You may have seen the news that Amazon have launched a new top-end Kindle, the Oasis. Being a techie geek, I've actually been quite excited to see the specs for this new machine, and I've been expecting it to arrive for a good few weeks - the big trade-in offers for old kindles was an easy signal to interpret. I'm not going to review it here, as there are plenty of sites doing a much better job of that. The summary of the reviews though (in case you don't want to read them all) is very simple:

  • Top quality e-reader
  • New LED lights (behind the same screen as the Voyager & latest Paperwhite) make it the most readable/paper-like experience yet
  • Very thin on one side, bulging on the other (like the spine of a paperback), apparently makes it more comfortable to hold [And yes, it works for left or right-handed people]
  • Cover acts as an extra battery, giving it 'months' of life
  • EXPENSIVE (approx $300 in the USA, not far off that in pounds in the UK)
  • NOT WATERPROOF

The waterproof point is interesting. Since both Nook and Kobo offer waterproof versions of their e-readers, and waterproofing has been very high on the wish list for Kindle users, when news leaked a few days ago that the 'Oasis' was coming (with images of people reading it next to water) then most people assumed the new Kindle would be waterproof. I must confess to being a Kindle user. I still have a house full of 'real' books, but I find the Kindle very convenient - especially for holidays, and for tired eyes (love the light and the control over font sizes). Yet I read most books on my Kindle app, on the iPad. That's because my iPad is more of a constant companion and I can do many things with it. However, I love to use my Kindle mostly on holiday (by the pool) or in the garden by the hot tub (come as standard in California :) So waterproofing is pretty high on my list of desired features. I know I could probably pay waterfi to do this for me (you can buy fully waterproofed Kindle Paperwhite's direct from them already), but it seems a big omission.

There are a few other gaps too: many people wanted speakers brought back, so that they could listen to audible books. (Although another group insists they should buy a Kindle Fire or iPad for that). Many people don't understand why it lacks the ambient light sensor of the Voyager. Almost everyone thinks it is overpriced. Some say they should have increased the screen size. Other people have criticised the lack of new software features (there is one new font). It would be great, they say, if the home screen showed the cover of the book you're reading when the device is switched off (unless you are reading 50 shades of grey). I say: thank you Amazon for continuing to innovate in the e-reader space, and can you acquire waterfi and offer waterproofing as an option on all kindles for a $50 fee? 

What would you like to see? Colour screen is a banned item - technology isn't ready yet :(

[UPDATE: Why is it that the bulletin boards are full of people complaining that the device only works for right-handed people? Amazon's site, plus every single review, shows that it can flip from left to right-handed use automatically. Do these people not read before they post? It must drive the Amazon marketing people crazy. Still, if these people can't read, I guess they aren't the target audience!!]

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