Last month Amazon announced the release of the Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition Tablet, their most misleading product release yet.
On the surface it sounds like a really good idea, but then upon closer examination all it is is a marketing ploy for a Fire HD 8 bundle with an overpriced cover and a year-long subscription to Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s ebook subscription service.
There’s nothing about the tablet itself that makes it special as a reading tablet.
It still bugs the heck out of me to see Amazon calling it the “Best Tablet for Reading”.
Because of the lower resolution screen, the Fire HD 8 isn’t even Amazon’s best tablet for ereading. Not to mention the fact that battery life is just average, and you can’t read outside anywhere near bright sunlight, like any other tablet with an LCD screen.
The Reader’s Edition tablet turned out to be all puff and no substance. There’s not one single unique thing about it from a reading perspective.
Wouldn’t it be cool if Amazon released a real Reader’s Edition tablet?
One with a screen not negatively impacted by bright light, and with super long battery life so you don’t need to recharge every few hours.
Back in 2013, Amazon purchased a company called Liquavista that specializes in making color displays that do just that. They’re sort of like E Ink screens on Kindles but with full color.
Unfortunately the acquisition has yet to yield any results. In fact we haven’t even seen anything demoed from Liquavista in years. All we’ve seen from them is this pointless video saying why Amazon is great (of course they think that; Amazon is paying them to hang out in a huge office and go out to lunch and have fun without ever having to actually produce anything). The video gives no insight into the display technology whatsoever and fails to mention any goals of future development.
Hopefully Amazon is just being super secretive like usual, and the folks at Liquavista really are working on a cool new display technology that’s soon to get released, but so far there’s been no evidence to support that. Liquavista was founded way back 2006. They’ve got to release a product at some point, you’d think (it always amazes me how companies like Liquavista manage to stay in business for a decade without ever actually producing anything).
If Liquavista ever does come up with something usable, a real Reader’s Edition tablet could be a likely approach. One with an electrowetting display would sure be a lot cooler than a regular Fire HD 8 with a misleading name…
This deception is the reason I cancelled my Amazon prime membership, sold all my Kindles, including my over priced Voyage with the pink display, canceled Kindle unlimited AND returned eveything purchased within the last 30 days from Amazon. After using Marvin on my new iPad mini, nothing and I mean nothing comes close. Although I do like google play books and that Literata font.
I did same with my kindle. When I broke my kindle I bought a new one Voyage.
When I see the kindle at the price of 250$ (in India) I thing it’s total time and money wasting.
I hate the locked eco-system. I need to waste too much time. I hope Google do something with E-ink otherwise google play book work smart.
Bob Deloyd says
The $49 7″ Fire comes with Blue Shade I believe…. 😉
RQ: … and Microsoft should release 15 inch eink e-reader with Continuum support.
Shawn Ritchie says
Criminy, you folks sure are entitled. Can the author of this piece source his claim that the former Liquavista team sit around all day and have done no actual work since Amazon acquired them? Was there some obligation on Amazon’s part to keep you all informed as to every plan they have and are working on? Did Amazon somehow change and I missed it and now they’re suddenly NOT the sort of company that just drops new shit on the public when they’re ready to sell it without much in the way of advance news and tidbits?
Sounds like something one of Liquavista’s employees would say, in which case I wouldn’t blame you for getting mad. That video isn’t doing any favors by showing everyone out at lunch having a good time instead of showing anything to do with new screens. The fact of the matter is Liquavista has failed to create anything but a few prototypes in ten years; that doesn’t exactly scream productivity. If Samsung couldn’t make it work with Liquavista I doubt Amazon will do much better. Up to this point it all just looks like a waste of time from the outside. Ten years with nothing. It boggles the mind how people keep getting paid for that kind of productivity. Where do I sign up?
While we are about all of this, how about upping the Paper White screen size to 7 inches with a new Liquavista screen!
The move is now to OLED screens, which I think will take more market share (may be coming generations of the iPad will use that technology); also major manufacturers are putting out laptops with OLED screens too, albeit at the more premium end. Developing a technology that Liquavista promises as an alternative to LCD is a long way off, as there is little interest and I suspect Amazon are looking at future possibilities with electro-wetting technology.
For now e-ink has got e-readers covered and there is no interest to release a larger e-ink e-reader for textbooks, where colour might be an important issue (anyway, the technology for colour e-ink is already out there but underdeveloped, probably due to low demand). This leaves tablets and here OLED seems to be the future for now.