Amazon Slims and Rebalances Kindle

It has been eight years since the introduction of the original Amazon Kindle. Each successive generation has made the device smaller, lighter and faster; progress that has now led to the Kindle Oasis. It is Amazon’s thinnest and lightest eReader yet.

The Kindle Oasis weighs 130g and is 3.4mm at its thinnest point. This makes it on average 20% lighter and 30% thinner than any other Kindle. The chassis is made of a polymer, plated with metal. A redesign has shifted the centre of gravity to the palm of a user’s hand, making one-handed use more comfortable. An accelerometer detects whether the device is being held with a left or right hand, and automatically rotates the page and page turn buttons to match.

Battery life has been lengthened with a new dual battery system: one in the Kindle and one in the charging cover. The battery in the cover uses a custom cell architecture to remain small and light. Both the eReader and cover can be charged at the same time, if they are connected, from one plug point. Battery life is rated in months, rather than weeks.

Amazon has built a Paperwhite display into the Kindle; a front light illuminates the screen in the dark. The number of LEDs has been raised by from six to 10, in order to deliver a bright display. The diffraction has also been redesigned, to provide more uniform illumination. A 200µm backplane – as thin as a sheet of foil – is used to keep the Kindle thin.

The 6″ display has 300 ppi, the same as the Kindle Paperwhite and Voyage. All regular Kindle features, such as X-Ray, are included.

Amazon will start to sell the Kindle Voyage on the 27th April. It can be pre-ordered now, for $280.

Analyst Comment

Nook has been getting negative press in the UK over a decision to drop out of the UK market and hand over its customers to Sainsbury. The Nook app will stop working in the UK and although Barnes & Noble (which owns the Nook brand) said that it will “ensure that you have continued access to the vast majority of your purchased NOOK Books at no new cost to you.”, that doesn’t mean all of the content. An app is being provided to allow call titles to be downloaded to a PC. After the end of the “Revolve” support, this has added to controversy over “sunsetting” of digital products. Complainants to the BBC have included annoyed users of Skype on Samsung SmartTVs and a complaint that the BBC’s own apps no longer support older Apple products. (BR)