It’s not often you get the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company tweeting advance news of product releases but that’s what Amazon’s Jeff Bezos did yesterday, so it seems Mr Bezos must be very proud of the ‘all-new, top of the line Kindle almost ready, 8th generation’.
Intriguing news considering that Amazon only recently introduced a whole new range of Kindle Fires in September last year, including an excellent model priced at just $49.99 which was a massive hit. It also extensively updated some e-readers in the summer, including the very popular Kindle Paperwhite which got a resolution increase to 300ppi and a new layout engine.
However, the original 7th generation of Kindle e-readers was launched way back (in tech terms) in September/October 2014, a whole year and a half ago.
That generation included the introduction of the Kindle Voyage, which was brought in as very much the top-of-the-line Kindle e-reader. The smart money is on the new Kindle mentioned by Mr Bezos being either a new version of the Voyage or perhaps even a new model altogether.
The Voyage is a premium e-reader at a premium price, originally $199, well above the price point of the 2015 Paperwhite at $119.
It’s difficult to see how you can continue improving an e-reader, which is, after all, a fairly basic device designed for one primary task — to display ebooks. I’ve got a Voyage and, at 300 dpi, I find the text very sharp and readable and I don’t know how much of a difference a rise in resolution would make.
The Voyage did get the new so-called typesetting engine and the Bookerly font last year, along with the Paperwhite.
It’s also very small (6-inch screen), thin and light enough already to tuck into a pocket without even noticing it.
Still, it was popular when it was introduced so a new model is likely at least to spur new sales for Amazon’s hardware.
No doubt, Amazon has something up its sleeve for the new launch — now that would be fantastic — an e-reader you could keep up your sleeve.
There is also a report in the Wall Street Journal (if you feel like getting past the paywall) that Amazon is developing a solar-charged Kindle case for its e-readers. I’m not sure quite what point there would be for such a device as e-readers can last a long time on a charge, but I suppose it could be a selling point if Amazon were to really break out into its less-developed markets such as India or across Africa.
Incidentally, what’s with Jeff Bezos’s Twitter account? He’s been a member since 2008 but he’s only tweeted 32 times? He’s ‘only’ got 102k followers, which might sound a lot but it’s nothing for a big-company CEO. Tesla’s Elon Musk, for example, has 3.69 million followers while Apple’s Tim Cook has 2.23 million followers and he only joined Twitter in 2013.
There’s also no indication of how many people Jeff Bezos is following, there is no column at all for Following, which is something I’ve never seen before on Twitter. Even Elon Musk is following 50 people (including The Hacker News and South Park) while Tim Cook is following 46 people, including keeping tabs on Apple Support, Bill Clinton and Pope Francis.
It’s interesting to note that both Musk and Cook follow History in Pictures (@HistoryinPics), a great service which shares ‘the most powerful historical photographs ever taken’, including, today, a powerful historical GIF of Julie Newmar as Catwoman in 1966.