New Kindle releases have been becoming less frequent in recent years. In fact last year was the first calendar year since 2008 where Amazon didn’t release any new Kindles at all.
Now we’re already over halfway through 2021 and still no new Kindles have been seen. The last Kindle to get released was the Kindle Oasis 3 in July 2019, and it wasn’t even a “new” model, just a minor revision to an existing model that was originally released in October 2017.
In November it will be three years since the Kindle Paperwhite 4 was released. The current entry-level model has been out for over 2 years now.
It’s not like things have stalled out like this with other companies that make and sell E Ink reading devices.
In fact there have been a number of changes in recent years. Now there are ereaders with color E Ink screens, and a bunch of larger 10-inch models that double as E Ink notebooks have been released by a number of companies. E Ink also recently revealed a new touchscreen technology called On-Cell Touch that supposedly improves contrast by 30%.
Despite all that, everything continues to remain the same with Kindles. No innovation, no improvements, no new models, nothing.
Instead Amazon would rather offer a Kindle with a low resolution 800 x 600 screen that’s lower than any other ebook reader available, with the same resolution as the very first Kindle from 2007.
In 2021 nearly every 6-inch ebook reader on the market offers frontlight temperature control for improved night reading, but not the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon only offers that feature on the $250 Kindle Oasis.
Something has to change in 2021. Amazon can’t just keep offering the same old Kindles year after year and not expect to lose customers.
The Kindle Oasis 3 is really the only model that doesn’t need to be updated (although, if I was in charge, I’d revise the design a bit to add a larger battery). It’s way past time the entry-level model should get updated to a 212 ppi screen, and the Paperwhite should finally get the option to use a warm frontlight (although I would change the name because calling it a Paperwhite no longer makes sense if you can change the screen to yellow/orange).
With nearly every other ereader company offering an ebook reader with a 10-inch screen now, I still can’t believe Amazon refuses to do so. A larger Kindle should get released in 2021 too, but at this point I wouldn’t bet $5 on it.
Hopefully we’ll get at least one new Kindle this fall, and hopefully it’s more than just another minor revision to an existing model, but it’s hard to imagine what changes Amazon will make after 2 full years of nothing.
Steve H. says
Actually, I would bet 5 dollars on it..but that’s about it. I actually expect a good large device with great lighting from Amazon. Probably no color device.
I don’t think they are capable of retiring the name Paperwhite, although it might get temperature control.
What I would like to see is more options with page buttons.
They have made it perfectly clear that they do not want to invest in e-readers. I am not holding my breath for anything innovative.
Sorry to question this claim, where did you hear this?
Christian Bullock says
It has been sad to see the Kindle line just be OK with releasing subpar device bumps simply because they are the market leader. I know Kobo and other devices do have a presence outside of the US, but I feel like from a consumer standpoint when people say “Kindle” it’s because they don’t know anything outside of that ereader offering.
I’ve enjoyed exploring other options but know the bulk of consumers don’t care and are happy because they don’t really know what else exists out there.
That or they’re too tied into Amazon’s ecosystem to think about moving their books away.
I’m hopeful for something new. I feel like with Kobo finally dipping into that 10 inch device category, we may see Amazon do the same? But you’re right. I want to see something happen.
And the thing is – these folks aren’t afraid of trying new things! the Echo Frames, the Echo Loop… all some weird attempts at something different. They’re OK with taking chances there but they can’t do anything with their Kindle line?
Unrelated – I’m excited to hear about your Elipsa thoughts. I’ve had my device for about 72 hours and I’m seeing the pros and cons personally. I’m leaning towards being OK with a sub-par note taker with an excellent large eReader but need some more time.
Sportbike Mike says
I think Amazon feels like they don’t need to be innovative in that space and being innovative gets them nothing. They aren’t entirely wrong. I will use myself as an example. If Amazon builds a 10″ device I won’t buy it. The reason is that at that size its a multi-purpose device and tablets do that better. I’m not excluding eink, but I am excluding purpose built readers including the Elipsa and Pocketbook Inkpad X. Are they great giant readers? Sure, but can I type on them? How are they on the internet? Is their note taking any good? Could it replace your use of paper like a Boox enote or Ipad could?
Purpose built readers only do one thing well, and you get little utility out of that thing going over 8″. If people want to read Kindle books on a large screen, they can, the Kindle app works everywhere. If for some crazy reason I want a 13″ inch Kindle, the app is installed on my Boox Lumi. Amazon can still get my money.
The only new device I would release if I were running Kindle is a Paperwhite with temperature control. It’s laughable that Amazon’s top seller doesn’t have this 4 years after rivals started using it. Then again, it’s still the most popular ereader in the world without it.
I think the Paperwhite is so popular because the lower model Kindle does not have high resolution and the other Kindle offering is very expensive for most people. So it is probably popular because it is the only affordable / good screen model that Amazon offers.
Mary Jo DiBella says
I bought Kobo Elipsa and I am very happy with it. This will be an e-reader only…I am at an age where I tend to need slightly larger fonts, and even a 7 inch screen is too small. I finally gave up on waiting for Amazon to step up with a larger screen, and I am happy with the decision. The Kobo is great.
I don’t see Amazon releasing Kindles anymore. I personally think they’ve given up on the Kindle and E-reader market all together and are only focused on pushing out useless software updates every two months. They are now focused exclusively on AWS and Echo’s.
Sportbike Mike says
I don’t understand how Amazon hasn’t released anything in two years turns into this overreaction. Amazon sells more readers than the rest of the industry combined. It’s a moneymaker for them. They aren’t churning out new products because they don’t feel the need to, not because they’ve given up on it. And only caring about echo is ridiculous. Look at Amazon’s site and all the services and products they have. Come on.
Todd Upchurch says
This is an opinion piece that has been a long time coming. Amazon has been resting on it’s laurels and if not careful could become like the Blackberry phone. No innovation too long will leave you at the back of the pack..
In order to understand why Amazon is not releasing new Kindle we need to know how e-books are selling. If there is no drop in number of sold Kindle books, Amazon is not forced to do anything. They have good enough reader devices for e-books (e-ink based), Fire lineup is good for larger formats, there are IOS, Android and other versions of Kindle reader application… So, they are not in position to fight for success in this area. Honestly, for flowable e-books and small sizes (i.e. 7″) I am sticking to Oasis 2 and PW1 as a backup regardless of better options on market. .
In reality, Amazon has much more lucrative businesses to be too much concerned with e-ink readers. Our expectations probably will not influence Amazon in this regard.
Part of the reason why Amazon will not release a new Kindle anytime soon is due to the fact that audiobooks are blowing away e-book and physical book sales. Audible is owned by Amazon so there is no incentive to upgrade the Kindle. Look at the overall number of average customer ratings on audiobooks versus physical books and many times it’s triple or quadruple the popularity. Bye bye Kindle.
“Instead Amazon would rather offer a Kindle with a low resolution 800 x 600 screen that’s lower than any other ebook reader available, with the same resolution as the very first Kindle from 2007”
That’s THE reason why I don’t recommend the basic Kindle nor the Kindle Kids Edition!
In fact, Amazon basing the Kindle Kids Edition on the basic model with the crappy (by modern standards) 167ppi display instead of the Paperwhite or Oasis with their 300ppi displays shows me that they only thought about plain novels (obviously plain text with little to no illustrations), whereas a lot of books coming out these days that are aimed at children, especially for intermediate readers (or the “middle grade”), are illustrated novels (plain text with frequent/heavy amounts of illustration) and/or graphic novels (comics)!
I feel as though the only reason why Amazon still pushes E-ink to make 167ppi displays for them is that the main goal of the basic Kindle e-reader is just to offer a cheap e-reader, maybe for someone who’s new to e-books and wants a new device or didn’t think about used/refurbished devices.
Felipo Antonoff says
I would like a model with 8-9 inches pada see read manga, hq and PDF. If possible with annotation feature and pen included and to be almost perfect with color support. Amazon is really taking its time to add features to the Kindle.
I would love for the page turn buttons on the first basic Kindle to be brought back!!!
I have a Kindle (Voyage).
I am not holding my breath for what Amazon does, for my next ereader I will simply buy what I think is best in its category.
If they are too lazy or too arrogant to innovate, there are more than enough others willing to do so.
I hate the way they refuse to support the Cloud Library, the library system for ebooks used in many European countries.
The idea that they can rest forever on their laurels is stupid.
Their sales may still be intact, but if non-Kindle devices keep growing, this is a reservoir for missed future book sales, and that reservoir will continue to grow.
Filipe, I also have a kindle Voyage. I really appreciate that it has cellular connectivity to the Amazon store for when wifi is not available. Sadly, the Voyage by December 2021 will loose its cellular connectivity. If that happens and there is no new kindle with cellular included, the I might as well go with another brand.
Lou Sevens says
Lou Sevens here, I really would like for Amazon to update the Oasis with a much better battery life for the $250 they charge (other than the Prime Day/ Thanksgiving discounts which of course can no longer be piggy backed with the trade in discount).
I personally would like a 8 or even 9 or 10 inch screen as I find the Oasis more efficient to read vs. the paper white with the extra reading space.
Also I would like an easier way to scroll on books- Although I do not like reading on the Kindle tablets themselves, it is easier scrolling.
The delay in new Kindle launches this year is likely due to the global shortage and price hike of microchips. Fingers crossed, microchip supply and prices will normalize next year and we will be spoiled for choices!
Nope. Kobo released a model in 2020 and another in 2021. Many small companies have released ereaders including color ones. Ereaders are not using the same cpus that are in short supply in computers and cars.
Oasis with better battery life and USB-C will do for me. A larger screen simply makes the device too heavy to comfortably read in bed.