OPINION: This week Amazon announced it would be bringing a completely new user interface to its excellent range of Kindle e-readers.
This is great news, especially as the software update looks like it’ll clean up the slightly unintuitive interface that’s been on the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis for a number of years now.
The new UI, which will start rolling out “soon”, focuses on making it easier for you to get to books and audiobooks. There’s a hefty search bar at the top, a tab that lets you jump between ‘Home’ and ‘Library’ and a rejigged quick settings menu.
While the update hasn’t reached my beloved Kindle Oasis yet, the images released by Amazon certainly show a much more modern-looking interface. It’s a lot more rounded and a little more like a smartphone’s OS.
Software good, hardware better
While I appreciate this update, what I really want is a new iteration of the Kindle. Both the current Kindle Oasis and budget Kindle were unveiled in 2019 while the Paperwhite picked up its most recent update all the way back in 2018.
2019 might not seem like that long ago, however it’s important to note the most recent Kindle Oasis was nothing more than a very minor update to the 2017 model. All that was added was a warmer display; no design refresh or feature bump.
The Kindle range doesn’t need to be something Amazon updates every year, as it does with its Echo devices, but there really should be enough innovation available for at least some of the models to be refreshed quicker than they are at the moment.
The Kindle Oasis, for example, feels outdated with its micro USB port when USB-C can be found on pretty much every other device. It’s also fairly slow, especially when you consider the £229.99 price.
The Kindle Paperwhite could benefit from the warm light feature introduced in the Oasis 2019 and slimmer bezels, while the budget Kindle can be hard to recommend to everyone as it lacks a backlight.
What I really want Amazon to do though is bring back the Kindle Voyage. This was something of a combination of the Oasis and Paperwhite, with a higher-end design and actual buttons for flicking through pages.
A modern iteration of the Voyage that’s a similar size to the Paperwhite with features like Audible support, a warmer display and USB-C would be a tempting upgrade. Especially if it comes in at a cheaper price than the Oasis.
With it being two years since the last round of Kindle updates (three for the Paperwhite) there’s every chance we could see new units announced towards the end of 2021. Rumours and leaks of new Kindles remain thin, however there has been talk of 6.8-inch displays being put into mass production that could be for the Paperwhite 5.
The Kindle remains one of my favourite pieces of tech but all the current models really could with a refresh. Hopefully, come Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season, I’ll get my wish.