The 8th avatar of the Kindle reader gets closer than ever, to a real book
Bangalore, April 25 2016: It is 9 years since Amazon launched its dedicated e-book reader, the Kindle and though there have been about seven variants, these come down to three models from the original 2007 Kindle book to the much sharper Paper White in 2012 to the Voyager two years later , which came with navigation by touch within the book and an adaptive light sensor.
On April 27, the new Kindle Oasis is available in India at Amazon.in and for the first time, it appears to have shrunk in size -- not just in weight and thickness. In fact all Kindles have come with a 6-inch diagonal reading area, but the Oasis has chopped away the empty spaces and perhaps for the first time ever, users will feel they are holding a real book: it now approximates to the rough dimensions of a paperback. And for a more "bookie" feel, you now have a soft leather jacket ( which doubles as a stepney battery, as well as up-down navigate buttons that also serve as a good grip.
Other features remain about the same: Kindle still unsubtly pushes you to its online bookstore and you need to know that there is an experimental browser hidden in the menu ( "experimental" after 8 years, come on!) which lets search for other things including free books outside those within Kindle Store.
What has changed dramatically for the better with every new model including the present, is the sheer readability and ease of navigation. And by making it 20% lighter than Voyager, Oasis is a lot more comfortable to use for a lot many more, older users. I still have my classic 2007 Kindle ( I had forgotten that it came with a physical keyboard!) and just placing it besides Oasis is proof enough that the e-book reader has evolved beyond recognition. At the asking price of Rs 23,999 for the WiFi-only model and Rs 27,999 for WiFi + free lifetime 3G, Oasis is the costliest Kindle of them all -- by a stretch. But if you want to complete the illusion that you are indeed holding a real book, then it will seem more reasonable... after all true maya costs money!
- Anand Parthasarathy