My thoughts on Amazon’s 2014 lineup of Kindles

September 18, 2014

Last night Amazon announced its 2014 lineup of Kindle ereaders and tablets.  I will direct you to Amazon’s main Kindle page to get the full specs.

Looking at the eIink ereaders first Amazon announced that the basic Kindle now comes with a touch interface.  This will retail for CAD79.  This looks a really nice entry into the ereader market and you could do a lot worse.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the new Kindle Voyage, which is smaller, lighter and with a higher resolution than ever before.  It includes page turn functionality in the bezel – something many people seem to have been requesting – as well as enhanced reading features such as an expanded X-Ray, greater integration with GoodReads.  This all seems excellent, but it does come with a hefty price tag.  The Kindle Voyage retails from USD 199.  It has optional 3G.

However, for us Canadians, we’re out of luck.  The Kindle Voyage is not yet available on the store.  I asked customer service and was told that they had no timeline for when it might be available.  It is available in the UK, Germany and Japan so why not Canada?  I seem to be asking this question each time.  In any case, it looks like I will be obliged to undertake my regular pilgrimage across the US border to pick one up.

In terms of the tablets, Amazon brought out a low end 6inch model, the Fire HD6.  This will retail at CAD 134.  This is actually of great interest to me personally.  I have a Fire HDX, but I like the idea of the smaller form factor to take with me. I have an iPad 3 which lives at home for larger tablet needs.My needs for a tablet on the go are pretty basic; books audiobooks, internet, email, basic games.This might do the trick as long as it plays audiobooks and I can still play The CATch to which I am addicted. I will see though how it compares to the HDX.  I have placed an order and I will let you know.  I find lately that I’ve been doing more and more of my reading/audiobook listening on the Fire rather than the Paperwhite, so maybe this smaller entry level tablet will replace it.

It appears that Amazon isn’t upgrading the hardware of the Fire HDX 7inch this year, although it will get a software upgrade to the new Fire OS 4 named Sangria. One of the key features of this software is the addition of profile support so that various family members can use the same device and family library so that they can share content.  That will be a nice to have.

They mention some UI enhancements, too, but they have not specified these yet.

I’m not certain if Firefly will be coming to the HDX – the information is a little unclear.  In any case, while that’s a nice to have I’m not worried about not having it.

The final Fire announced by Amazon was the HD Kids’ Edition.  This is a specially toughened version of the Fire with inbuilt Kindle Freetime and a two year guarantee.  This is again not available in Canada.

So, what are your thoughts on the new releases?  Any of them catch your eye?

Let me know in the comments.

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