Yesterday Amazon introduced a new Kindle Paperwhite bundle with a Kindle Audio Adapter accessory that can be used to listen to text-to-speech and read screen content aloud for the visually impaired.
Amazon has already started selling the Kindle Audio Adapter separately for $19.99. It’s in stock and shipping now.
Currently the description says that it only works with the Kindle Paperwhite 3, the 7th generation model.
People with Amazon have stated that support will be added to other Kindles as well, but no specifics have been given regarding models or a date.
I guess that explains why the 7th gen Paperwhite is the only one showing the 18.104.22.168 software version at the moment, where the other current models are still at 5.7.4.
The Kindle Audio Adapter is basically an audio interface designed specifically for the Kindle. It connects to the device’s USB port and draws power from the Kindle’s battery.
You can connect a pair of headphones or speakers into the adapter (it does not come with either) to listen to text-to-speech on Kindle books that have the feature enabled (it’s up to publishers and authors to allow it or not).
The audio adapter also enables the use of Amazon’s VoiceView feature, which is available on their Fire tablets as well. The feature is designed to read screen content aloud and assist the blind and visually impaired to navigate the Kindle by touch and sound.
Unfortunately the Kindle Audio Adapter does not work with other forms of audio content, so audiobooks and music files still cannot be played.
I’ll be posting a review of the new adapter soon so check back later for more details.
Update: It looks like this is only going to work with the Kindle Paperwhite 3, the Kindle Voyage, and the Kindle Oasis because it turns out that the TTS software requires 512MB of RAM to work and all the other Kindles only have 256MB.
The “Audio Adapter” is a simple usb-soundcard. I have one and connected this with a OTG-cable to the Paperwhite. And i´ve made a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRGwIMHDVqw
Cool. USB adapters and OTG cables only cost a few bucks.
I still have a working Kindle Touchscreen with the audio port – allows listening to audiobooks and music.Doesn’t support TTS, but wish a real sound port were in the Oasis – after all, Amazon OWNS Audible!
Well, we can hope. I don’t need a Kindle fire, and I can listen to audio books on my iOS device, it would just be nicer to enjoy all my books on the Kindle – and maybe a bit of music, too!
The Kindle Touch does indeed support TTS, by the way.
Bob Deloyd says
I have an old Kindle keyboard that has two speakers on the bottom and a headphone jack on top, never used it myself except once to see hear what it did, but don’t remember how to make it work; I think it had something to do with certain keys pressed on the keyboard to make it function… so Amazon started out selling the kindle with the ability for sound and then they taketh it away and now they’re selling that ability for $20… simply amazing 🙂
Johann Cat says
One step forward, two back. This is absurd, this recurrence to pre-bluetooth, wired tech for sound. Developers of Android-based e-ink devices: please keep at it; Kindle needs competition.
Carol Brewer says
The 50.00 dollar fire has text to speech audio books and music. I do not want text to speech on my Paperwhite. Speakers would add weight and drain the battery. If I didn’t have a blind friend I would even understand the need for a audio adapter vs using a fire. I believe this is a good compromise for visually impaired without adding unwanted features to everyone’s kindle I owned the first generation kindle and the kindle keyboard I never once used text to speech, audio books or listen to music ereaders are for reading
Johann Cat says
I do not care if a B&W reader has on board speakers; the point is be able to connect *wirelessly* to a Bluetooth speaker. I use this function often with every Android device I have, including a B&W Onyx i86, which has Bluetooth. I use a Cereproc robot voice for TTS (he is Scottish, actually, named Stuart) and he is more pleasant to listen to than any candidate for president this year and better than most professional news readers. I am not kidding on that. I do not know why Cereproc doesn’t get more positive press on their voices. The point is to get eyes-free access to books.