It turns out my previous post was just as premature as Amazon’s ads. Amazon has officially announced the new, waterproof Oasis, and it turns out that the company does listen to user complaints. While the new reader still has the odd asymmetric one-handed design, it has migrated the battery back inside the device so the charge time once again measures in weeks rather than days. It has also lowered the price to $250, and incorporated Bluetooth so it can be paired to external speakers or earphones for Audible audiobook reading.
It features a 7″ 300 DPI screen with five levels of boldness, and comes with 8 GB or 32 GB of on-board storage. It will also make it possible to change the size of text and items on the home screen, which will be helpful to people with vision impairment. Older Kindles will get whichever of those new features they can in software updates available later today.
I don’t have time to go into this further before I leave for work, but suffice it to say the new reader promises to have some great features, at a cheaper price than last year’s model. It will be interesting to see how well it works out. Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has some further details.
Related: News release.
Relax, Chris, you’re getting jerked around unnecessarily. Marketing people like to do that. Amazon does it a lot, as does Apple. Microsoft would, but their knack for doing that seems to have vanished. I hardly notice when a new version of Windows comes out.
There’s an easy fix for that. Never buy a just-released product. You don’t need to follow the rumors and hints because you’ll not be buying anytime soon. You’ll be able to buy knowing what experienced people are saying. Any initial bugs and flaws will be fixed.
Don’t forget that patience is virtue and that, rather than getting the worm, the “early bird” is often eaten by a cat lurking in the morning twilight.
Looks like a winner to me for high end users. The bigger screen is nice, more storage won’t hurt, and it’s now only $50 more than the Voyage. I think the Voyage is going to get squeezed; in the long run it will either be discontinued or get a price cut to $169 or $179.
If you REALLY want to store a lot of books you can pay another $30 to get 32GB instead of the standard 8GB. I’m not sure how useful that really is; books with lots of graphics are what really need space, but reading those on any e-ink device is not a great experience, especially since they’re usually in color. I use my e-ink Kindle for most reading, but switch to a tablet for comics.
Not being as cynical as Michael, I went ahead and ordered one because if the past is any indication, the initial run will sell out and then it will be weeks later before they are available again. I have never gotten burned on ordering a Kindle early. With the very first one, I had to wait from December 20 to the end of January to get it, and waiting was agony. Even though it was a brand new device, and a clunky one at that, it was marvelous to be able to carry a whole library of books around in a device that size.
The review copies will be sent to journalists soon and there will be reviews of the new Oasis in actual use with plenty of time to cancel before October 31.
Len Edgerly’s Kindle Chronicles will tell you more about it, both at this link, and also the podcast.
An update on my comment about storage: another article pointed out that the new Oasis can play audiobooks from Audible. (You have to listen via Bluetooth because it has no speaker or headphone jack.) Audiobooks are much larger than typical print books, so the extra storage should be quite useful for people who enjoy them.
Now that it is out and the specs revealed, I’ll add a couple of comments.
First, The cattle-like stupidity that now dominates tech-world decision makers has struck again. Amazon has joined the madness that removes the headphone jack. If you leave on a trip thinking you can listen to an audiobook, prepare to be disappointed. It matters not the battery life in this Oasis. You’re stuck with the 4-5 hours of the typical Bluetooth headset.
Did I say this people are stupid? That’s probably not true. By removing that headphone jack, they save a few pennies and get to sell you a Bluetooth headset. Apple’s Tim Cook seems to be leading this trend to offer less and price higher.
Second, unless your only interests are ebooks and audiobooks, Amazon’s high-end Kindle readers are not a good idea. They cost too much for what they deliver. Tablets, either Android or iOS, offer a wealth of apps and refurbished often sell for less. Just use them with Amazon’s Kindle app.
iTechDeals, for instance, is offering an iPad Air for about $100 less than this Oasis and A4c is offering one with cellular data for $40 less.
The same doesn’t apply to Amazon’s low-end Kindle ereaders. If you read a lot of ebooks, they may make sense—even in addition to a tablet.
One more comment about tablets. I got stuck with a 16GB iPad and that’s not enough. Go for at least 32 GB. Both those stores I mention offer them.
Michael, there are those of us not comfortable reading on a backlit screen. I can handle this for awhile, but not for long. I HAVE an iPad but do not do long-form reading on it. I do use it for cookbooks and other things with illustrations. Since I read a lot of books, I am more comfortable with an e-ink screen, and am especially looking forward to white type on black. We are all different, and thus the same thing does not work for everybody. I agree with you about the headphone jack. Relying only on bluetooth is a pain.