-in.
As is, I’m pretty dissatisfied with Amazon’s current lineup. I want physical page-turn buttons, (which the new edition surprisingly seems to include), but I also want a lightweight gizmo, and most importantly, with a somewhat larger screen, neither of which the new edition seems to have. I’m fine with the tradeoff of lighter weight for less battery.
I currently buy a fair percentage of dead-tree books, especially for lengthy or dense tomes, purely because of my dissatisfaction with current form-factors – namely the lack of an extra inch or two of screen. I really do think from a purely dollars & cents POV, Amazon would do better chasing after 5% niches in the market of heavy-readers. Let 8 Kindles bloom!
But a high-end Kindle is a niche within a niche. Will be interesting to see if that battery cover is included. If it is, they kill a third party market. If it’s not, they generate a higher attach rate in accessory purchases, sort of backing your lock-in point.
“But a high-end Kindle is a niche within a niche.”
No doubt. But again, my “Let 8 Kindles bloom!” suggestion is all about the fact that they should be chasing after small niches. They should be viewing it more clearly as a razor / blade model.
If 80% of eBook sales are made to heavy readers, it makes sense to have a few high-end readers, a few mid-range readers, and a couple of low-end readers. The more comfortable heavy readers are with the form factor, the more likely they are to be buying eBooks.
I attribute a huge chunk of dropping share of eBooks largely to the publishers’ Pyrrhic victory in raising eBooks prices compared to dead-tree, of course. But I also think a lack of niche variety in eReaders plays a significant part. If your true market is folks who buy 30+ books a year, as seems to be the case, you’ve just gotta cater to them.
(I buy lots more dead-tree now than when I first got my Kindle, purely cuz once the initial novelty wore off, I realized that there’s no form-factor for my personal niche. I’d pay a high-end price for a non-fancy eReader that hit my niche, and much more importantly buy more Amazon eBooks.)
Apple was smart in the pre-iPhone days when they made a zillion varieties of iPods to hit all niches.
“Will be interesting to see if that battery cover is included. If it is, they kill a third party market. If it’s not, they generate a higher attach rate in accessory purchases, sort of backing your lock-in point.”
Yeah, if I were Bezos, I simply wouldn’t be care one way or another about stuff like that. It ain’t about the hardware margins. It’s all about selling the content.
1) Voyage stays in lineup, as
2) Oasis launches at $290
3) Testing was completed last spring and summer, making me wonder if this was a blown 2015 holiday launch (like TiVo Bolt OTA).
4) No mention of the Bluetooth capabilities cited in both overseas and continental regulatory filings. Software/features not ready or just cheaper to buy a chip with WiFI+BT?
5) There were no rumors that this was waterproof other than Digital Reader Nate throwing it out there based on leaked name, so I’m not entirely surprised an e-reader with a bundled leather cover would not be waterproof.
6) Although it looks like they dropped a headphone jack during a device revision pre-launch. So maybe they tried some waterproofing but weren’t satisfied?
Too bad the leather case doesn’t include a solar panel on the back.
“Too bad the leather case doesn’t include a solar panel on the back.”
I wanted a pony.
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