Thursday, September 6, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fail

Amazon has announced its new line of Kindles, which will release on October 1st.  Among them are the new Kindle Fire, the Kindle Fire HD, and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" (which is a horrible name).  I have absolutely no interest in any of the Kindle Fire family.  Go buy an iPad.

What does interest me, however, is the new Kindle Paperwhite.  Evidently, the screen is higher resolution and has a special backlight technology that is way less obnoxious than LED or LCD, which bounce light back into the space surrounding the screen.  It also has 2GB of memory and the ability to change spacing and font size in your eBooks.  BUT...

There's a huge but.  BUT Amazon has also announced that none of their future Kindles will support text to speech.  They supposedly tout this new line as upgrades.  Yes, they have a slightly larger memory.  Yes, they have the ability to change fonts.  And yet they have still not given me a reason to ever update my three year old Kindle 2 3G.  In fact, now I am clutching it tighter!  It still runs like a top, it still holds its battery charge for weeks. It holds all my books, and reads to me when I can't give it the attention it deserves.  Because Amazon has still not given me a reason to abandon my Kindle 2, I declare the new line of Kindles a complete and epic fail.

Why would you come out with a new line of Kindles and actually remove features that were there before?  It just makes no sense - it borders on stupidity, from a business perspective.  Without the text-to-speech, there is honestly no differentiating the Kindle from the Barnes & Noble Nook or any of the other e-Readers out there.

9 comments:

  1. ALL of the new Kindles are also ad-supported, so this is one product I'm steering clear of before I chuck it out the window.

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  2. Hey Adam, it's because they are now selling "narration" add-ons when you buy a kindle book. I just watched the video for it. It's an additional $3.95 for the example book. Something about a deal with Audible... maybe it will be the professional audio books, maybe not. I don't know. They just got around the whole copyright problem by licensing it separately.

    I have the Kindle Keyboard, and I'm like you: Not interested in upgrading.

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  3. They removed text-to-speech because it was a horrible abomination of nature and needed to be vanquished. I tried it several time and found myself saying 'What did I just listen to?'.

    Just my opinion of course ;)

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    1. You are entitled to your wrong opinion, Jason. ;-)

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  4. Unknown: You still have the option to pay $20 more for the version without ads.

    As Jason said, the removal of text-to-speech (if true) is probably because of ongoing copyright issues. Blame US copyright law if anything, which I find myself becoming daily more disgusted with. Also, like Jason, I've found it to be nothing more than a novelty, as any listening I've tried to do ended with very little comprehension on my part. At least most of the Librivox readers _try_ to make some inflection :)

    Lastly, simply because it's not enough to make you buy a new one doesn't mean it's a fail (much less "epic"). The inclusion of new fonts alone makes me eager to try it (I'm a snob when it comes to aesthetics). Then they top that off with an incredibly engineered frontlight---if you know anything about waveguides or electromagnetics, it just boggles the mind. Better resolution is a huge plus as well.

    Hey, I'm still keeping my faithful ol' 1991 Honda Accord but that doesn't mean Honda has made epic fails when it comes to designing newer and better cars ;)

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  5. The Text-to-Speech feature is now on the Fire line and may come to the iOS apps. You should probably consider upgrading to the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) because it is suppose to get an update that allows the whispervoice syncing with Audible. The Kindle2 was horrible: not as ergonomic as the first gen (which we still used until Dad sat on it two months ago) and not as nice a screen as the Kindle 3.

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  6. The Text-to-Speech feature is now on the Fire line and may come to the iOS apps. You should probably consider upgrading to the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) because it is suppose to get an update that allows the whispervoice syncing with Audible. The Kindle2 was horrible: not as ergonomic as the first gen (which we still used until Dad sat on it two months ago) and not as nice a screen as the Kindle 3.

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  7. "Epic fail," Adam? Thou rantest so! ;-) Frankly, the Text-to-Speech feature did not interest me on my K3. I recently gave my Kindle to one of our adult daughters, figuring she would not be able to buy one, so I've preordered the Paperwhite and eagerly await it. The built-in light (not back-lit) feature is a huge selling point to me.

    As for "buy an iPad," I did . . . and returned it. I'm almost always with my laptop, and wanting a 32GB iPad for my Logos Bible Study library, I kept thinking of all I could not do with the iPad. I wasn't $600-worth-of-happy with it--the iPad was overkill for me. A 32GB Kindle Fire HD (8.9" or perhaps even the 7") may be the sweet spot considering how much I want to pay and what I use the tablet for. We'll see.

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