Amazon’s Kindle e-readers can easily last for a month on a single charge, but the upcoming eighth generation ones could last even longer. The e-commerce giant is gearing up to launch a higher-end Kindle e-reader with protective rechargeable casing that could offer additional battery life, WSJ reports. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has already hinted about imminent launch of next-gen Kindles on Twitter. The tweet reads, “Heads up readers – all-new, top of the line Kindle almost ready. 8th generation. Details next week.”
The new case would allow the Kindle to be slimmer than its predecessor, the report says. This could also mean that the device would have shorter or similar battery life as the older models. The report further states that Amazon is also working on solar-powered casing. However, it is not likely to be ready by the time the new Kindles launch next week.
The history of Kindle: A timeline
Amazon launched the very first Kindle back in 2007, which was also the e-commerce giant’s first consumer product. It featured a 6-inch 4-level gray scale display, but overall size including the bezels and other buttons was as big as a fullscape book. With 250MB internal storage that could store up to 2,000 e-books and an SD card slot for further expansion, it also featured a spaced out QWERTY keyboard and buttons for back, next page, previous page and a scroll wheel. A 3.5mm audio jack and speaker was also present to listen to audio files.
The Kindle 2 was launched in 2009 with slight design changes, 2GB of storage and text-to-speech option for reading texts aloud. It was a little slimmer than the first-generation Kindle and did not feature any microSD card slot. The Kindle 2 also sported a QWERTY keyboard and changes to the buttons layout. Amazon had also introduced the slightly upgraded Kindle DX version with an e-ink display and 50 percent better contrast ratio.
The Kindle 3 launched in 2010 was not only cheaper than its predecessor, but also came with a cleaner design. It included a Voice Guide feature for spoken menu navigation. With upgraded 4GB of onboard storage, Amazon also added support for MP3 playback to play audio files.
The fourth generation Kindle was a major departure from the previous ones, and it also dropped the physical QWERTY keyboard. Launched in 2011, it was 30 percent lighter than its predecessor, and featured a D-pad for menu navigation. It only featured a menu button, back, the next and previous page buttons. With the lack of keyboard, Amazon was also able to shrink down its size, making it easy to carry in your pocket.
In 2012, Amazon announced two devices, the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Paperwhite, both featuring touch screen displays. They only featured one power button, whereas the menu navigation and other inputs were touch based.
The Kindle Paperwhite second generation was launched in 2013 E-Ink Carta display technology which eliminated the page refresh every time while turning the page in an e-book. With 1GHz processor, it also offered 25 percent performance improvements over the previous version. It came integrated with GoodReads allowing users to add books after they purchase. It also kept reading progress in sync with the account.
In 2014 Amazon launched the Kindle Voyage with an e-ink Carta HD always-on display with pixel density of 300ppi. It also offered the highest contrast and resolution in any of the available e-readers. It featured a ‘PagePress’ navigation system where sensors on either side of the screen would turn pages without lifting a finger.
Last year, Amazon also launched the All-New Kindle Paperwhite, which was a refreshed version of the Paperwhite. It features a 6-inch display running at a resolution of 1440×1080 pixels (300 ppi), which has twice the number of pixels compared to the original Paperwhite.
Amazon has also launched the Kindle Fire tablets for playing games, watching movies and videos, web browsing and more. Other products in Amazon’s portfolio include Fire TV devices, a portable battery-powered speaker Tap, a slightly bigger speaker Dot and the Echo Bluetooth speaker that comes with digital assistant Alexa onboard. Amazon had also released a Fire Phone in 2014, which didn’t click well with the users.
The current Kindle e-readers available on Amazon India are priced between Rs 5,999 to Rs 16,499.